"... [T]he road to the next cycle of Republican success might be a more ideologically comprehensive and radical one, the road of Reagan rather than of Nixon or the Bushes. In a context of increased political polarization, [the] emergence of a more integrated and consistent Republican agenda, far more militant on economic and social issues, would be no great surprise—particularly in the wake of the analogous Democratic transition from the strategically eclectic, tactically nimble 'triangulation' of Bill Clinton to the ideologically consistent left agenda of post-Clinton candidates like Howard Dean and Barack Obama."
If Bell is right, then Washington's conventional understanding of the Republican party is way off the mark. Since President Obama's election, conventional opinion has held that the GOP will have to "moderate" if it wants to win. The opposite has happened, of course: The GOP has become more ideological on economic issues. And 2010 was one of the Republican Party's best cycles in decades.
The only question remains the role of the media in the 2012 election. As their relevance continues to diminish, their ideological fervor has risen, and they see - perhaps more clearly than most of the establishment - the threat that Michele Bachmann represents. Hence the swinging of the guns away from Mitt, Tim, and even to a certain extent, Sarah (abashed, perhaps, by The Great Email Fiasco?) and the turning of all fire upon Michele. Obama's horrible miscues, brutal economic record, and insanely corrupt administration are simply ignored while layers of sweating newsroom fops pore over Bachmann's every word looking for a hint of a faux pas that can be used to discredit her and reinforce the "flake" memo going around the media. I've noticed too that even internet seach engines such as Bing and Yahoo flood us with negative headlines on Bachmann, going so far as to cite leftist bloggers as "news" as they post their screaming headlines on the top of the pile...
Media asks: Is Michele Bachmann a nut, or a slut?
How successful will it be? Well, it destroyed Sarah Palin, but no one was prepared for the ferocity of that particular attack. Michele has been forewarned, both by past events and by current media (think George Stephanopulous foreshadowing the investigation of her foster children), of the volley that is coming. Her ability to win, and fulfill the prophecy above, is dependant on her smarts and savvy. If she can see the shots coming, and duck them, and dodge them, and return fire in an effective manner, she can come out of the primaries unwounded, and be ready to present a fair case to the American people.
Barack Obama, when asked about his qualification while on the 2008 campaign trail, pointed to the fact that he was running a campaign as evidence enough of his capacity to lead the nation. If Michele Bachmann can get past the unthinking, drooling hatred of the media mob, she will have already presented a better case for the presidency than Barack Obama ever did...