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‘Can Michele Bachmann be beaten?’

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post’s “The Fix” political blog asks, but doesn’t answer, the question.

Chris Cillizza, who runs the poilitical blog “The Fix” for the Washington Post, put up a piece this morning asking, but not answering, the question: “Can Michele Bachmann be Beaten?”

He gives it the standard on-the-one-hand-but-on-the-other treatment.

One the one hand, Bachmann’s Sixth Congressional District is the reddest in Minnesota. Mitt Romney carried the Sixth by 57-42 percent, easily his best showing in the state.

On the other hand, hotel magnate Jim Graves came within 1 percentage point of Bachmann in a race that wasn’t called until the day after the election. And Graves was overwhelmingly outspent by Bachmann, in part because the word was out in blue-donor circles that Bachmann couldn’t be beaten.

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Back to the first hand, Bachmann continues to say stuff that just ain’t so, most recently a double helping factual errors at the CPAC conference.

Back to the other hand (and here is where Cillizza has some weird fun with comic book magic), Bachmann loyalists suggest that, like the Marvel Comic villain Sebastian Shaw, she has the power to absorb energy from her foes and turn it into power for herself. The more she is criticized by liberals, the more convinced her supporters become that she must be right about everything.

We shall see what we shall. Personally, I don’t even assume that she will seek another term.

In DFL circles, it’s widely assumed that Graves is preparing for a second try in 2014. I was quite struck by a piece Graves published the other day in the Strib’s business section giving his ideas on tax reform. It was grey, laundry list of principles, lacking in specific numbers, but if you read it, it is a call for a really radical simplification of the tax code. For example, here are two of his principles:

Eliminate personal income classifications so as to treat all income equally as earned income, thus eliminating tax preference for qualified dividends, capital gains, hedge-fund carried interest, etc.

Cap the net tax credit from personal gross income deductions such as home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, health care costs, deductions for state and local income taxes.

Graves ran in 2012 largely on the argument that Bachmann had neglected the district because she is so focused on her national ambitions. That Strib piece made me think that if he runs in 2014, it will be as a reformer.