I’d love to give Michele Bachmann and her advisers truth serum and out find who among them--if any--see a plausible path to the presidency for a someone who has never run for (let alone won) statewide office and inhabits a portion of her party’s political spectrum distantly removed from the main stream of U.S. politics. It may be that her soon-to-be political director in Iowa, Kent Sorenson, is a true believer. But he seems to believe a lot of, ahem, funny things. He is, for example, a birther.
Birthers, of course, suspect that President Obama was born outside of the United States (and so is presumably engaged in a vast and life-long coverup with the state of Hawaii to fool everyone into thinking he was born there). Saner members of the GOP roll their eyes at birtherism and write it off as a straw man created by liberals and Democrats to make Republicans look bad. But then there’s the matter of string of polls showing that birthers make up a growing portion of the Republican Party. And there are the birther bills introduced in state legislatures.
Kent Sorenson, who will reportedly join the Bachmann campaign as soon as it officially materializes, sponsored one such bill, as Mother Jones reported today. And it’s not an isolated bit of the crazy manifesting itself: Sorenson also sponsored a bill which would return Iowa to the gold standard, including calculating state taxes in gold and silver coins rather than U.S. dollars. (While he’s under the truth serum, I’d love to ask Sorenson whether he truly believes that having to operate with two different currencies would be a selling point that would bring companies and new jobs to the Buckeye State.) [ See political cartoons about the economy.]
Donald Trump had been making a play for the birther vote, so he must be crushed that Bachmann landed such a key Iowa operative. (Note: That last bit is not meant facetiously--one Iowa GOPer told Politico that “no legislator has a broader network than him” along with “unreal grassroots appeal that will follow him over a cliff.”)
Of course neither Michele Bachmann nor Donald Trump is going to be the GOP nominee, let alone take the oath of office on January 20, 2013. But as the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen notes, Iowa has a history of supporting radical conservatives.
Bachmann is so boldly ridiculous, she's bound to generate quite a bit of attention for herself, which could have a real impact on the race. There's only so much media oxygen available for a sizable presidential field, and if Bachmann's clownish antics capture reporters' attention, lesser-known candidates like Pawlenty and Daniels may find themselves struggling to stay in the spotlight.
Damn lamestream media.