Our Own Mike Murphy, Our Own Matt Continetti, and the Next President of the United States

 

From “Queen of the Tea Party,” Matt Continetti’s cover story on Michele Bachmann, in the current issue of the Weekly Standard:

“I think Bachmann’s chances of landing on Jupiter are higher than her chances of being nominated,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy told me in an April interview for Washingtonpost.com.murphy.jpg

Well, get ready for an interplanetary expedition. Bachmann is a far more serious candidate for the Republican nomination than her reputation would suggest. She’s a talented fundraiser who raised $13.5 million for her 2010 reelection campaign. She’s a television star who appropriately tailors her message to her audience. Her combativeness will delight conservatives eager to fight Barack Obama. Her movement credentials—she founded the House Tea Party Caucus—put her at the cutting edge of right-wing politics. And in a primary campaign where authenticity counts, no other candidate has Bachmann’s unique history: an Iowa native who put herself through law school, raised her five children and took in 23 foster children, and has never lost an election for state or federal office.Michele.jpg

I think twice before disagreeing with Mike Murphy–and then disagree anyway.  Bachmann’s no flake or right-wing extremist.  As Matt’s long and beautifully written story makes clear, she’s a principled conservative, enormously impressive as a wife, as a mother, as a working woman–and as an immensely skillful politician.

Maybe things will change–maybe, for instance, Tim Pawlenty will at least discover, somewhere deep within himself, some willingness to display some fight, or maybe Rick Perry will announce, reshuffling the entire race.  But as matters stand now?

I’m for Michele.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @GeorgeSavage

    Peter, I beat you by twelve hours with my modest financial contribution to the Bachmann-for-president juggernaut.

    I think Michele is currently–what was Wm. F. Buckley’s formulation?–the rightmost viable candidate.

    • #1
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    @cdor

    Hooray for you, Peter. I am so sick and tired of fellow conservatives nit-picking every little utterance. It’s like they are ashamed of being conservative and of their own principles, so the only person who could represent them must be God-like or not conservative at all. Michele Bachmann is a great woman and a worthy candidate. Gee whiz, look at that demogogic,egocentric,narscisistic, juvenile, middle finger using, arrogant and viscious man who would be her opponent. Put the two side by side in your mind. See what you feel is eminating from their hearts. And then, how could one choose other than Bachmann. Barack Obama, in any other profession and after what he has done in the last 21/2 years, would be facing prison time, not tee time.

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    @SquishyBlueRINO

    It’s time for a scrapper- that’s for sure.

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  4. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Michele Bachmann has never sponsored a piece of legislation that became law. She has never chaired a committee. Her former chief of staff says – without much in the way of specificity, I acknowledge – that she isn’t ready to be president. She has zero foreign policy experience. She has zero executive experience. I can anticipate your retorts already: “Oh yeah? Well look how inexperienced Barack Obama was.” Yes. Indeed. Exactly. Look how that is working out for us.

    Look too at the totality of the case that Peter has made above. “As Matt’s long and beautifully written story makes clear, she’s a principled conservative, enormously impressive as a wife, as a mother, as a working woman–and as an immensely skillful politician.”

    Enormously impressive as a wife and mother? Does that now commend someone to the presidency, because if so, I should get my mom on the phone – she’s even a principled conservative, though she’s more of a political outsider than an “immensely skillful politician.”

    Matt Continetti’s case for Palin and Bachmann is that they’re skilled pols. I’ll pay attention when someone argues they’d be best in the White House.

    • #4
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    @Franco

    Mike Murphy might know a few things about the nomination process that we don’t. There are elements – influential elements in the GOP including Murphy himself who don’t want a candidate like her and will work to scuttle her.

    So we’ll see.

    I’m for her at this point. I agree with her approach, I think she is qualified well enough and I think she can actually win against Obama.

    I just hope the Republican Party wises up and realizes they aren’t that good at picking winners. The party needs to adjust itself to the Tea Party, not fight them (us).

