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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Michele Bachmann Needs To Dump Ed Rollins Now

This is a follow-up to my post yesterday, Michele Bachmann's First Big Mistake - Hiring Ed Rollins, regarding Rollins out-of-the-gate attacks on Sarah Palin:
Hiring Rollins is an enormous mistake for Bachmann. It could be campaign killing. The people who hate Palin are the same people who hate Bachmann, and no amount of trashing of Palin by Rollins will change that. Bachmann needs to focus on building, not tearing down.
The profound mistake Bachmann made by bringing Ed Rollins on board cannot be overstated..  (Several commentators to my prior post think Bachmann is a stalking horse, but I'll prefer to call the Rollins hire a simple mistake.)

Salon.com gets it right, Rollins is instigating a fight which is damaging to each candidate and the Republican Party:
For weeks commentators have tried to set up Tea Party darlings Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, both of whom may end up launching presidential bids, in opposition. Both women have, however, fought the catfight narrative. Bachmann, for example, told "Good Morning America" last week, "I like Sarah Palin a lot, we're friends."

But that was before Ed Rollins, Bachmann's new campaign manager with a checkered path of dirty and aggressive tactics, entered the scene.
Bachmann and her supporters are kidding themselves if they think bashing Palin will immunize Bachman from the treatment.  The mocking of Bachmann started long ago, but now will kick into full gear.  They will portray every slip of the tongue or error by Bachmann as reflective of a lack of intelligence and wingnuttia. 

Witness TPM's article about Bachman's hire of Rollins:
Of course, this has often lead to some amusing off-the-cuff fumbles. She once told a conservative rally at the Capitol: "It's the charge of the light brigade!" (The Light Brigade lost) She also misplaced the historic Revolutionary War towns of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, into New Hampshire. And in an infamous House speech, she blamed Franklin Roosevelt for something call the "Hoot-Smalley" tariffs.
But at the end of the day, the same qualities that often lead Bachmann to the edge of rhetorical cliffs, are the same that ignite fervor among her base in the far right wing of the GOP.

A successful career and lifetime of achievement is turned into a caricature based on a handful of misstatements or mistakes.  That's what Rollins is doing to Palin, and it's what will be done by others to Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann has a chance to carve out a successful insurgency campaign by uniting the non-establishment base of the party, particularly if Palin does not run.  Bachmann's chance will disappear quickly if Ed Rollins' smash-mouth tactics towards Sarah Palin continue much longer.

Update:  Nice job Ed (h/t commenter Viator), is this how you wanted to launch your campaign, Michele?

(added) and this:

Rollins has put Bachmann in a horrible position.  If she sticks with him, she damages if not completely destroys her campaign; if she reverses the error and lets him go, she'll be portrayed as having caved in to Palin's supporters and Rollins will use it as a launching pad on the TV circuit to bash Palin some more.

It was a bad hire, Michele.  For your own sake, don't let him move in his furniture.

And, lie down with Ed Rollins, this is what you get thrown back in your face:
"Michele Bachmann obviously is a member of Congress and a representative of the tea party," Rollins told CNN viewers [in January 2011]. "But at the end of the day, we have to get our serious players out front and talking about the things that matter to be the alternative to the president and Democrats."
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  1. Love the Video of the Day with your caption, "You should hear him recite the Longfellow poem from memory."

    Good laugh to start the day!

  2. P.S. If the Google ID problem gets really bad, and you're unable to post, why not give your commentary in front of a video camera and use the Video of the Day (which is working) as a channel? Work on those broadcasting chops.

  3. "Hoot-Smalley" -- how appropriate -- the tariffs made about as much sense as that "hoot" "Sen. Stuart Smalley" a/k/a Franken (D-SNL). Perhaps it wasn't so much a gaffe as a Freudian Spoonerism!

  4. Totally agree. Almost all of Sarah's mistakes are with matters of perception, not policy, and it's highly dangerous to make an enemy with that. Don't have to love her, don't have to even like her, but appreciate that her voice is out there.

