(Providence, Rhode Island)
Here’s what’s on tap this week in the political world:
“Bachmann Can Win the Nomination” – I spent Tuesday covering Michele Bachmann’s campaign in New Hampshire and even got to do a brief interview with her. Despite her detractors, she is a credible, serious and viable candidate. Nomination fights are often about buzz and momentum, and right now she has both. She can win the nomination, but…
“The Math Problem” – My mantra is always “Politics is as much about math as it is about ideology!” In other words, you can preach and promise all you want; but you still have to get the most votes (and, in many cases, the most dollars). The latest “Des Moines Register” poll has it 23 percent for Mitt Romney and 22 percent for Michele Bachmann. On the other hand, the latest Suffolk University poll in New Hampshire has it Romney 36 percent, Bachmann 11 percent. However, she has gained 8 points since the last poll. So, she’s viable in the first caucus state, but has a lot of “math” to do in the first primary state.
“Move Over, Sarah!” – That was the headline in Tuesday’s “Boston Herald.” It begs the question: Has Bachmann trumped Sarah Palin and knocked her out of contention? My guess is "Yes," but not because they are both female candidates. It’s also because they share a very similar constituency of conservative evangelicals, social and economic conservatives, and tea party movers and shakers. The Ronald Reagan wing of the GOP likes them both, but there can be room for only one. One is a declared candidate; one is not. Big advantage Bachmann.
“The Spoiler” – Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry appeals to those same groups, but also has a lot of pull with Latino voters--pull which which Palin and Bachmann lack so far. If Perry gets in (and look for an early August decision), he could be the 800-pound gorilla in the nominating process.
“A Matter of Degrees” – Sarah Palin has a B.A. from the University of Idaho. Michele Bachmann has a B.A. from Winona State, a law degree from Oral Roberts University, and a Master of Laws in Taxation from William and Mary University. I am not saying more degrees are better, but voters do compare resumes. On the other hand two of our more recent and revered Presidents had less formal education than most candidates. Harry Truman did not have a college degree, and Ronald Reagan had a B.A. from little-known Eureka College.
“Gender Politics” – I saw this all over the campaign trail in 2008, and it is still there. There is a burning desire in this country for the first female President. Lots of Democrats think Hillary Clinton was robbed, and lots of Republicans think Sarah Palin was mistreated. And a lot of voters, including Independents, think both women were treated unfairly in the media. Keep an eye on the gender factor this time around. Key factor: There are more women than men in the U.S.; and women vote in larger numbers.
“Money Matters” – The financial filing deadline for the latest quarter was Thursday, June 30, but we won’t know exact details until July 15. Mitt Romney is way out front with between $15 and $20 million, followed by Ron Paul with $4.5 million, Tim Pawlenty with $4.2 million, and John Huntsman with $4.1 million. Michele Bachmann has $2.9 million in her Congressional campaign account, which she can convert to the Presidential race.
Happy Fourth of July to all! No matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent or other, please stay informed and be involved. We live in the greatest and most generous country in the history of this planet! Go out and celebrate it!