Still some buzz about town following Wednesday's Republican rally at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than ten thousand folks apparently turned out to see Sarah Palin join a host of local GOP leaders including Governor Pawlenty, Congressman Kline, and Congressman Paulson. But the real co-star of the event--if anyone can ever really share top billing with Palin--was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The sight of Bachmann on stage with Palin during the rally and afterward on Fox's Sean Hannity was just the latest example of the ascendancy of her star on the conservative political scene. She has become a nationally known figure and has attracted a following far outside the bounds of Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. She's one of the leading voices of the conservative effort to push back against President Obama's initiatives and is regularly featured on national media outlets.
It's interesting (and amusing) to think about all the energy and effort put forth in recent years by her opponents to try to stop her rise and realize how amazingly futile it's all been. I can't think of another Minnesota politician who's been as oft pilloried by local media, be it the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, City Pages, MPR, TPT, local television and radio stations (just yesterday I heard a host on one of the sports talks stations--the "new" one--going off on how often Bachmann lied and distorted facts). Local left-wing web sites and blogs have made her their bête noir. The level of invective and outright hatred directed against her has been amazing. One particular blog called "Dump Bachmann" started up in 2004--two years BEFORE she was elected to Congress--and has done nothing but launch unrelenting attacks on everything about her ever since. How's that working out for you guys? Rarely in the course of human events has so much time been invested for so minimal a result.
Seriously. These people have spent a good part of their last six years of their lives stalking Bachmann's every move and deconstructing her every utterance and what have they got to show for it? Nothing! Oh, I'm sure if you asked them they would detail all the ways they've "exposed" her to the world and "unmasked" her real motives and "evil" intentions. But what has the result been? She was elected to the House in 2006, reelected in 2008, and--barring significant unforeseen circumstances--she's going to be reelected in 2010.
I know the hordes of Bachmann haters out there are all excited about Tarryl Clark's chances of beating her this year, but c'mon get real. By all indications this is going to be a Republican year. And there's a good chance it could be a very big Republican year. Do you really think that a GOP candidate who won in awful years for Republicans (2006 & 2008) is going to lose in a good year? Unlikely. And while the Democrats are going to raise a bunch of money both locally and nationally to retire that "crazy" Michele Bachmann, that campaign cash is going to probably be matched or even exceeded by what Bachmann will be able to pull in given her national prominence. And don't forget Bachmann's track record when it comes to winning elections both for the state legislature and Congress. She's pretty much had everything--including the kitchen sink--thrown at during those campaigns and has always emerged victorious.
It almost seems as if the old Nietzsche maxim "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger" applies in spades when it comes to Michele Bachmann's political career. Her enemies have not only epically failed in their efforts to destroy her, these efforts actually seem to have helped propel her forward.