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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Michele Bachmann's First Big Mistake - Hiring Ed Rollins

As I've said before, I like Michele Bachmann.  

Not surprisingly, Bachmann has come under the same types of snide attack as Sarah Palin from the mainstream media, entertainment industry and left-blogosphere.  There is a special place reserved for conservative women in the Democratic toolkit of mockery and derision.

But Bachmann just made a big mistake.  I'll repeat what I wrote when Mike Huckabee was considering whether to run again with Ed Rollins as his campaign manager:
Run, don't walk, away from Ed Rollins and the others who think that demeaning Sarah Palin is the best way to advance your campaign.
Sure enough, Rollins having just been hired by Bachmann, is at it again (via Ben Smith):
Michele Bachmann's new top consultant, Ed Rollins, began his tenure with scathing criticism of potential Bachmann rival Sarah Palin.
"Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years," Rollins told Brian Kilmeade on his radio show, Kilmeade and Friends. "She got the Vice Presidential thing handed to her, she didn't go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance, she gave up her governorship."
He suggested that the contrast would favor Bachmann.
"Michele Bachmann and others [have] worked hard, she has been a leader of the Tea Party which is a very important element here, she has been an attorney, she has done important things with family values."
"She is probably the best communicator [in the GOP field] now that Mike Huckabee's not in there," he said.
Rollins has long been skeptical of Palin, but his new role with Bachmann suggests that criticism will become part of her campaign, though she has publicly praised the former Alaska governor
Hiring Rollins was a mistake.  In order to have a chance, you will have to unite the non-establishment wing of the party behind you, and you lose a big chunk of that base when your campaign spokesman trashes Palin.

Additionally, the Democrats and their supporters are going to Palinize you, and already have started.  Having your campaign spokesman engage in the same sort of rhetoric against Palin simply legitimizes the tactic, and will hurt your campaign.

Please take advice from someone who likes you.  Dump Rollins overboard now, before it's too late.

Update:  Ed Rollins is on the Chris Matthews show as this update is being written, and is going out of his way to belittle Palin, including saying that Palin ""doesn't matter if she doesn't run."  Rollins also jumped on the Paul Revere controversy.  According to Rollins, Palin "has the movie star quality but it doesn't go very far."

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.

Update 6-8-2011:  Here's how they will go after Bachmann, sounds like our resident troll talking about Palin:
Don't get me wrong -- Bachmann is neither a serious legislator nor a serious thinker. Her ideas are radical nearly to the point of being nuts, and the thought of her in the Oval Office is, well, unsettling. As a representative of the extreme right, she'd have almost no chance of beating Barack Obama in a general election. But the other candidates in the race could well find her to be more formidable than they expect.


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  1. I saw the previous post here on Ed Rollins, and in light of that information, I don't see how any R would be crazy enough to hire the man. The only thing I can think of is 1) She doesn't know enough about the man's dirt or 2) She feels "It's MY turn" and privately endorses attacks against Palin, thinking that she's the acceptable one, compared to Palin, whom everybody just doesn't like, is in it for the money, and is craaaaaazy.
    I really hope it's from ignorance, and not because she thinks that people will flock to her instead of Cuda, because she is in for a rude awakening.

  2. She's been an attorney?

    All respect to the bloghost, but that's not a quality I look for in a politician. Rather the opposite, really.

  3. This is a big mistake. Big.

    As you say, the people who hate Palin, hate Bachmann for the same reasons and will never ever change their minds. In fact, tearing down Palin is the same thing, in their eyes, as tearing down Bachmann.

    More importantly, the people who like Palin also like Bachmann. Want to know what will change that? Attacking Sarah.

    This is making me not like Bachmann at all. Rollins isn't doing this without her stamp of approval, you know this.

  4. Maybe due to Bachmann's lack of executive experience. Not able to read people or control her staff.

    Too bad. She's a good, smart, brave woman.

  5. Michele Bachmann has a lot of negatives against her - she is shunned by the House leaders as "too extreme", thus not getting leadership positions she expressed interest in after the 2010 shellacking; she is a sitting House member: NO sitting House rep. has ever won the presidency; her leadership record PALES in comparison to Palin's.

    This Rollins character might have convinced Bachmann that he is her Karl Rove. My guess is he might be trying to take down the "little woman" Bachmann to open the field for his REAL favorite (Cain? Newt? Huntsman? who knows).

    Just a hunch, but establishment Republicans are not too fond of true TEA Party patriots. Huck was a good ol' boy. Bachmann has bucked them all, and frankly, probably p*ssed them off.

