Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann will announce in June her plans for 2012. Many speculate that Bachmann’s announcement, which she says she will make in Waterloo, Iowa, the city of her birth, will kick off a bid for the presidency.
Attractive and conservative, Bachmann has been compared with former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin since she gained national prominence.
Those comparisons will likely persist if Bachmann enters the race for the White House. With women historically rare on presidential tickets, there are few role models from whose example Bachmann can learn. Palin is one of the few — whether or not she decides to run for president herself.
So what can Bachmann take away from Palin’s time as a vice-presidential candidate on the campaign trail? According to former Palin aides, supporters and neutral political analysts, much.
Former Palin aide Michael Goldfarb told TheDC that one of the most important things Bachmann should learn from Palin is the manner in which the former Alaska governor related to Americans — ignoring the media and taking her message directly to the grassroots.
“She was never going to get a fair shake from the media,” said Goldfarb. “The same can be said of Bachmann. It is obvious the media does not take Bachmann seriously. They don’t take her views seriously and they don’t take the view of her supporters seriously even though that is a huge segment of the Republican Party and the country.”
Goldfarb explained that Palin was and continues to be very adept at bringing her message directly to the people — something Bachmann ought to emulate.
“Palin was very effective at this,” he said. “If you look back at her record, take the health care debate for example, Palin did not hold elected office, and certainly didn’t hold office in Congress, I’d say she had a much larger effect on that debate with her rhetoric about death panels…than any other politician in the country I’d say. I think that is the way Bachmann can look at it. She doesn’t need the approval of mainstream media.”
Another thing Bachmann can learn from Palin, according University of Virginia’s Center for Politics director Larry Sabato, is her ability to jab at the media, without appearing angry or hateful.
“Within the GOP base, Sarah Palin prospered whenever she talked tough, associated herself with conservative positions while attacking liberal views, and went after the mainstream (‘lamestream’) news media. She usually did it with humor, with a smile and a wink,” Sabato noted. “Palin let her charisma flow, and she didn’t temper her message to please pundits or voters whose support she would never get. All of this worked for her, and it can easily be applied by Bachmann.”
Former Palin aides said that Bachmann should give as much consideration to the internal workings of her campaign as the external optics.
One former Palin aide told TheDC that Bachmann needs to surround herself with her own people.
“Palin was at a disadvantage in 2008: she was a team player with no team,” the former aide said. “She just did not have the infrastructure other male candidates did.”