“Already, the Bachmann boomlet has reset the expectations game in Iowa. The odds on Palin’s jumping into the race lengthen once again. With Pawlenty fighting to survive in Iowa, Jon Huntsman has an easier shot at breaking through in New Hampshire. The Huntsman hype machine must switch from selling the idea of his candidacy to reporters to selling the man himself to real voters. Without stronger New Hampshire poll numbers in the fall, the only precinct Huntsman is likely to carry will be the Morning Joe roundtable. The hopeful news for both Pawlenty and Huntsman is that for most primary voters, the campaign has yet to begin…
“For Romney, a two-way contest with Bachmann is a strategic dream come true. (Disclaimer: I worked for Romney in 2002.) It would draw attention and money away from his two real rivals, Huntsman and Pawlenty, and give him a simple race against a candidate who would remove much of the ambivalence many big-league Republicans still harbor about him. Make no mistake: faced with the terrifying prospect of nominating Bachmann and handing the presidency to Obama, the Republican establishment would rally hard and fast behind Romney. And while a unified Republican establishment in full combat mode cannot compete with the Tea Party when it comes to making cardboard Uncle Sam hats, GOP Inc. can easily crush a candidate like Bachmann over the full series of primaries.”
“Steinhauser stressed that he, and many activists, believe that Palin did an exceptional job as governor. And yet: ‘If she were still the sitting governor of Alaska, doing these great things, maybe she could kind of point toward that and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on in Alaska. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s where we are in 2011.’ So the Sarah Palin in 2011 who’s governing Alaska maybe would be a much stronger candidate than the current (Palin), if she runs.’
“Bachmann, activists say, is instead viewed as being in the trenches — fighting for Tea Party causes, even battling her party’s leaders.
“‘The thing about Michele Bachmann that people in the Tea Party movement respect is the fact that she, for the most part, is voting the way they would expect her to vote. She has taken on the Tea Party mantle … and pushed it at a congressional level,’ said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.
“Others even likened Bachmann to a sort of political military leader — leading troops into battle.”
“Bachmann’s candidacy is heavily premised on her personal story — she is the only woman (and mother) in the race and mentions the fact that she has raised 5 children and 23 foster children at nearly every campaign stop.
“It’s what makes her stand out in the field. She is running as a sort-of personal populist — someone who not only feels your pain but has lived it…
“All of the above is not to suggest that Bachmann’s decision to talk about her miscarriage was in any way a political or strategic gambit.
“But it does highlight what Bachmann brings to the table and how she has already begun to distinguish herself from the rest of the field.”