  5. Rollins equals "sleaze". Self-imposed, ego-driven, self-destructive sleaze. The longer this goes on the less relevant becomes Bachmann. Classic, classic amateur mistake.

    PS: Not having Google account problems.

  6. I too like both Bachmann and Palin, and I am not in any way committed to either as candidates. That said, Michelle Bachmann has made a very big mistake in hiring Ed Rollins as her consultant!

    He is poison!

    Here in New Jersey, many of us vividly remember when he boastfully, stupidly and falsely opened his mouth and touched off a huge racially-tinged controversy here in NJ, back in November of 1993, immediately following the narrow election victory of Christine Todd Whitman as Governor. She had just successfully defeated the one term, out of control tax-and-spend Governor, Jim Florio.

    Rollins made comments claiming the campaign had made what sounded like payoffs to black church leaders to keep down or suppress minority voter turnout in urban areas, which comments were quickly taken by the media as suggesting highly inappropriate racial motivation in Republican election activities, activities which were subsequently determined to have never taken place, but only after lengthy federal and state investigations were conducted.

    His stupid and false comments actually put Mrs. Whitman's narrow victory under a mini-cloud for a considerable period of time, until the completion of those investigations in mid-January!

    In the meantime, Trenton literally became a media circus, and her transition was severely hobbled.

    During those investigations, Rollins specifically admitted to investigators that he had lied in making his boastful allegations in November.

    Here is a link to one of the initial articles by Richard Berke of the NY Times, dated November 10th, one of the articles that touched off the huge firestorm of controversy.

    And here was the NY Times article from a few months later, dated January 14th, and which memorialized the fact that Mr. Rollins subsequently told state and federal investigators that he had been lying when he made the comments back in November right after the election, and further, that their investigation showed that he was indeed lying when he made his initial comments:

    "In later testimony, he [Rollins] swore he made it all up. A U.S. Attorney and two former State Attorneys General have now concluded that he was right the second time, and that there was nothing but braggadocio in his original allegations. Several dozen F.B.I. agents, a dozen state investigators and numerous prosecutors were unable to find a single illegal payment or anyone who claimed to have turned one down."

    And from another NYT update published in March of '94:

    "[Rollins]cast a pall over her victory by asserting later that the campaign had laid out a half-million dollars in 'street money' to discourage get-out-the-vote efforts by black clergy and Democratic workers.

    Mr. Rollins later swore he had lied, and after investigators were satisfied that he had, the issue faded.

    And as pointed out in that article, it turned out -- as you might have guessed -- that it was the Democrats who had spent the huge sums on "street money” in the election!

    That is why I agree -- Michelle Bachman made a huge mistake hiring Ed Rollins, and she should fire him immediately.

  7. Michelle Bachmann would probably make a good president, although in all honesty I doubt she would make a great one. But the main problem she faces isn't what kind of president she would or would not be, but getting there. I just don't see her running a national campaign. When you look at that, then it becomes easier to see why she would jump at the chance to hire somebody with the national electoral experience of an Ed Rollins. It's still a bad idea, but there you go.

    I like the idea somebody had that Bachmann could be a stalking horse, but for who? Pawlenty? Romney?

  8. Look, this Bachmann involvement in smearing Sarah is unforgivable. If she pursues this path, she's done. It's really that simple.

    And to all your commenters (on the other post on this--too lazy to go back there now, heh) who are making excuses for Bachmann on this one, suggesting she doesn't know what Rollins is doing (!!!), etc.--let's think about what being president entails. If she can't vet and hire a decent person to work on her campaign *before she's even announced*, what kind of judgment is she likely to use installing a cabinet?

  9. The last sentence, quoting Rollins from JAN11, sounds like classic chaos/liberal/trash-mouth troll-speak in blog comments. Ed started as a Democrat operator from a Democrat family. Worked for two sleazes: Unruh and RFK. He switched parties in the late 60s when Reagan was rising nationally and GOP in CA as well. I suspect it was for employment/wave-riding, not principle.

