Why Michele Bachmann?
A few weeks ago I watched a half-hour of a televised debate among GOP candidates who had gathered in New Hampshire for the occasion. As I was switching channels, I thought Michele Bachmann had won it hands down.
Why? For starters, Bachmann not only connected with the people in the hall, but also, I believe, those watching on TV. She interacted with her audience, coming across in a warm, direct, personable manner. A boat her male rivals completely missed.
She has remained unflappable in her media interviews and displayed composure when attacked by former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty at the Iowa debate last week. Unlike her counterparts, she doesn't appear to come onto the field all armored up to do battle in spite of the notion that her husband, or perhaps even God, had called on her to run for president.
It's hard to see Michele ever putting on a black leather jacket a la you-know-who. M.B. dresses in an understated style that says she doesn't want to compete with the "macho" in male culture or appear to be "tough." Like Dubya did.
So... it's not the economy, stupid. It's the image. Here in my home state of Massachusetts, we are painfully aware of what counts with many voters. In the special election mood of 2010, the electorate in choosing a replacement for Senator Ted Kennedy went for a non-political type: someone who wore a barn coat, drove a pick-up, did a Playboy spread, and didn't boilerplate them to death.
Now, as someone on this site has pointed out, we have the task of showing what a "dim bulb" Scott Brown really is in order to get back to sanity.
We Democrats have been lectured about our pigheadedness in thinking that patiently explaining our stands on the issues will grab people in the emotional parts of their brains that dictate how they vote. Remember "Reagan had such a nice smile" and "George is a guy I could drink a beer with." Neither "smile" nor "beer" has anything to do with governing a country. Some say we should have learned way back when Adlai Stevenson got dubbed an "egghead." Mostly by the media, of course. Who needs brains to run America anyway.
If we Dems had a Bachmann who fervently talked about meeting the needs of the working class, we'd have a winner. Wait a minute, been there, done that.
The thing is that it no longer seems to matter what the candidate believes, or claims to believe. We who think it does seem to be in the minority.
So, it's the image. Feel-good political theater is when Michele Bachmann dances with her teddy bear of a husband on a campaign platform.
Can a white woman beat out a black man -- "give Obama a one-term presidency" -- in 2012? We just may have the opportunity to find out.