Finally: Bachmann rips on Romney

Granted, Blitzer has to twist her arm to get her to do it, but she gamely rises to the occasion and hits all the flip-flopper bullet points when summoned. What makes this interesting, of course, is the suspicion that Bachmann is somehow in the tank for Romney, swinging for the fences against his chief rivals — first Pawlenty, then Perry, then Cain, now Gingrich — while going nice and easy on the one guy in the race who’s conspicuously RINO-ier than the rest. (Except for Huntsman, of course.) Why would a tea-party all-star like Bachmann treat Mitt with kid gloves? Time magazine thinks it knows:

If Bachmann’s former campaign manager Ed Rollins is to be believed, she’s gunning to be Romney’s No. 2. Why would Romney pick Bachmann, who is undisciplined, bombastic and controversial, to be his running mate? The appeal is actually greater than it might seem at first blush.

Romney, if he is the nominee, will enter the general election a weak candidate. If anything, the race thus far has shown that the base is desperate for anyone one else but him to be the nominee. Republicans will almost certainly not be fired up, especially the Tea Party flank. Much like John McCain in 2008, Romney will be facing enthusiasm numbers probably somewhere around 30% or less; indeed he’s hardly managed to break 30% in most GOP primary polls. Which means, his running mate will have to be someone beloved by the base.

For all the blame Team McCain dumped on Sarah Palin in the wake of their loss, she did what she was supposed to do: gin up excitement among the base for a candidate otherwise perceived as flawed by most diehard activists. McCain’s enthusiasm numbers went from 30% to 70% among registered Republicans. Romney will likely need a similar bump. And the No. 1 prerequisite for his veep will have to be an aggressive attack stance.

The claim about Rollins comes from this post last month at VDARE relaying something he “reportedly” said to campaign associates. No source, no quotes. The chances of Romney actually putting her on the ticket are precisely zero and Bachmann, who’s certainly no dummy, must realize that so I can’t quite believe she might be angling for it. Remember, Romney’s selling himself overtly on electability grounds, a guy whose administration will deliver soft-right technocratic competence. He doesn’t need a tea-party firebrand like McCain did to mobilize the base; conservatives’ fear and loathing of a second Obama term is enough to do that. And he really doesn’t need the “is she qualified to be one heartbeat away?” baggage that McCain and Palin had to deal with. Bachmann would help him with social conservatives but so could a lot of other potential VPs. Beside that, as a relatively inexperienced member of Congress who’s known more for tossing rhetorical grenades than getting stuff passed, what does she do for him? On what planet does Romney bypass Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan in order to roll the dice on Michele B?

Honestly, I think her softness towards Mitt is simply a mirror of Huntsman’s longshot hope in New Hampshire. Neither can win if the conservative vote splits several different ways. Their only shot is if the rest of the field crumbles and they end up in a two-person race with Romney, counting on the base’s contempt for the architect of RomneyCare to push them through.