That darned “tea-inspired” woman just keeps showing up and doing well
(Washington Post) Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann scored a victory in the GOP Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, a win likely to provide her considerable momentum as the 2012 race ramps up.
“What we saw happen today is this is the very first step toward taking the White House in 2012, and you have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” said Bachmann (R-Minn.) after her victory was announced.
The breakdown of the poll is thus (I’m going to break the story out into an ordered list)
- Bachmann took 4,823 votes, narrowly escaping a major upset at the hand of
- Texas Rep. Ron Paul who won 4,671 votes.
- Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty placed third with 2,293, a showing that is likely to raise questions about his ability to continue in the contest.
- former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (1,567)
- businessman Herman Cain (1,456)
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (718)
- former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (567)
- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (385)
- former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (69)
- Rep. Thad McCotter (Mich.) (35)
What does it all mean? Well, as Nate Silver pointed out, the candidate who won or placed in the straw poll tended to win the GOP nomination more often then not. But, not always. So, for each candidate
- Bachmann – this propels her further up the chain of the top runners, giving her even more national exposure. It means that her campaign, barring any major goof or revelation, will be in it to win in for the long run
- Ron Paul – sorry, Paulistas, but, this means nothing for Paul, just like every other poll that is spammed for Paul. Look, Paul travels well, brings tons of devoted (putting it nicely) followers, and almost always is in the top 3 in these polls. But, when it comes to actually voting for him in the primaries, not so well. Granted, Paul has some great ideas domestically (not all, but, that’s politics), but a lot of his foreign policy is a mess, and, he often plays the cranky old uncle. Not happening. But, he’ll be around late
- Tim Pawlenty – Some are saying it’s over for him, some are saying “well, he might be able to hang a bit longer.” He really is on the bubble of flaming out. He is going to have to do something to bring himself better exposure, and higher ratings. Attacking Bachmann (or other Republicans) is not the route. If he doesn’t pick it up in the next two months, he’s done. Personally, I thought he would have done better.
- Rick Santorum – put a fork in him, he’s done. He’s a great guy with great ideas, but, just too dull to catch fire.
- Herman Cain – I was thrilled when Cain announced, but, he hasn’t caught fire, and he’s made too many substance gaffes. He should stick around for a bit, gracefully drop out, and decide to run for the House. He could serve well there.
- Rick Perry – since he just jumped in Saturday, and he was a write in, that’s not a bad showing. But, will Iowan’s remember him failing to show up for Ames?
- Mitt Romney – the big question is, does this poll have relevance for Romney? He mostly blew off Iowa in favor of getting ready for New Hampshire and South Carolina, and he leads in most polls nationwide. I’d have to say he is the guy to beat, and probably the most popular with the GOP insiders and bigwigs.
- Gingrich – he’s been done for at least a month and a half, he really has no shot. But, he’ll end up sticking around, perhaps shaking things up a bit. It’s over, though.
- Jon Huntsman – it’s not the final nail in the coffin, but, maybe 8th out of 10. He’s campaign never really got started, except among the liberal media and liberal politicos, who tried to make him the guy to beat. He’s, um, boring, and never attempted to connect with the people who tend to vote in the GOP primaries (conservatives). Instead, he tried to appeal to independents, a good strategy once one has actually won the nomination. Bye Bye!
- Thad McCotter – is he done before even getting going? He just announced recently, but, there was no real excitement or buzz. Give him another 2-3 months, but, I doubt anything will come of it
- Sarah Palin – no, she wasn’t even in the mix, but, she was there, and gave a strong showing just by being there. But, what is she doing? Setting herself up as the king maker? Possibly running? Not running? The problem is, we don’t know. For my part, she has played the “tweak the media’s noses about her plans” game about 3 months too long, and it is starting to annoy me. She needs to either jump in or announce she isn’t running.
I’ll still maintain that Romney is the front-runner to beat. Like all the candidates, he has his good points and bad points. But, he’s spent the last four years setting himself up for the win, and I do believe he could easily beat Obama, taking, at the least, every state George Bush won in 2004 (which would, of course, give him the win), and perhaps taking one or two that Kerry had won. If it shakes out that he gets the nomination, he’d be wise to pick Bachmann as his running mate. But, we’ve got a long way to go.
What are your thoughts?
Quick update: Fox News is reporting that Tim Pawlenty is dropping out.