Thursday, December 29, 2011

Game Over

Michele Bachmann loses her Iowa chairman to Ron Paul:

In a surprise move, and a blunt reflection of the shifting fortunes of Republican presidential candidates ahead of Tuesday's opening voter test, Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman defected Wednesday night to Ron Paul's campaign.

State Sen. Kent Sorenson, who has strong ties to Iowa's Tea Party, was hired as a Bachmann staffer in Iowa, even before she announced her candidacy. He helped lead her campaign to victory in the Ames Straw Poll in August. Ever since, however, Bachmann's popularity has been in decline.

Recent statewide polling shows her running last among the six Republicans actively competing in Iowa. Paul, meantime, is in a tight race with Mitt Romney for first place in Tuesday's caucuses, the opening vote of the 2012 Republican nomination contest.

"It's difficult, but it's the right thing to do," Sorenson said, in announcing his decision before a crowd of several hundred at a Veterans for Ron Paul rally at the Iowa state fairgrounds in Des Moines.
What to make of this? A few thoughts:

  • Sorenson bet on the wrong horse and he's trying to trade in his parimutuel ticket in the middle of the race. You cannot get by with that at Canterbury Park, but you can certainly try in Iowa. Whether he'll get by with it is another matter. My guess is that Sorenson has hurt himself more than he's hurt Bachmann.
  • Loyalty is conditional and careerism is Job One in politics, so Bachmann shouldn't be surprised.
  • Paul and Bachmann don't really see the world the same way, so this is strictly about Sorenson.
  • If I were to guess, if Bachmann supporters decide to bolt now, they'd be more likely to support Rick Santorum than Paul.
  • Santorum might do a little better than people expect if the evangelical vote that Bachmann was courting heads his way. Then again, Santorum is Catholic and for some evangelicals, that's a bridge too far. It will be interesting to see how far evangelicals are willing to travel.
  • As a practical matter, Dave Weigel pretty much got the upshot for Bachmann: "This changes everything. Instead of having to drop out on January 4, Bachmann will have to drop out on January 4."


Night Writer said...

On another blog a commenter described Paul as "Uncle Kranky." My response was to refer to Paul, Romney and Newt as Uncle Kranky, Uncle Unctuous and Uncle Fester.

That it has come to this is a miserable failure of the Republican party to its members (though not enough to likely lose the election). There's a difference between defeating the other candidate and actually making turning the country back from the abyss.

Oh, well. As stated here before, a Presidential campaign requires years of organization and legwork and no Republican can match Romney on that score. Even with middling results in Iowa, Romney should be able to run out the clock on the rest of the field. The best hope, in my mind, is for a strong enough showing on Paul's part to pull/hold Romney to the right enough to satisfy those who love liberty. Then, after a taste of that, a better principle-based candidate can make a move in '12 and '16.

Mr. D said...

Hard to argue with any of that, NW. It's frustrating, because I'm not sure any of the candidates is equal to the task ahead.

Gino said...

i think Romney is, if he can ignore the War Wing of the GOP.