    Palin is an outsider. And somehow Rollins thinks his trash-talking Palin is helping Bachmann? This does not pass the smell test. Bachmann and Palin have worked together too much for this to be Bachmann's strategy. However, if it is, as @Fuzzy says, she has lost what little hope she may have had in this race.

    Beware. Bachmann may have lost more than her campaign hopes. She might have lost her credibility.

  6. Goodbye, Michele, it's been good to know ya. Be sure to keep your day job.

  7. Oddly, I think more people hate Bachmann, and you're right, she will be savaged as much or more than Palin.

    Please - let Republicans get the message:

    Every single one of our candidates is better than Obama. They are the most exciting and dynamic group of candidates to come down the pike. They have new ideas, new energy and the fire in the belly. They are not "it's your turn in line" Bob Dole types.

    Every single one is more principled than Barack Obama, more fiscally responsible than Barack Obama and more honest than Barack Obama. Every single one of them cares more about this country and about our Constitution than Barack Obama.

    Keep your eye on the target - Barack Obama - we have a lot of nominees, we are sending them out, like sperm, one of them will have to hit the target.

    Let's not attack our own. The left will do enough of that - let's send out that positive message! Every single one is better than this disaster that is whitehouse;gov, the golfer.

    Let's not send our warrior on to the final battle bloodies by friendly fire.

    Please. PLEASE.

  8. There is a "Michelle Bachmann for President" Facebook page. You KNOW someone in her campaign either runs it or reads it. Post your thoughts there as well. They'll get the hint.

  9. Bachmann could have gotten my vote if Palin was not in the race. With today's actions, she has lost any chance that I would vote for her.

  10. Well stated. If only she'd listen.

  11. What I don't like is comparing the two possible *female* candidates. Why doesn't Rollins compare Bachman to Romney or Gingrich or Pawlenty? Why stick her in the "females only" ghetto? Bachman should be presented as one of the viable candidates, not as a foil for Palin. Big mistake - it emphasizes her sex, not her policies.

  12. With you completely. Rollins will inevitably turn on Bachmann, too. That's his M.O.

    In a way, Bachmann has made a significant error, from which only a deft firing will permit her to emerge.

  13. I actually feel sorry for Bachmann because I do believe she and Sarah Palin both like and respect each other. Which makes me wonder if she really knew what she was doing when she hired rabid Rollins. This is so not going to do her any good at all. Not a'tall.

  14. Putting Rollins out there to bash Palin might be a good idea, if Bachmann's true intentions are not to be a serious candidate. It has long been suspected by many that in return for political favors, Bachmann would serve as a stalking horse for Romney.

    I think they're trying to scare Palin into not running. Rollins needs to find out what happens when you poke a barracuda with a stick. The GOP establishment needs that lesson too.

  15. You said Bachmann needs to focus on building, not tearing down...but you miss the point. Bachmann's only in this to tear down Governor Palin. She is a stalking horse for Romney and has no desire to actually try to win the nomination, her "job" is to block Palin.

  16. A great part - perhaps one of the most essential parts - of leadership is the capacity to choose the right people for the right job, to select the best deputy. If Ms. Bachmann is unable to select the "right" campaign manager, perhaps this hints at weakness in this area.

    If, on the other hand, she reacts immediately to a bad choice by fixing it promptly, that would be a good indicator that she does indeed understand that her deputies are extensions of herself, in their actions and behavior as well as their job performance.

  17. Well, one less thing to follow on facebook now! I will not support anyone who thinks hate is a value Republicans should take up. Sorry, Michelle, but hate is for democrats.

  18. "Maybe due to Bachmann's lack of executive experience. Not able to read people or control her staff."

    You do not need executive experience to google Ed Rollins.

  19. They may try to "Palinize" Bachmann but they won't succeed because Bachmann is not a shallow, vapid, ignorant dope.

    It's kind of funny that the right's least favorite establishment Republican, John McCain, elevated Palin from well deserved obscurity, making her the sensation of the right in order to get them out to vote. In the process, some on the righf seem to have willingly assumed the impossible burden of defending-- no, idolizimg -- Palin.

    Bachmann might well be President. Palin, never.

  20. @J.E. Burke - the PDS from you is getting very tiresome, and the name calling reflects poorly on you. Shame it's come to this. Get a grip.

  21. I agree. Bachmann made a big mistake. Rollins is bad news for her campaign. I doubt with or without him she will never be elected President.

