You can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps—and the company he repels.
It seems likely that the latter explains why the website of the daily rag Granma—the “official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba”—re-ran a BBC Mundo piece on Michele Bachmann, specifically addressing whether she is “the other Sarah Palin.”
The article (available only in Spanish, far as I can tell) discusses Bachmann’s rising star in Iowa and within the Tea Party, the challenge she poses to Mitt Romney, and some basic biographical data points. It then says (translation mine):
The ties between [Bachmann’s] political career and her evangelical beliefs, as well as her strong opinions against abortion and gay marriage, project a strong similarity to Sarah Palin, who, since her failed attempt at the vice presidency in 2008, has become a point of inspiration for the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Still, Palin has not signaled that she wishes to join the fray, and it is natural that voters would identify Bachmann as a good substitute.
The article goes on to quote AEI’s Karlyn Bowman waxing optimistic about Bachmann’s prospects (one of the few times, surely, that AEI has served as a source in the columns of Granma). Bachmann is also described as prone to making gaffes (like Palin), the subject of intense media scrutiny (like Palin), and a good fund-raiser (better than Palin, we are told). The article concludes with an analyst’s explanation that Bachmann, like Palin, appeals to the most conservative part of the Republican party, without the support of which a GOP candidate does not win the nomination. But she then explains that, because of the segments of the general electorate Bachmann alienates, “if her candidacy takes flight and she wins the nomination, the Republican leadership will become very nervous.”
The analysis isn’t all that surprising, but the source is: Why Granma? Why do the stooges at Fidel’s “official” propaganda factory think that dutifully revolutionary Cubans should be aware of the commonalities between Bachmann and Palin in the run-up to the Republican nomination contest in the United States?
Granma loves publishing hits on U.S. politicians who play into the communists’ half-century-old fiction: that America is full of (and often led by) unstable, extreme-right-wing, trigger-happy imperialist cowboy warmongers. In part because of the way Palin has been presented by the American media, she fits into their stereotype perfectly—and, I suspect, lends herself easily to caricature abroad. Linking Bachmann to her—running an article that presents her as a Palin mini-me—allows the guys at the Central Committee to say, “Hey, look here—they nominated a reactionary kook in 2008, and they might do it again in 2012—those Americans are still crazy!” The popularity of candidates like Palin and Bachmann, in other words, confirms what Fidel, Raul, & Co. have been saying for years.
Which brings up another question: To what degree should a candidate’s perception abroad influence voters at home? John Kerry was (rightly) ridiculed in 2004 for claiming that foreign leaders wanted him to win the election. But it doesn’t seem that the opinion of foreign leaders should be wholly irrelevant. Personally, I want a president who inspires strong opinions among the leaders of other countries—who is feared by thugs like Castro, and respected and trusted by our allies. The Obama years have offered plenty of examples of what happens when the world’s bullies don’t think much of America’s president (and he does nothing to disabuse them of their notions).
In other words, if Castro hates Bachmann—well, that makes me inclined to like her more.