So Sarah Palin came to town yesterday to support Michele Bachmann, drawing as many as 11,000 people on a Wednesday afternoon to a rally at the Convention Center. A few thoughts:
- It has to be said: the most useful thing about both Bachmann and Palin is the mirror they hold up to the face of the Left. The blind hatred and spittle-flecked rage that both of these politicians engender (pun intended) can be absolutely amazing. I forget who said it, but there is a lot of value in being hated by the right people and both Bachmann and Palin have that going for them.
- While I support Michele Bachmann over any candidate that she might face in the upcoming election, I'm baffled at the support and enthusiasm she garners, along with the hatred on the other side. I realize this is a minority view around here, but I don't think Bachmann is necessarily that great a representative. She's streets ahead of Betty McCollum or Keith Ellison, but I tend to think of her more as a Bob Dornan/William Proxmire type than as a true leader. She delights in being a gadfly and lightning rod, and she serves several useful purposes in doing so, but a politician who takes that approach rarely has much influence on larger policy matters. If Bachmann is serious about being part of the leadership on Capitol Hill, we probably ought to see less of her on television. I'm not sure that she is, though.
- While Sarah Palin shares a number of characteristics with Michele Bachmann, she's a different animal. There are two strains in her personality that are at war: her formidable happy warrior persona and her unfortunate tendency to be a bit of a grievance monger. Now it must be said -- no modern politician has had more ridiculous crap thrown at her than Palin has, but the problem she faces is that the defense she mounts can turn into an overall posture of defensiveness, which ultimately erodes the happy warrior persona. I don't know if she will run for President in 2012, but she's doing a lot of smart things right now, especially in using her star power to help other candidates. If you come in and raise a million dollars for someone, they'll think well of you down the line.