Minnesota's Other Presidential Hopeful
I have already gotten used to chatting with Minnesota media about the New Hampshire Primary. Former Governor Tim Pawlenty has been a regular visitor to our state for over a year now, and he will return soon on his book tour. Folks out there believe it is only a matter of a few months before he announces a presidential run, so I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Pawlenty over the next year. But this week another name entered my conversations – Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who represents Minnesota’s Sixth District. Bachmann recently announced plans to visit Iowa later this month, but has been suitably noncommittal about any presidential aspirations.
We’ll see whether Bachmann includes the Granite State on a future travel itinerary, but given that she shares a very similar political profile with Sarah Palin, I’m not expecting her to arrive here anytime soon. If Bachmann does decide on a presidential bid, it will likely focus on the social and religious conservatism of the Republican caucus environment in Iowa. Bachmann is best known as a leader of the tea party movement in the House, and recently organized a related caucus in the chamber. She also briefly floated a bid for a spot on the House Republican leadership team, but that attempt didn’t get much traction. She is probably best known to progressives for her highly entertaining appearances on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
If ever there was a candidate to join former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at the top of my list of presidential hopefuls who will never be the Republican nominee, it would be Bachmann. That being said, she certainly could (like Santorum) have a significant impact on conservative discourse within the primary process. She is also politically savvy enough to know that the enhanced visibility that comes along with these kinds of public presidential machinations can help her consolidate personal power within the tea party movement, and perhaps even elevate her stature within the Republican caucus in the House.
Note: I will be away from the website for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. I’ll be back with new content for you on Wednesday, January 19th. See you soon. -Dean

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