Politics

Tea Party sees national role for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann

What’s in Michele Bachmann’s future?

The Republican congresswoman from Minnesota formed the Tea Party Caucus in the House last month, increasing her visibility as a leader among the Tea Party faithful. Then she filed papers last week to start her own political action committee, MichelePAC, something befitting a person with a national following. She’s now signaled to Tea Party leaders that she’ll sign the Contract from America, a list of legislative priorities from Tea Party activists that’ll endear her even more to the movement that sees her as a rock star.

Ask Tea Party activists about what this means for her, and there’s no surprise: they could envision her stepping into several sorts of higher profile jobs.

“I think she’d be a great member of the leadership of Republicans if they take over,” said Ryan Hecker, a Texas lawyer and creator of the Contract from America. “I think that she really strongly represents and truly cares about the Tea Party movement and its values.”

Don Hensarling, the Florida director for the 912 Project, has another idea for her. “Last time I talked to Newt Gingrich — because I really think he wants to run for president — I told him, I said, ‘Michele will make a great vice president for you.’”

Bachmann’s campaign manager last week declined an interview request with the congresswoman about what the creation of her PAC means for her future. But in an interview with The Daily Caller last month, Bachmann downplayed having any national aspirations other than to just be re-elected to Congress, saying she has “such a big target on my back from Speaker Pelosi.”

In 2009, Bachmann told a conservative website that she’d run for president one day if she felt God was telling her to. But the same year, she told a caller on a radio show that she has “no intention of running for higher office.” Her Democratic opponent, Tarryl Clark, recently tried using the speculation to paint Bachmann as out of touch with the folks back home in her district.

“Michele Bachman is a national leader,” said Larry Jacobs, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

“She is seeking to encourage and provide leadership for a somewhat scattered grouping of conservatives and libertarians,” he said. “She may realize that without leadership, it will splinter. If she is able to give shape and meaning to the Tea Party groupings, she will solidify her standing as one of the country’s preeminent conservative forces.”