As the herd is thinning itself for the 2012 race for the GOP nomination with the departures of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and real estate mogul Donald Trump, the question is who will fill the voids those candidates left behind?
Pat Buchanan has one name in mind, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was once thought to be a longshot at best is now a legitimate contender in at least Iowa Caucus early next year. Buchanan offered his reasoning behind that prognostication on Tuesday’s Laura Ingraham radio show with guest host Raymond Arroyo.
“The populist right is really not well represented right now,” Buchanan said. “And my guess is that Michele Bachmann, frankly will enter the race and if Sarah Palin doesn’t get in I think she would garner an awful lot of votes because unlike [former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty who’s from the same state, she’s very charismatic, very exciting and all the rest. But I don’t think she can probably be nominated or win the general election. But I think she will draw off an awful lot of those votes. But you’re correct, Mike Huckabee to me was the one candidate that I saw with a real chance of defeating [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney, who I think is going to carry the moderate banner into the primaries.”
Buchanan weighed all of Bachmann’s pros and explained why that sets her up for success in the early stages of the race for the nomination.
“I do think [Bachmann] can win Iowa if she’s the only one out there,” he said. “Except she’s going to be competing with Santorum, but if she were the only one out there, she’s got an awful lot of tickets. She’s got the Evangelical Christian. She’s populist. She’s an attractive woman. She’s exciting. Obviously I think she bumps her head. A lot of people feel she is not quite presidential. They have the same problem with her they have with Sarah Palin, that while she’s exciting and one of us and terrific that she’s not presidential.”
And with that Buchanan likes her odds against a likely better-funded Mitt Romney.
“But can she win the Iowa Caucuses?” he said. “I think yes, if it’s split up a lot of ways. I would bet right now if I had to, if they both got in – I would bet on a Romney-Bachmann finish in the Iowa Caucuses.”