The new narrative seems to be that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has dethroned Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as the darling of the Tea Party and that he’ll continue to rise while her stock sinks.
Not so fast, say Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell in an opinion piece in Politico today.
Goldman, a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia and Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, say Bachmann’s best chance to ultimately win the nomination is to upset the conventional wisdom (CW) that seems almost ready to enthrone Perry:
For an underdog like Bachmann, nomination politics is rooted in creating momentum by defying the CW — that is, beating expectations big — in a high-profile shootout with one of those anointed as a front-runner.
They say Bachmann has classic anti-establishment appeal candidate and is running against the establishment of both parties:
In terms of presidential politics, she’s best viewed as a throwback to others who used Iowa to beat expectations. George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and Gary Hart were all Democratic underdogs who used better-than-expected showings in Iowa to sling-shot into contention despite the [conventional wisdom].
That’s why she needs Perry:
So without such a big “Alpha Dog” as Perry to challenge, how can an underdog like Bachmann beat expectations? Ed Rollins, the Bachmann campaign strategist, gets it. He knows she must do what McGovern, Carter and Hart did on the Democratic side: demolish the CW and show that the party emperors and purveyors of the CW have no clothes.
Iowa is crucial for her, “a do-or-die moment,” they say:
In presidential nomination politics, unlike in sports, a win is not necessarily a win. Without a frontrunner to slay, a win in the nation’s first caucuses by Bachmann, the native Iowan who’s now a congresswoman from neighboring Minnesota, would be written off as a geographical accident. But if she takes down a frontrunner, it would be indeed an entirely different game.