Having paid us$30 to partake in Iowa’s straw poll, voters in the corn state chose Michele Bachmann with 29 percent, then Ron Paul with 28 percent, and Tim Pawlenty with 14 percent, in a contest with very low turnout. The poll also fills the already brimming Republican Party coffers.
Bachmann as leader of a pack of eight has knocked her fellow Minnosotan and rival out of the race for the nomination of the Elephant party’s standard bearer to challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 elections. A straw poll is just that a testing of the waters of where the voters are today. As we know, voters are fickle and are wont to change preferences, switch loyalty, and of doubtful consistency in ideas and moods. The real test will come in 2012, and by then others may emerge as leaders of the pack vying for the Republicans’ nod as the man or woman they want to lead them back to the White House.
Ron Paul comes off as grumpy. He’s a fierce defender of individual rights and keeping government’s role to a minimum, yet he has garnered a following among the young and fiscal conservatives in his staunch opposition to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, wars that weigh heavily on the burdens of the taxpayer in particular and the health of the American people in general. Bachmann has garnered untold publicity, some of which is unflattering. [See, Ryan Lizza’s profile in 15 August 2011 issue of ‘The New Yorker’ that examines the books that influence Bachmann, or Matt Taibi’s ‘Michele Bachmann’s Holy War’ in the 22 June 2011 issue of ‘Rolling Stone’.] She is famously caught in her shaky grasp of American history or her confusing facts or in simply verbal embroidery which defy logic and commonsense.
Yet, she has sold herself to ‘true believers’. Although she speaks of defending the American people from the evils of the economy and the US debt, she takes comfort in preaching the gospel of radical Christianity, superstition, nostalgia for a ‘garden of America’s Eden’, which is a matter of the true believer’s redemption of the past, and pie in the sky solutions.
Attractive as she may appear to the media, her faults are easy to detect. A vociferous opponent of too much government, she does cash cheques from the Department of Agriculture for her farm, and her husband in his consulting practice accepts Medicare, Medicaid, or any form of state sponsored insurance. Such examples immediately come to mind.
Such contradictions are secondary: Bachmann’s a product in the market place. Self promotion and advertising she uses to sell herself. She’s entertainment, and the flavour of the hour that gab headlines and diversion from meeting serious problems head on.
More likely than naught, Bachmann will be shunted aside in favour of a more formidable candidate who seemingly has the qualities for the presidency. Rick Perry, the three term governor of Texas, has thrown his hat in the ring. South Carolina and New Hampshire will be the test of Bachmann, as it will be for the presumed front runner Mitt Romney, who put his foot in his mouth in Iowa by defending corporations are people like you and me. Why shouldn’t he? As a partner in Bain, he took over American Pencil and Paper for a handful of millions, cannibalizing it, throwing out workers, and cut to the chase, sold it for a cool us$100 million. John Huntsman twittered significantly to pooh pooh Romney’s defence of the rich and the cut throat…what about AP&P? Romney’s record at Bain is replete of the corporation as an individual robbing the ordinary worker of a livelihood and social net for the sole and only purpose of enriching Romney and his partners.
A simple example of Romney’s klewlessness: eating lunch with the unemployed in his swing through Florida, he had the unmitigated gall to boast that he, too, was ‘unemployed’. Unpicked up by the media was the voice of a woman who simply put it this way: ‘you’re better off than we are’. Yep, ma’am, he certainly is: his personal worth is somewhere between us$150 and $200 million!
How spectacular the idiocy of the plutocrats and the US political elite!