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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bad Day For Bachmann

Campaigns have good days and bad days, but it’s rare to have as bad a single day as Rep. Michele Bachmann suffered through yesterday.
For breakfast, Sarah Palin’s PAC announced the soon-to-be-former-Alaskan was making an appearance at the annual Rolling Thunder biker event in Washington on Memorial Day, and then launching a national bus tour. This came on the heels of the disclosure that Palin had commissioned a movie about herself that will debut in Iowa next month and then be shown in other early caucus and primary states.
No one knows if Palin is doing anything other than keeping her name in the news and reminding Republicans she could change the dynamics of the race if she chose to (though Slate‘s Noreen Malone’s Wasilla-or-the-White-House meter measuring the odds of a Palin campaign has leapt up to 75). If she does run, though, it’s hard to see Bachmann staying in as a serious candidate. Yes, as I’ve said before, Bachmann is sort of an improved version of Palin–more intensely serious, more experienced, more devoted to her day-job, and more deeply rooted in both the Christian Right and the Tea Party movement. But there’s no way she can compete with Palin’s celebrity status, even in her native Iowa. And their constituencies are just too similar.
Speaking of Iowa, Bachmann topped off her bad day with a no-show at a pretty big Iowa event: a fundraiser for the Polk County (Des Moines) Republican Party. Yes, she had a good excuse for a last-minute cancellation–votes in the House–but per The Iowa Republican‘s Craig Robinson, everything about the way she handled it was a “debacle”:

The scheduling conflict arose because of a House vote on extending the Patriot Act. Backup plans were made for her to use a private jet. In the end, nothing worked and Bachmann was unable to make it. Instead, she appeared on choppy and blurry Skype-style video. Local Republicans were extremely displeased.
“It’s awful,” said activist Becky Irvin. “She just shot herself in the foot. She dissed Iowa. You don’t diss Iowa….”
[A]round 40 people who made reservations no-showed the event. Making matters worse, Bachmann’s political organization reserved three tables for the event, at a cost of $750 per table. However, no one paid for those tickets and at least one of those tables remained completely empty. The Polk County GOP had to pay for several dinners for Bachmann’s people that were never eaten.
The Minnesota congresswoman’s speech-by-video only made matters worse. Bachmann made the mistake of name-dropping Donald Trump during her talk. “Donald Trump was right, we are getting our tail kicked by China,” she said. Last week, Trump cancelled his scheduled appearance at a Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser. Bachmann was clearly ignorant or tone deaf to that controversy.

“You don’t diss Iowa”. You’d guess Waterloo native Bachmann would know that. But on what is likely the very eve of her planned official announcement as a candidate, she’s got a lot to distract her right now: First, Herman Cain becoming a media phenomenon and grassroots favorite, and now, Palin potentially on the way into the race.

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