Via the Daily Caller and Politico, if jabs like this are already being thrown before Palin’s even in the race, how brutal will things be in six months when the two of them and Herman Cain are battling for the grassroots vote in Iowa? Good lord.
It’s going to be a long, hot, nasty summer, my friends.
“Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years,” Rollins told Brian Kilmeade on his radio show, Kilmeade and friends. “She got the Vice Presidential thing handed to her, she didn’t go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance, she gave up her governorship.”…
“Michele Bachmann and others [have] worked hard, she has been a leader of the Tea Party which is a very important element here, she has been an attorney, she has done important things with family values.”
“She is probably the best communicator [in the GOP field] now that Mike Huckabee’s not in there,” he said.
That’s from Ben Smith, who describes Rollins as Bachmann’s new “top consultant” even though it sounds from yesterday’s CBS scoop like he’ll actually be managing her campaign. This isn’t the first time Rollins has derided Palin, either; remember this op-ed for CNN in December where he described her as a “gadfly” and told her, “If you want to be a serious presidential candidate, get to work”? At the time, it looked like he was tearing her down in advance of another Huckabee run. Now that Huck’s out, he’s landed with her other chief competitor. I was skeptical of that Politico piece a few weeks ago alleging a quiet feud between the two sides, but Rollins’s comments fit the description of Team Bachmann’s outlook perfectly: “[E]ach camp views the other with a level of suspicion, with some of Palin’s supporters seeing Bachmann as a B-list version of their icon, and some in Bachmann’s camp regarding Palin as a short-timer without Bachmann’s record or tenure.” Which raises the question, did Bachmann hire Rollins in spite of his criticisms of Palin — or because of them?
Realistically, because of the huge name-recognition gap between them, she has no choice but to draw contrasts with Palin based on biography rather than on policy. They’re too similar on the issues; if MB sticks to preaching the tea-party gospel without going negative, she risks being dismissed as the lesser-known “B-list Palin” mentioned above. Her obvious play is to hit Palin and Cain on their comparative inexperience and alleged unelectability. E.g., “I’m the one who delivered the tea party rebuttal to the SOTU, I’m the one who’s taking tough votes right now on behalf of conservatives, I’m the one who knows how to beat the D.C. machine after studying it from the inside,” etc. Rollins’s comments are consistent with that strategy. The one thing I can’t figure out, though, is why he’d attack Palin before she’s even announced her candidacy. If she ends up not running, Bachmann will need her endorsement to help propel her past Pawlenty and Cain in Iowa. After this, who knows if she’ll get it? Why alienate an influential potential ally before you absolutely have to?