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    @DavidWilliamson

    I agree with you, Peter, on the quality of Mr Continetti’s piece, your disagreement with Mike Murphy, and that Mrs Bachmann is the best (i.e. most conservative) of the current candidates.

    If Gov Perry runs, it would be a more difficult choice. If Mrs Palin runs, I would vote for her, Kenneth notwithstanding.

    However, your previous comments about a split conservative vote handing the nomination to Mr Romney are a concern, to be sure

    As for Conor’s comment, the syphilitic camel rule applies. The problem with Mr Obama is his ideology, rather than lack of experience. In the same way, conservative ideology trumps experience, I think.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @CharlesMark
    Matthew Norman: Laugh is on US as frothing firebrand eyes presidency

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/matthew-norman-laugh-is-on-us-as-frothing-firebrand-eyes-presidency-2808212.html

    Check out this hatchet-job from yesterday’s Irish Independent, probably bought in from the UK Independent. This is just an example of quite a lot of adverse coverage of the lady in this part of the world.

    • #7
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    @PeterRobinson
    Conor Friedersdorf: Michele Bachmann has never sponsored a piece of legislation that became law. She has never chaired a committee. Her former chief of staff says – without much in the way of specificity, I acknowledge – that she isn’t ready to be president. She has zero foreign policy experience. She has zero executive experience. I can anticipate your retorts already: “Oh yeah? Well look how inexperienced Barack Obama was.” Yes. Indeed. Exactly. Look how that is working out for us.

    Look too at the totality of the case that Peter has made above. “As Matt’s long and beautifully written story makes clear, she’s a principled conservative, enormously impressive as a wife, as a mother, as a working woman–and as an immensely skillful politician.”

    · Jun 30 at 11:30am

    All fair points, Conor–and all on my list to address when I get a moment over the weekend. Brace yourself, btw. I’m making notes on the parallels between Bachmann and Thatcher–and discovering that they aren’t, really, all that outlandish.

    But keep at us, Conor. You’re our very own Diogenes.

    • #8
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    @Franco

    According to Conor F we are in trouble because Obama lacks experience. He of the No Labels group doesn’t want to acknowledge the simple fact that it isn’t a matter of competence but a matter of world-view and vision. According to Conor, if Obama had executive experience everything would be going swimmingly….

    • #9
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    @MikeMurphy

    Hi Peter,

    Did a new post on all this. Maybe I was supposed to put it here, so apologies if I screwed up. Tried to call Long for advice, but he is at a John Anderson for President staff reunion and not available. Best, MM

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidWilliamson
    Charles Mark

    Check out this hatchet-job from yesterday’s Irish Independent, probably bought in from the UK Independent. This is just an example of quite a lot of adverse coverage of the lady in this part of the world.

    The Independent hates Mrs Thatcher, also – one to add to Peter’s comparison list.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @BootsontheTable
    Conor Friedersdorf: Michele Bachmann has never sponsored a piece of legislation that became law. She has never chaired a committee. … She has zero foreign policy experience. She has zero executive experience. …. “As Matt’s long and beautifully written story makes clear, she’s a principled conservative, enormously impressive as a wife, as a mother, as a working woman–and as an immensely skillful politician.”

    Let’s take them one at a time:

    1) It’s time congress started eliminating laws rather than creating more.

    2) I’ll bet the budget comitte she has at the kitchen table with her husband is enough to balance a budget.

    3) Foreign policy experience? Who needs experience? When someone wants to kill you you either kill them or die. You are loyal to your friends and you don’t back down and coddle your enemies. It doesn’t take experience to know this.

    4) Skill as a mother is great experience for negotiating and conflict resolution. Especially when you’ve dealt with 28 children.

