Michele Bachmann: The Huckabee of 2012

Over at Salon, Joan Walsh writes of a Michele Bachmann presidential run: why not? After all, Walsh points out, Bachmann is “a far-right demagogue — but in a race where even moderate candidates are running to the right, why not offer voters the real thing?”

I say that Bachmann is 2012’s Mike Huckabee — with and without some of his baggage. She very well could win Iowa, but, like Huckabee, she won’t get farther than that.

As I’ve discussed before, Huckabee has serious problems with conservatives who think he’s a RINO — Republican In Name Only. That he used government coffers to help immigrants and really isn’t sufficiently committed to starving government into an empty shell. And those RINO hunters convinced the religious right leadership to hold off on backing him.

Huckabee won Iowa notwithstanding all that, through the support of local religious leaders and activists who saw themselves in a pastor-turned-politician who once said he’d like the Constitution to be amended to conform with God’s word. It was afterwards that he ran into trouble.

Bachmann doesn’t have that RINO baggage. She’s a Tea Party loyalist who not only thinks the government shouldn’t do anything, she doesn’t even seem to understand what the government does.

But, as I wrote back in April, when Bachmann hired Huckabee’s 2008 state director, Bachmann plays the very same religion card as Huckabee, with similar effect:

In spite of the strenuous efforts of all of the possible candidates to court Iowa’s essential social conservatives, only Bachmann and Huckabee offer that unquestioning, unyielding “Christian worldview” framework that will resonate in a way that an interloper and Catholic convert like Newt Gingrich could never pull off. And I actually think Bachmann is better at it (and therefore more off-putting to everyone else) than even Huckabee is, and as a result possibly more endearing to the Christian nation, anti-communist, conspiracy-minded right that undergirds both the religious right and the Tea Party.

(Now we know that not only can Gingrich not pull that off, he can’t even pull off . . . any sort of campaign.)

Bachmann once campaigned as a “Fool for Christ.” I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more of that.