  22. Ps. Maybe we overlook the obvious. Maybe Rollins was all rhat was left.

  23. If Ed Rollins is a sample of what we can expect from a President Bachmann, then I say the race for conservatives in 2012 just narrowed to Herman Cain and Sarah Palin (if she chooses to run).

  24. Sarah Palin will have to actually answer her critics in a legitimate forum someday; she can't bring her army of bodysnatched sycophants everywhere she goes. This woman has never held a press conference. She is a coward when it comes to answering questions (which is understandable, given her her skill set); Bachmann would eat her alive in a debate.

  25. On another blog, a commenter brought up an interesting angle: Bachmann has been promised the VP slot as the concession to conservatives if she plays ball. I've always wondered why, after she played such an important role in delivering the conservative vote last November, she demurred without a whimper when denied the chairmanship of the House Conference Committee. I was very disappointed in her back then and started questioning her resolve vis-a-vis the GOP leadership.

    She also failed to corral her own House Tea Party "committee" which consistently voted overwhelmingly with the leadership and against the very Tea Party principles they campaigned on and that got them elected in the first place.

    This is a major blunder and it has been going on all day. Surely, Bachmann has gotten wind of the backlash that will turn to fury if she doesn't act quickly. Maybe Bachmann is not as genuine or conservative as she has led us to believe.

  26. Strange. In a post criticizing a presidential candidate's curious staff hire, a great many comments deal more with the doings of a non-candidate than the one who is running. What does this possibly portend for the campaign? How can the current candidate be taken seriously? How disappointing to those who once thought her a rising star.

  27. @Clovis: Palin held 17, 15-20 unscripted Q/A with reporters over 4 days. Even the media said this was unprecedented access. As they were unscripted and open question, it's the equivalent of 17 pressers.

    No one else has done as much. Of either party.

  28. She probably thought she was getting HENRY Rollins- a kettle of fish of a different color.

  29. Hey, Professor, if you're going to shoulder the heavy burden not only of defending Palin against attacks from actual or potential political opponents but also of spinning her daffy remarks to try to make them appear to make sense, you are really going to need to be less thin-skinned.

    Tens of milions of Americans, including millions of conservative voters, believe with good and substantial reason that Sarah Palin is not up to being President of the United States. We are not all fools, tools of the left or part of some imaginary "ruling class." We think it's so obvious that Palin is appallingly unserious that we honestly do not understand how otherwise smart and sensible people like you don't get it.

    Michelle Bachmann is nothing like Palin except thaf they are both women and both conservatives. She is smart, knowledgable, experienced and articulate and has a sustained record of leadership and genuine political courage, as well as a wife and mother. It goes without saying that liberals will do everything they can to crush her if she advances toward the nomination, but then, they will endeavor to do the same to any other Republican. The thing is, though, unlike Palin, she's not handing them more ammunition every other day.

    My threshhold definition of whether someone is suited to be President is simple: he or she ought to know more about public affairs than I do. Palin has failed that test consistently since August 2008. Most distressing, in the two and a half years since she got the nod from McCain, she has obdurately declined to inform herself. Instead, when caught out mumbling some nonsensical inanities with painfully fractured syntax, she relies on her fans to come to her aid by denouncing her critics as elitists who are just beating up on poor Sarah.

    Sorry, i am not drinking that Kool Aid.

  30. A pitch-perfect post - and, as always, you were very prescient with your earlier Rollins post. Nice job ...

  31. Thanks much Professor. I do wonder if Rollins dives for Bachmann's team the better to war on Palin, whom the GOP establishment loathes above all. The Tea Party then appears divided. Krauthammer's odd praise of Bachmann ('it's her turn') telegraphs the new moderate chess game against the Alaskan invader.

  32. Abyssmal ignorance about (QE 2, 'death panels, new START, the GZ Mosque, the Islamist revolution
    in the Middle East) is no way through life

  33. @JE Burke - It's not a question of thin-skinned, it's a question of you simply engaging in anti-Palin name calling almost every time you come here.

    You simply announce that Palin is evil and stupid and all the other names you regularly call her, and then express indignation and disbelief when someone disagrees with you. And when that someone is "smart" by your standards, well that just blows your mind because you are too much of a snob to consider that people without credentials may have valid opinions. That attitude gave us Obama once already.

    Good luck with your tens of millions of people who hate Palin with you, they're mostly voting for Obama. You hate Palin at a visceral level, we get it and nothing ever will convince you otherwise, because you have drank the Kool Aid, just not the one you think.

    But you'll never admit it, because "smart" people could not possibly disagree with your assessment, because then they would not be smart. Nice self-fulfilling argument. It's the type of argument which disgusts me.

