From the instant his fruitful eight-year reign ended, Republicans have pined for the next Ronald Reagan. To date, no man has succeeded in filling the conservative standard-bearer's legendary boots. Well, maybe it's time to swap boots for pumps. Could he be a she?
Sarah Palin, you say? Perhaps, but there's actually another outspoken, attractive, fearlessly conservative Tea Party favorite firing up the center-right grass roots: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican.
Forget a Senate run. The buzz inside the Beltway is that Mrs. Bachmann may be looking to add a woman's touch to the Oval Office (beyond just sprucing up its temporary occupant's eyesore decor). Her spokesman, Doug Sachtleben, has confirmed to media that the congresswoman is considering a potential presidential run, saying: "Nothing's off the table."
Mrs. Bachmann also hinted at the possibility, recently telling MinnPost.com: "We're going to have a deep bench for 2012, I have no doubt, and I think what people are asking for is a bold, strong, constitutional conservative."
Mrs. Bachmann is all that and more. Let's put aside for a moment the delightful prospect that the mere chance of a President Bachmann would be worth the price of admission if only to watch Chris Matthews' punkin burst about the set of his ratings-scraping MSNBC sideshow. The truth is that a Bachmann presidency could be just the shot in the arm Republicans - and our worse-for-the-wear republic - desperately need.
Mrs. Bachmann has shown unwavering commitment to the same conservative precepts - be they fiscal, national defense or social - held near and dear by the Gipper himself. Precepts that, when properly applied, took us from a deep Carter recession - a tiny scale model of the Obama recession - to abiding prosperity. Abiding, that is, until the Reagan Revolution dust settled and godless, big-government "progressives" wormed their way back into leadership.
Mrs. Bachmann has been a stalwart in advocating on behalf of constitutional conservatism. She's chairman of the HouseTea Party Caucus and has put her money where her mouth is, voting consistently in Congress to limit the size and scope of government, fortify national security and protect life, liberty and the natural family. National Journal rated Mrs. Bachmann among the most conservative members of Congress in 2009.
Moreover, as with Reagan, it's principle over popularity with the feminine firebrand. She's evidently indifferent to what the moonbat media and the larger loony left think about her. This is an indispensable quality in a leader "We the People" can get behind. She's a maverick's maverick, not the media's.
Still, Mrs. Bachmann is not afraid to shake things up in her own Republican Party. What she lacks in physical stature, she makes up for in - to borrow one of the mainstream media's favorite terms - gravitas. If it takes a step stool to kick a moderate Republican in name only's tail into line, the counterestablishment lawmaker will climb it and kick it.
True, a House member hasn't been elected president since James Garfield, and a woman never has. But as Barack Obama, our first black president, might tell you: We live in an age of firsts.
And speaking of Mr. Obama: In the unlikely event that you could untether him from his tele-prompter binky long enough to debate Mrs. Bachmann, I'd bet my share of the stimulus money that she'd mop the floor with him.
Will she run? Could she win? It remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure: The fireworks leading up to the 2012 presidential election will be something to behold. Based on her penchant for telling it like it is, her existing widespread Tea Party support and her fast-growing national popularity, if this intelligent, principled, bomb-dropping bombshell were to run, I suspect her campaign might just catch fire.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).