While these were not serious policy issues that would set the country in a different course, her verbal missteps became highlights cable news and many of the Republican primary voters ate it up. Her poll numbers dropped dramatically from running second against Mitt Romney to polling only in single digits.
From the beginning her connection to Sarah Palin set her up for failure. The assumption of many voters and media outlets was as follows: Sarah Palin makes gaffes and portrays herself as uninformed, Michele Bachmann looks and sounds like Sarah Palin, therefore Michele Bachmann must also be uninformed. The more gaffes she made, the more that narrative was set in voters’ minds.
Michele Bachmann needed to rebrand herself away from the image Sarah Palin had set. She could have kept the strong faith part of her campaign without over-emphasizing it, which turned off many outside the Evangelical right. Having God speak to you and being submissive to your husband may be what you believe, but it’s not a way to win the moderate voters in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Madison. Likewise, she needed to keep her opposition to the Obama agenda while not overdoing the rhetoric. Fiery language may sit well with many on your base but there’s very little chance of winning a primary when your message is written for 30% to 40% of the electorate.
Bachmann should have taken the time to become a policy wonk on several key issues outside the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” which she authored. She could have very easily been a thought provoking politician, a Ron Paul alternative without the exotic ideas of heroin legalization and privatizing marriage from which many Middle Americans recoil sharply.
Bachmann, who is a very talented and lively speaker could have been the perfect fusion of the Sarah Palin populism, the Christian right, and Ron Paul statesmanship that could have secured her the GOP nomination.
Michele Bachmann’s bid for the presidency of the United States is all but finished. Her campaign is just a shallow fragment of what it was just two short months ago, she’s polling in single digits in every early primary state save Iowa, the state in which she was born. For Bachmann, a path to the White House may have been more attainable had she taken the career advice of the Christina Aguilera instead of following blindly in the footsteps of Sarah Palin.