First Woman President, Michele Bachmann, To Be Sworn In Sunday, January 20, 2013, in Private Ceremony at Noon
Don’t laugh. The headline could happen. Michele Bachmann should be taken seriously by the establishment. Democrats, liberals, and any "mainstream" Republicans who dismiss her do so at their own peril. It might be a blue Monday for Democrats and liberals (or "progressives") on January 21, 2013. Since Inauguration Day will fall on a Sunday, a small private ceremony will occur at noon that day, but the next day will be full of pomp, ceremony, and bombast. So two days of celebration could make the inauguration painful for many Americans who oppose Michele Bachmann’s politics. It is easy to deride the three-term Minnesota congresswoman. Her gaffes, her husband, and her lack of a record have won her plenty of negative reviews. But unlike a certain former Alaska governor, Michele Bachmann has plenty going for her. She’s charismatic, (mostly) articulate, attractive, and knows how to work a crowd, but without the self-indulgent baggage. Plus she carries herself with an enormous wave of optimism, and not the resentment that has defined Sarah Palin. History has shown a pattern of presidential candidates who light a fire, only to flame out when the going gets tough during a campaign. George Romney, Morris Udall, Gary Hart, Steve Forbes, and Paul Tsongas all had their moments of media adulation and political superstardom, only to see them fade during the primary season. That could happen with Bachmann, who is now either tied or leading in the Iowa polls. She has to answer about her ties to agricultural subsidies, her husband’s medical practice, and her reliance on speeches in front of big boisterous crowds--a no-no in Iowa where retail politicking is king (or queen). Whatever you think about her, her authenticity, her passion, and her ability to sound grievances against the Obama Administration resonate with many Americans, without her coming across as if she has a personal grievance against the political and media establishments. The more they laugh at her, the more Congresswoman Bachmann just licks her wounds and moves on. And then there is the rest of a tepid Republican field. Mitt Romney has flipped-flopped more than John Kerry, Newt Gingrich is an embarrassment, John Huntsman is shooting for 2016, and Tim Pawlenty would bore a corpse. An opening has been created for Bachmann: she could win Iowa, finish strongly in New Hampshire, if not win (Pat Buchanan did in 1996), and roll over the other candidates in South Carolina. Democrats who hope and pray that Bachmann wins the Republican nomination are fools. The economy is volatile, people are upset for a bevy of reasons--logically or not--and Obama is no longer the fresh-faced, insurgent candidate. That torch has been passed to a former tax attorney and foster mom who was born in Waterloo, IA, and worked on Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign. It is her race to lose. Do not be surprised if the 45th president is the first woman chief executive.