    5) Executive experience? I own and run two companies and there’s no way I could run a household of up to 28 children.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @Franco

    The thing about Conor F’s comment that gets me is that he’s not being entirely genuine in his remarks. He doesn’t want Bachmann because of her vision . If Bachmann were more experienced, he would be giving us other, possibly real reasons why he opposes her. But I am quite sure after having read Conor F’s other writings and affiliations, that he is four-square against Bachmann’s ideology and whether she would be a competent President isn’t his fundamental concern. Am I wrong?

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @BootsontheTable
    Franco: The thing about Conor F’s comment that gets me is that he’s not being entirely genuine in his remarks. He doesn’t want Bachmann because of her vision . If Bachmann were more experienced, he would be giving us other, possibly real reasons why he opposes her. But I am quite sure after having read Conor F’s other writings and affiliations, that he is four-square against Bachmann’s ideology and whether she would be a competent President isn’t his fundamental concern. Am I wrong? · Jun 30 at 11:47am

    As the old saying goes……Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope…and it wouldn’t be the hanging they were complaining about.

    • #14
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    @Franco
    Conor Friedersdorf

    Matthew Continetti:

    You write as if the elevation of a Democrat who was unprepared to run U.S. foreign policy is somehow an argument in favor of electing a Republican with the same glaring flaw. I wish, in your lengthy, informative, and well-written profile, you’d addressed whether voters should elevate Bachmann – it’s much harder to offer a persuasive case for that proposition, and it’s the one we ought to be focused on. · Jun 30 at 12:52pm

    I for one am glad he didn’t. It is really annoying to be lectured, as an American citizen, who I should or shouldn’t vote for. And it’s clear that a person who likes government control would think people are generally stupid and need to be told what to look for when voting. I’m sure the Weekly Standard readers need to hear these things. They, the very few people who subscribe to a (fairly) conservative magazine, need direction. Oh, will you statists never cease to hector us!

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    Mike Murphy: Ask any GOP staff pro on the HIll — including lots of 100% ACU conservatives — and they privately say she is pretty much a joke. · Jun 30 at 12:38pm

    This is true. Which says at least as much about them as her. I believed what I’d heard. And so my first encounter with her — the last debate — blew me away.

    She was clearly not a joke.

    In fact, she’s clearly quite intelligent and informed and interesting and all that.

    Which makes all of the criticism of her seem like misogyny or inside-the-beltway elitism or something else.

    Whatever it is, it’s very histrionic and emotional.

    And, again, that serves her well since many primary voters are sick and tired of professional politicos and Hill staffers and campaign managers who have done a less than stellar job with advancing limited government ideals.

    • #16
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    @DavidWilliamson
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Mike Murphy: Ask any GOP staff pro on the HIll — including lots of 100% ACU conservatives — and they privately say she is pretty much a joke. · Jun 30 at 12:38pm

    This is true. Which says at least as much about them as her.

    Indeed – I am sorry to say that Mike Murphy and the GOP staff pros are what is wrong with the Republican party.

    It’s why I like both Mrs Palin and Mrs Bachmann – tough choice, between em!

    Hmm, maybe a joint ticket would, um, upset both aforementioned Republicans and Liberals (and the UK Independent newspaper) so much that we must just might save the Republic from its descent into Socialist Utopia.

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    @
    EJHill

    Bachmann was elected in 2006 and as such took her seat as a freshman in the minority party of the 110th Congress. These facts would preclude Mrs. Bachmann from doing any of things that Mr. Friedersdorf sees as detriments.

    Of the House Chairmen in the 112th Congress, all have served longer than Mrs. Bachmann, and in an institution that revers it’s seniority it is not likely to change for her ambitions or Mr. Friedersdorf’s criticisms.

    Yes, due partly to circumstances beyond her control, Michele Bachmann lacks the necessary experience to be present. It is hardly relevant why she lacks leadership experience or legislative accomplishments. It isn’t a dig against someone to say that the aren’t ready for the Oval Office. You write as if a dearth of relevant experience should be forgiven if it isn’t the candidate’s fault that they lack it. To each according to their need!

