Sarah Palin has said repeatedly that she will not run for the presidency if another suitable conservative steps up to the task. This past week we heard the announcement from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann that she may be forming a presidential exploratory committee, the first step in announcing for the candidacy for president. Bachmann has been called many things over the years, but not suitably conservative is not among them. This leaves Palin with a choice. Does she really want the presidency or not?
Bachmann is a formidable fundraiser. She raised well over $13 million for a congressional seat. On her last FEC filing she has well over a million dollars left over. A very good amount of seed money to start off the primary season. Palin is no slacker when it comes to fundraising either, SarahPac has a similar amount of money left over after the last election season, although not quite as much as Bachmann. Another very big problem for Palin is that Bachmann is tea party darling as well. Bachmann and Palin will be competing for the same pool of voters. Which of course makes it more likely that a more moderate candidate; such as Romney, will be able to get the nomination. An outcome that no conservative wants; don't believe me? Just ask Fuzzi.
One of Palin's greatest strengths has been with value voters. Her tenacity to stand firm on her Christian values has been a welcome change to the social conservatives. This was one of the main reasons that John McCain picked her. He knew he needed a solid social conservative because as much as he likes to call himself a conservative during election season, his voting record doesn't back that up. Palin had a record of standing up to corruption which made her one of the few staunch conservatives he could stomach. Regardless of the meme of the mainstream media Palin energized the campaign. Bachmann is a born again Christian. While you don't hear her talk about the social issues quite as much as Palin does, her voting record will stand for itself. She can also draw these voters.
Palin and Bachmann seem to be friendly. Palin actually went to Minneapolis and did a campaign fundraiser with Bachmann during the lead up to her re-election. During this event they did a joint appearance on Hannity. The crowds loved having two tea party darlings together in one room. Bachmann always has nice things to say about Palin. So it seems like their relationship is a genuine one, there is no reason to believe otherwise. It presents a sticky wicket for both women.
Palin has also been clear that if she were to enter the race she would be in it to win it. This is where I question Bachmann. Is she in it to win it, or she is trying to drive the debate to the right during the primary season? Bachmann really wanted a seat at the table after the GOP took control over the house this year.
That position was not backed by the leadership. The rumors were that they felt she is a loose cannon and they wanted someone who was not as gaffe prone and not as easily made to look bad in front of the media. Instead they chose Jeb Hensarling, a man who has a very good voting record, but was not as well-known or the target of the far left. I personally felt it was a good move by Boehner. Bachmann has proven to be gaffe prone at times. Her most recent coming in New Hampshire, a minor mistake that really should have been caught by someone on her staff. The mistake was not that big of deal, but it does open her up to unnecessary criticisms. Bachmann wanted a seat at the big boy table, a seat that was denied to her. So, she has gone out and set up her own table. A move that shows not just gumption, but it also shows that she isn't as stupid as some would like to try to make her out to be.
The Governor and the Congresswoman have a great deal in common. Does it really make sense for both of them to run? Does Sarah go back on her word and run anyway? The reality is that what happened with Nixon and Reagan a generation ago where they were given a second chance isn't going to happen in the you tube 24/7 news cycle environment. When you are running a national campaign you are going to say stupid things from time to time. It is inevitable doing that much talking day after day. Those mistakes are much easier for your competition to take advantage of in this day and age by playing the video over and over again. This may be Sarah's only real shot at getting the GOP nomination. Willl she let Bachmann's candidacy take that away from her?