    The petty sniping eminating from the Republican Palin haters is the best thing Obama has going for him.

    I have nothing against Michele Bachmann; but she's making a big mistake by hiring a big mouth like Ed Rollins who will alienate a key portion of the Republican Party. And yes they will Palinize her, they already have; just watch any late night show.

  34. Simply put, this convinces me that Bachmann is nothing more than a stalking horse to whack Palin and that she has no plans on winning.

    For her services, the RNC elites will throw her a few trinkets and babbles....perhaps a VP pick or a committee chairmanship. She's in club now.

  35. Bachmann and her employees need to fall under your well laid out zero tolerance rule.


    Apparently, her campaign staff is making excuses for Rollins. Very bad.

  36. There you go again, Professor. Someone tells the obvious truth about Palin and you go into overdrive in defense, even inventing attacks on her that were not made.

    I have never said anything remotely suggesting that Palin in "evil" (stupid, yes). She is eminently nice and likable with an admirable family life. I do not "hate" Palin viscerally or on any other level. Nor do the millions of conservative voters who will not vote for her (a group I cited that you conspicuously ignored) hate her. We just think she's not Presidential material.

    And you know, Obama wasn't Presidential material either -- one of several reasons I did not vote for him. So what's all this irrelevant nonsense about being "too much of a snob to consider that people without credentials may have valid opinions." Everyone has opinions, but someone we elect President damn well ought to have the right "credentials" -- which doesn't mean Ivy degrees but means being amply endowed with the knowledge, experience, leadership ability and character to execute the awesome powers we put in the hands of the President of the United States.

    It's not about being "smart." Palin may well have a high IQ but if so, it does her know good. Two and a half years into national politics, she shows little sign of having put in any hard work to learn -- yes, learn. She's a lot like Obama in thaf sense. He's certifiably "smart" (Harvard Law and all) but apart from his well memorized leftist catechism, he always struck me as the kind of guy who thinks he's the smartest person in the room but really doesn't even know what he doesn't know.

    Ditto Palin. She's got a dozen talking points she clings tightly to in all public discourse, thinks she just so totally more clever than the rest of the Republican Party (in large part because her adoring fan base applauds on cue), and had no clue how much she doesn't know.

  37. Professor: I am a Palin Democrat.Bachmann's Team just called me to donate to her PAC. The reason? She claims to be a "Tea Party Leader", and I am an active Tea Party coordinator for a large, local group. However, her support of earmarks and subsidies don't betoken a proper Tea Party attitude -- and all my money is being saved for the formal primaries (you can't really direct where it will end up when it goes to a PAC). Bachmann was also quite silent when both Palin and the Tea Party were vilified during the Tucson tragedy involving Congresswoman Giffords.

    Some of my local Tea Party group are not so favorably inclined to Palin -- however, they often much more substantive and well reasoned concerns than JE offers. Most of them have been impressed by Palin's tour and her recent Wallace interview on FNC. Unlike JE, they are going into the primary with an open mind -- as, I suspect, most Republicans will.

    May the best candidate win. As Howard Dean recently noted -- the winner of the GOP primary has a good shot of beating Obama. This assessment included Palin.

  38. Bachmann is just making sure that Palin supporters won't vote for her. That's an excellent strategy for winning the nomination.

    If Bachmann had 1/10th of Sarah Palin's knowledge, drawing power, radical thinking skills, and experience, she wouldn't have needed Palin to help her hold her seat last year.

    Ingratitude is worse than witchcraft. Palin's support last year should have been enough to have Bachmann gag Rollins. That she doesn't and hasn't says that Bachmann agrees with Rollins. She'll pay for that.

  39. Concur, and I admit to being dumbfounded by Michelle's move in this case. Put at sixes and sevens. She and Sarah have shared many a podium, as all know. Sarah is the dominant of the two by way of charisma and station, but Michelle has an unimpeachable record as a human being, a human advocate, a human Representative for her constituents and a sturdy, sua sponte warrior for what is right and good.

    I do not understand this move on her part. Not that I need to, for I am a nobody.

    Some commentators mention that she is acting now as a stalking horse for Mitt Romney. I have no way of knowing whether that is true or not. Were it, it would paint her as a cynic of a high order, and nothing I have noted in her actions heretofore indicates to me that she is a cynic.

    So, I just do not know. Most of reality flies over my head (or under my feet, or around my arms) unobserved, and all of it not understood. (As the years roll by, frankly, the less I want to understand, much less feel I can.)

