Saturday, August 13, 2011

Victory For Two

Michele Bachmann has emerged victorious in the ludicrous and un-democratic Iowa straw poll as 4,823 men and women, their votes having been purchased, cast their ballot for the Minnesota congresswoman. Only in the Republican Party.

Prediction, even analysis, is dangerous, especially for someone who expected Mitt Romney to square off against Hillary Clinton in 2008. Clearly, though, there was at least one other big winner in Ames- and it wasn't the newest entrant, Rick Perry, in the GOP sweepstakes.

The Texas governor now will have to compete with Bachmann in primaries and caucuses for the anti-establishment, off-the-cliff right wing vote. If Tim Pawlenty had won the straw poll and thus emerged as Mitt Romney's main challenger, Perry could have stood alone, as he aimed at the former governors, as the representative of the extremist wing of the extremist party.

Still, Perry can find solace in directly competing with only one, rather than two, legitimate candidates. Mitt Romney, of course, is no prize: Talking Points Memo, citing an article in USA Today, reports that the campaign's leading moderate wants the federal government to subsidize companies when they "hire and train the long-term unemployed." Meanwhile, he wants to substitute "individual unemployed savings accounts" for unemployment insurance, a de facto privatization of unemployment compensation.

Nevertheless, the former Massachusetts governor is no Michele Bachmann. Following Thursday night's debate, MSNBC house Republican Joe Scarborough (video, below, from Crooks and Liars) asserted Michele Bachmann has no chance to be nominated and complained

Michele Bachmann’s first answer was, I wish the federal government had defaulted. Had defaulted! A week after Americans lost — some of them perhaps lost half of their pensions. Lost half of their 401ks. When trillions of dollars went down the drain with Americans suffering, she said that and got applause.

If anybody thinks that guys like my dad are going to be voting that way… they are out of their mind and they are too stupid not only to prognosticate, they are too stupid to run Slurpee machines in Des Moines… Michele Bachmann is a joke. She is a joke. Her answer is a joke. Her candidacy is a joke… Iowa, if you let her win, you prove your irrelevance once again.

Scarborough has not left the reservation. If he is saying this, a lot of Republican pols and operatives are saying roughly the same thing (minus references to the elder Mr. Scarborough and Slurpees). If Tim Pawlenty had won the straw poll in Iowa, he would have been a far bigger threat to Mitt Romney than is Michele Bachmann, as Scarborough understands.

So congratulations are due to Michele Bachmann and to Mitt Romney. They both had a great day in the Midwest.

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