For awhile now, I’ve been thinking the GOP 2012 nominee would be Sarah Palin. The tea party support seemed to be consolidating into a block that was hers for the asking, and there’s no way Mitt Romney was going to emerge as the nominee in this incarnation of the Republican Party without a bruising fight. Now though, I’m starting to think she’s waited to long and that Michelle Bachmann, who I’d previously dismissed as a pale stand in for Palin, has stolen her thunder.
At this point, she’s surged to first place in Iowa in the polls, and that lead could be larger than it appears at first glance. Iowa is tailor made for Bachmann, who’s originally from there and has appeal to the Religious Right and Teabagger factions so prominent there where as flip flopping Mormon Mitt Romney does not. Not one but two, count ‘em-two, polls have shown her coming in second in New Hampshire, a state that Romney will probably win. However, Bachmann doesn’t need to win that state to do well, just do better than expected, in order to beat Romney in the expectations/momentum game. From there, you can bet Romney counts on Nevada, with its heavily Mormon population while Bachmann grabs South Carolina. Step back from that a bit and you see a race that’s looking much like the ’08 Dem primaries, with Bachmann playing Obama (bet she’d love to hear that) to Romney’s Hillary Clinton, and we all remember how that worked out. What’s more, it’s looking like Crazy Michelle could win Florida, and if she pulls that off then it’s pretty much a sure thing for her.
No one else in the Republican primary is gaining this kind of traction and the teabaggers have effectively taken over the party. Bachmann is now the insurgent against the establishment choice, and with right wing loons like Christine O’Donnell beating beloved establishment Republicans in allegedly moderate states like Delaware last year I wouldn’t be the bit surprised to see her win some totally unexpected victories. The only wild card now is what Palin does and how that effects the race, but I’m betting it’s too little too late and that Sarah will become this year’s Fred Thompson in a dress.
Looks like we found the Mad Hatter for that Tea Party.