    • #18
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    @Cutlass

    Good lord, has everyone here gone bonkers??

    Look, I like Rep. Bachmann. She seems like a lovely woman, a principled conservative and a fine member of congress, but she has shown me nothing to indicate that she could defeat Obama.

    The appeal of Paul Ryan is that, despite his youth and lack of executive experience, is that he meets the most important requirement for a Republican in this election cycle: he can skillfully defend himself and our values from attack by Obama, the Dems and the media.

    The problem is not that she gaffes, its that her explanations look foolish and uninformed. That confused “John Quincy Adams was a founder” argument was absolutely ridiculous. Especially when she could have easily mentioned Jefferson’s early draft of the Declaration or Franklin’s abolition society.

    Can anyone explain to me why, beyond wishful thinking, I should feel confident at the prospect of a Bachmann Obama debate?

    • #19
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    @EJHill
    Conor Friedersdorf It is hardly relevant why she lacks leadership experience or legislative accomplishments.

    The why always matters.

    Johnny Damon has as many career hits as Ted Williams. That doesn’t put him in Williams’ league. The details of the why can be important.

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  21. Profile Photo Member
    @DuaneOyen
    Cutlass: Good lord, has everyone here gone bonkers??

    ………………….

    Can anyone explain to me why, beyond wishful thinking, I should feel confident at the prospect of a Bachmann Obama debate? · Jun 30 at 1:58pm

    Exactly. Slogans are not cogent arguments.

    Go back and read her media transcripts at the time of TARP. When very smart economists on the Right were evenly divided, and were talking about macroecon, mark-to-market, reserves, credit market collapses, and actual policy alternatives, she was yelling “Don’t bail out Wall Street!” to every camera she could intercept.

    The policy she espoused (“Don’t bail out Wall Street”) was correct, but the concept of TARP at the time was not necessarily a bail-out, the argument was shallow, and there was zero effort to address the bail-out issue in the legislation- where it might have actually done some good.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @SouthernPessimist

    I find Bachmann to be appealing in many ways but the one aspect of her campaign so far that I find annoying is that she, like Santorum and Pawlenty talk more about why they should be president than making a persuasive argument for what they would do differently. I don’t remember Reagan talking about himself other than to poke fun at himself. I am tired of hearing about her family and that she is a tax lawyer and on and on like a broken record.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Member
    @

    All these great comments are why I am looking forward to the primaries. All this gets sorted out by the voters…and they have plenty of time to work their way through it.

    Personally, I like her, but like Sarah, agree that she’s pretty much our McGovern. It’s probably going to be Mitt…and he shows signs of starting to get the picture. He will run with it if he starts to get caught up with the voters…as Pawlenty seems to be doing…

    • #23
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    @Sisyphus

    From Conor:

    Yes, due partly to circumstances beyond her control, Michele Bachmann lacks the necessary experience to be present. It is hardly relevant why she lacks leadership experience or legislative accomplishments. It isn’t a dig against someone to say that the aren’t ready for the Oval Office. You write as if a dearth of relevant experience should be forgiven if it isn’t the candidate’s fault that they lack it. To each according to their need!

    Given what the Congress did “accomplish” since 2006 what Bachmann has done is far more laudatory than anything she might have accomplished in that cesspool on the Hill. Congress “deemed” Obamacare into law, she raised money for herself and dozens of opposition candidates. Boehner rebuffed her leadership bid, along with the Tea Party as a whole, and she raised more money and set her course for the oval office. She has been as successful politically as any figure in the republic since 2006.

    The notion that she is inexperienced because Pelosi and Boehner took turns sitting on her head in Washington while she rallied the troops across the nation is a classic dodge of the Washington elite faced with a populist for responsible government.