    He reminds me of Michael Medved, also formerly a Democrat: changed parties but not principles, still collectivist authoritarian.

    As Trochilus points out, Rollins damaged a new Republican Governor. I suspect he has damaged other Republicans along the way, probably some Democrats as well. I suspect he has long been a Democrat mole in the Republican party: there is evidence he serially damages Republicans. That has to be intentional.

    I suspect Michelle got hoodwinked and blind-sided by a superannuated false-flag and may not know it even now. If that is the case, she is not presidential and/or her staff is not. (McCain had Democrats on his staff and they damaged him.) Perhaps that is a good thing to have come out now rather than later. If Democrats can get to Michelle this early in, can infill a mole at the top of her organization, she is not a presidential candidate.

    The jackals of chaos/trash-mouth will do what they do no matter what. If civilization must finally yield to them, well, that is that, we deal with it. But whether civilization yields to them or not, alarm over their doing what they do is a waste of time, money and energy. Let the winds blow, say I, do what one believes one should do and leave the consequences to providence. Above all, do not fear, nor take counsel of fears or the fearful.

    One more thing: Rollins' DOB is six months ahead of mine. People our age should be quit the game unless we are principals, and neither of us is a principal. Let the younger people make their world or not, offer advice if offered or asked, otherwise stand out of the way and let life be on its way. Political operating, especially playing the troll and mole, unbecomes people of Rollins' and my length of years.

  10. In my opinion, Bachmann is Romney’s stalking horse. Rollins was put in place to attack Palin directly, so Romney wouldn’t have to get his hands dirty. Mark my words.

    Rollins just walked-back his statement. This shows that this approach is an EPIC FAILURE. The only attacks that the base wants to see are those focused on Obama.

    If Bachmann is not a Romney-stalking horse, then Rollins needs to be gone by the end of the week.

  11. It seems to me that Rollins is doing his job. With new reason to think that Palin may still be toying with running (the bus tour), he's making clear that she cannot expect Bachmann to bow out in Palin's favor. To the contrary, she can expect a tough fight with another conservative woman over the same voters to emerge from the first few primary caucuses as the anti-Romney.

    It's a shot across the bow.

  12. I’ve followed Republican politics since the 1970′s, so I’ve been able to watch Rollins for over three decades, and I can tell you that he has always been out for Ed Rollins first and foremost, with whatever candidate is paying his salary a distant second. That he hasn’t changed his MO is evident by what you've posted here, Prof.

    Quoted in and Linked to at the THE TCOTS DOUCHE NOZZLE PRIZE IS AWARDED TO ED ROLLINS at: The Camp Of The Saints

  13. J. E.-

    A shot across the bow is one thing, but a straight out attack on Palin's qualifications and seriousness is another matter all together. It's over the line. He made this same attack on Bachmann a few months back, so how does he walk that back now, and how does he do it in the event Palin runs, and wins?

    And why Palin anyway? Why not Romney, or Pawlenty? Pawlenty especially at this stage of the game should be considered Bachmann's chief rival for the Iowa caucus vote. Palin hasn't even declared yet.

  14. Plus, I hate to say it, but if Michelle is a stalking horse for Romney, it could be that she is acting under a stated promise of a high level subcommittee chairmanship if she sinks Palin's chances, or Pawlenty's. In that case, especially if its aimed at Palin, it could be coming from somebody in the traditional party establishment. I'm thinking Boehner.

  15. @Pagan -- why Palin when she has not declared? To make her think long and hard about getting in. Pawlenty may be the guy to beat in Iowa in a field without Palin but once Palin is a candidate (which the bus tour suggests might happen) she would be the biggest threat to Bachmann moving up. Why might this attack give her pause? Because up to now, attacks on Palin are pretty much coming from Democrats and a few conservative pundits. Rollins would presumably reason that Palin needs to include in her calculations about running that Bachmann is not about to bow out in her favor and Palin would face some rough going from fellow conservatives if she gets in.

    Plus, Bachmann is probably getting tired of feeling that Palin is holding her campaign plans hostage by her coyness about whether she will run or not.