Michele Bachmann bowed out of the 2012 presidential race earlier today, after her drubbing in Iowa. No cowardice there, just consent to political reality: She wasn't going to win the nomination. Although the opportunity was there, early on. From June 2011:
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.
Which does not bode well for Mitt Romney. The "moderate" mantle didn't work well for Jon McCain, either, as he failed to realize that the media will paint all Republicans as extremists, regardless of record. Nor does it appear we have learned the lesson of 1980, when one George H. Bush declared himself to be more "electable" than a fringe ideologue named Ronald Reagan.
So why not Michele? Jen Rubin, never a big fan of our Divine Miss M, delivers a fair post-mortem:
There was more, of course. The gravitas and calm that she exudes in one-one-one interviews never came out in debates and speeches. She seemed less sober and less knowledgable than she is.
And finally, her record of opposition to ObamaCare and the entire Obama agenda, in the end, proved insufficient. Without legislative accomplishments and an executive office in her background, she never quite shook the persona of a conservative motivator and grassroots leader. She is a darling of the right, but she didn’t seem yet ready for the presidency.
She has capabilities greater than many of the also-rans in the race. She has considerable intelligence and fortitude. Should she decide to buckle down, become expert on a range of issues and dedicate herself to the conservative movement and to dislodging Obama, she can have a second act. Doesn’t everyone in America get one?
No, we haven't seen the last of Michele. But she did bring a conservative fire that the rest of the field sorely lacks. A fire that could have cleansed the nation of the poison of liberalism, were it wielded by the right person.
Alas, there is no one remaining in the presidential field that is man enough (or women enough) to carry that torch. And so we are left with Mitt Romney, whose supporters make the same argument for his nomination that ironically, became the epitaph of many other nice-guy, losing candidates: He is "electable".
So was Ronald Reagan, But it didn't seem that way early on. Time to give "radicalism" a chance...