    However, I concur, intuitively, that Michelle has made a mistake in this move in the sense of placing herself outside the orbit of loyalty to a friend. That is a lethal mistake for anyone to make, whatever their orbit.

    There is always the possibility that I see not what is important, nor even what is not important, but this is how I see this one: a subversion of loyalty, which is a capital offense.

    President Reagan's Eleventh Commandment, I believe it was: never speak ill of a fellow Republican. Ed cannot but be speaking for Michelle here, breaking the Eleventh Commandment. It is beyond me why she would do that. And did not Ed work for RR?

  40. JE Burke...you continue the left's lie that Palin hasn't "learned anything" over the last two years. You obviously haven't been paying attention to her facebook posts, op eds on QE2 and her numerous public statements. Pushing the same tired retread on Palin is pathetic. But probably the worst thing is the disloyalty that Bachmann is showing in all of this. P alin went and helped Bachmann with that major rally in Minnesota last year...and this is the thanks she gets from Bachmann, Rollins and you. I guess Palin is ok when she is helping raise all kinds of money for Bachmann.....but not any other time, huh??.

  41. @J.E. Burke. Yes, when you show up calling Palin a "shallow, vapid, ignorant dope" it's just the "obvious truth" with which no one can disagree, or that person simply is accused of "going into overdrive" with a reflexive defense. You have set up an argument with whihc no one can disagree because it is completely circular: I'm right because I'm right. That's pretty shallow, vapid and dopey, if you ask me.

    And for me to suggest that you have a visceral hatred of Palin because of your repeated highly personal attacks on her, well that's just inventing something, right? No, it's actually "smart and sensible" (your phrase). You are a hater masquerading as a concerned conservative, and I've called you out on it finally. So don't be so reflexive; if you are going to bear the heavy burden of pretending to be Joy Behar or Keith Olbermann, you are going to have to be less thin-skinned.

    You just can't accept that not everyone who is "smart and sensible" (your phrase) agrees with you because anyone who disagrees with you when it comes to Palin could not be smart and sensible.

    Your attitude will hand this election to Obama on a silver platter not because Palin must be the nominee, but because without Palin's supporters' enthusiasm no Republican can win. The thought of having to rely on the stupid, vapid dopes must be driving you crazy.

    There is an obvious truth here, and it is that people with attitudes like yours are the most destructive force in the Republican Party right now, and Obama's best friend. You are our biggest problem in 2012.

  42. Professor, your last posting to @J.E. Burke - brilliant. You might want to keep that one as seed for a blog post on "Republican's Worst Enemy".

    Excellent. Excellent.

    (Oh - btw: when do you anticipate your blog move?)

  43. J. E. Burke might want to view Stephen Bannon's - Annapolis, Harvard, Goldman Sachs - impassioned panegyric on Sarah Palin.

    US Stream

  44. Another thing ignorant Palinphobes might want to check out, before they shoot their mouths off, is the repository of all her speeches, commentaries, face book posts and other material much of it transcribed and all of it categorized. There are hundreds of pages of material, rich with hotlinks, references and sources. There are links to things Palin has read or thinks important. Don't be fooled by the video part, although there is a lot of video, dig in to the wealth of written material.

    Palin Policy and Issues

    One of the many points Bannon made at the Heritage Foundation in the above link is this:

    He is the official filmmaker of the Reagan Ranch. The East German Stasi had a file on Ronald Reagan in which they said he is the one American politician they feared the most (and weren't they right) because:

    "His words and deeds are one and the same"

    Bannon makes the case that this is also true of Sarah Palin.

  45. So, Professor, you're sticking to your "he just hates Palin" rejoinder. Kind of thin gruel since my opinion about Palin is shared by so many millions of Americans, including huge swaths of Republican voters, as shown by:

    -- The fact that in the last dozen or so polls of Republican voters' primary preferences, Palin tops out at 15 percent or so, despite her having close to 100 percent voter ID and having run as the veep candidate two years ago. And you'd be hard put to find more than a couple of those polls in the past year where she led the GOP field, despite having been a national candidate in 2008'

    -- The fact that over that two year period, her approval or favorability ratings have actually gone down!

    -- The fact that while the other more or less equally well known GOP figures -- Romney and Huckabee -- have run competitively in match-ups againsf Obama, Palin consistently loses by wide margins.

    Really, all the folks who simply do not want Palin for Oresudent do NOT hate her. Why is that so hard to grasp? I don't want Obama to be reelected (a significant reason why I do not want Palin as the nominee), but that does not mean i hate him.