Here’s why Rasmussen Reports commentator Michael Barone likes Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll:
She’s only in her third term in the House, and she hasn’t sponsored any major legislation; she has no executive experience in government. Her Iowa headquarters, in a suburban shopping mall near a Panera Bread cafe, only opened two months ago.
But the buzz is that she has a serious chance to come in first in the straw poll — and far ahead of her Minnesota neighbor, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who several months ago seemed to be destined to carry Iowa.
What’s working for Bachmann was on display when I saw her address 100 employees in an advertising firm in West Des Moines on Wednesday. She’s short and thin — one might almost say petite — but she takes command immediately, her voice booming over the microphone, speaking without hesitation or a single uh or ah.
“I’ve lived a real life,” she says. “I’m not a politician.” She weaves deftly into her talk the fact that she’s a tax lawyer, that she and her husband started a small business and raised five children and gave a home to 23 foster children.
Bachmann’s campaign, I am told, is using social media brilliantly to network with like-minded people and to get them to the straw poll in Ames. But the secret ingredient is the candidate herself. The Pawlenty headquarters has a sign reading “Results. Not Rhetoric.” But what Bachmann is offering is not so much rhetoric — her language couldn’t be more plain — but empathy, empathy for people who seek not pity, but self-respect.
We’ll see how that translates on Saturday.