    • #24
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    @Sisyphus

    Any litmus test that requires a candidate to be aligned with the socialists or their appeasers when the point of the exercise is a sharp change of direction is a bad litmus test.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    Keith Preston: All these great comments are why I am looking forward to the primaries. All this gets sorted out by the voters…and they have plenty of time to work their way through it.

    Personally, I like her, but like Sarah, agree that she’s pretty much our McGovern. It’s probably going to be Mitt…and he shows signs of starting to get the picture. He will run with it if he starts to get caught up with the voters…as Pawlenty seems to be doing… · Jun 30 at 3:00pm

    Romney will do exactly what the Economist wants him to do if he becomes President, make a couple of tweaks to Obamacare and declare it good. And everything he says between now and then is just to make sure that happens. That is a death sentence for Americans whose conditions are outside the 95th percentile of cases, where those government play books lose all value. He is a worse option than four more years of deadlock.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @DanHanson

    Supporters of a candidate focus on the candidate’s best traits.

    Opponents of a candidate focus on the candidate’s worst traits.

    Reagan was that once-in-a-lifetime candidate who had the kind of traits his supporters loved, while being nearly bulletproof to his enemies.

    The dangerous candidates are the ones who can inspire loyalty in their followers, while leaving huge gaping holes in their resume or person that their enemies can exploit.

    Michelle Bachmann is a dangerous candidate. She has many marvelous traits. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s conservative. She’s willing to stand on principle and put her money where her mouth is, both in real life and in politics. But her political armor is riddled with holes, and you can expect her opponents to exploit them as much as possible.

    Since the left has the media at its back and a majority of the mouthpieces of popular culture on its side, the Republican candidate had better be as close to bulletproof as possible – not just against real weaknesses, but against any artificial weaknesses the other side can plausibly invent and make stick. Ask Sarah Palin.

    • #27
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    @Standfast

    Mike Murphy said

    “Ask any GOP staff pro on the HIll — including lots of 100% ACU conservatives — and they privately say she is pretty much a joke.”

    I happen to know a long time staffer who works for a politically conservative icon of the senate. In my observations, as I have listened to his brand of politics for more than a decade, I find that his insincerity is only exceeded by his lack of integrity. Living and working in the mother of all echo chambers makes his view of reality even more absurd that the career Senator or Representative. Perhaps he is not a fair representative of the average “staff pro,” but I doubt it.

    That staffers believe she is a joke is a positive from my perspective.

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  29. Profile Photo Member
    @DuaneOyen

    Bachmann is as viable as Barry Goldwater and Walter Mondale. I will personally write a check to Peter for $1000 if Bachmann becomes President. She would lose Minnesota by far more than Gore lost Tennessee. John Hinderaker is a good friend of Bachmann and has been a supporter for years- but he has concerns about viability as well. These are not slams against her as a person or of her views.

    Right now everyone is looking for a confronter- I think we may have fooled ourselves into believing that a lot of loud talk, or personally thrilling ecstatic moments watching viral videos of some lefty idiot getting his due on camera is substantive campaign fodder that wins over the marginal votes. Or that repeating the same maxims is how you show determination regarding policy preferences.

    Sorry, Charlie Tuna. Ronald Reagan’s outburst regarding the microphone in that 1979 debate was not what won him the nomination or the general election in 1980- it was 1) him showing over time that he was not the empty-headed actor of the media portrayals, 2) he refused to throw mud at his Republican rivals, and 3) he was infinitely likable.

    • #29
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    @MatthewContinetti

    Peter, thanks for those kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed my piece.

    I said what I wanted to say about Bachmann in my long article. I’d add, though, that experience has rarely been a deciding factor in presidential contests—just look at the current occupant of the Oval Office!

    Bachmann’s challenge is to broaden her appeal beyond the conservative base of the Republican party. Can she do it? I think she already is, by deemphasizing social issues and running as a Reagan Democrat who opposes the Obama agenda.

    We’ll see how well Bachmann does on the trail. But if I were a Democrat or a moderate Republican, I would not underestimate her.

    • #30

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