Ihave waited a day before writing about Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses. I wanted to see the winnowing brought about by this, the first of the “real” electoral events in the 2012 presidential election process. The Iowa caucuses may not be the most reliable predictor of the eventual GOP nomination winner, but they do separate the political chaff from the grain.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who won, former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) who lost by just eight votes and third-place Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) all emerged as the “grain”. They will go on to further tests in New Hampshire and/or South Carolina later this month. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with a mediocre 10 per cent of the vote, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), who put in a particularly dismal showing with only five per cent, must surely be considered the “chaff”. I’m not sure whether to classify Newt Gingrich, with 13 per cent, as chaff or grain. Apparently, he does plan to continue—if only to give Romney payback for the rough going-over Gingrich received in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote.
Of the two big losers, Bachmann is the only one to step aside; Perry has decided to stay in the race to, at least, contest the South Carolina Primary.
I, like many Republicans, had high hopes for Rep. Michele Bachmann. She had, we hoped, the makings of an American Margaret Thatcher. Clearly, we were wrong. Being female and tough and anti-Gay are not enough to be legitimately compared to the Iron Lady of Britain. One also needs to be knowledgeable, worldly and statesmanlike. Clearly Bachmann is none of these. She’s an improvement over Sarah Palin, but falls short of being presidential material, at least, at this stage of her life.
Her apparent willingness to use nuclear weapons on Iran as a first strike is appalling. And her grasp on geography, international affairs, American history and popular culture is deeply troubling:
- Bachmann seemed not to know that Libya was in Africa and that the American Embassy in Tehran had been closed for thirty years.
- She famously said: “But we also know that the very founders [of the U.S. republic] that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. … I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly—men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.” Really? On what planet did the Founding Fathers work to end slavery? And John Quincy Adams was not one of the Founding Fathers—he was 11 or 12 years of age at the time.
- While campaigning in Iowa, she told an interviewer that they were near the birthplace of John Wayne. It was not, as apparently she believed, the cowboy star, but the serial killer, John Wayne Gacy who had lived nearby at Waterloo, Iowa.
- She once invited a crowd in South Carolina to honour Elvis Presley’s birthday on what was actually the anniversary of his death.
- Her child-like solution to unemployment is to abolish the minimum wage. Do that, she says, and everyone would have a job.
This is not a candidate with any chance whatsoever of taking the White House from President Barack Obama. So, bye, bye, Michele.
Copyright © 2012 Russell G. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.