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September 27, 2006

A Bachmann victory spells doom for the Independence Party?

That's the thesis of a new piece up at The Bachmann Record. Excerpts:

Voters who want to protect the future of Minnesota’s Independence Party should do everything they can to make sure that Michele Bachmann is not elected to Congress.

Here’s why: if Michele Bachmann is elected to Congress this fall, she can keep that seat as long as she wants to, and the Independence Party is through as a political force in the 6th District—and possibly in other districts as well.

If Patty Wetterling wins this year and performs poorly in Congress during the next two years, she will not be re-elected. The support she would enjoy in Republican-trending 6th District would be inherently weaker than the support that Bachmann would enjoy. Wetterling would be vulnerable in the next election two years from now, because the number of people in the 6th District that would constitute her “liberal base? is comparatively small. If Wetterling wins, the Independence Party stays alive in the 6th District and gets another chance to influence policy there over the next two years and to play “kingmaker? at the next election.

[...]

If an IP candidate inadvertently helps Bachmann get into office (by shaving Wetterling vote totals) they are actually diminishing their own influence in the district—since Bachmann is a special-interest politician who will pay them no heed and since her political position, once elected, will be virtually unassailable.

Seems like a sound theory to me. You can't argue with the fact that Michele Bachmann would be much more formidable as an incumbent, barring any catastrophic gaffes (and you never know with Michele!), than would Patty Wetterling. We might have a chance to defeat her in '08; after that it seems like it would be smooth sailing, should Bachmann choose to keep her seat.

Conventional wisdom is that the Sixth is fertile ground for the Independence Party and independent candidates in general, based on strong vote totals for Jesse Ventura in the Sixth in 1998.

Since The Bachmann Record is not a blog, feel free to use this space as a discussion thread.

September 23, 2006

Ummm...

Before I go to bed, I want to comment on a bizarre comment by John Binkowski in tonight's Almanac debate. The Star Trib article on the debate contains this quote:

Binkowski, Eskola said, is not known well enough to even have a stereotype.

Binkowski: "I think that's great. ... I'm trying to run a campaign that's going to represent younger folks in this country. I'm 27. People between the ages of 18 and 25 haven't turned out to vote in percentages greater than single digits since 1992. I think that that's a product of seeing legislation and representation in Washington that doesn't represent them."

I don't know where he's getting his statistics, but this claim is easily disproven. For instance, in 2000, nationwide voter turnout for voters between 18 and 24 was 36.1%. I don't think it's ever been in the "single digits." In the 1998 midterm elections, the 18-24 nationwide turnout was 17%.

Of course, these are terrible statistics, and Binkowski's point is sound. But candidates shouldn't be in the business of making up statistics and overexaggerating them to make their point.

Some would probably take issue with this statement from Michele Bachmann:

"Almanac" host Eric Eskola asked each candidate to address stereotypes. Bachmann, he said, is perceived as "focusing on social issues like gay marriage and as a lightning rod for division and disunity -- pulling people apart, not bringing them together."

Bachmann: "... I've been in the state Senate for six years, probably the strongest fiscal conservative that there was in the Minnesota State Senate.

Why the self-aggrandizement? I guess it depends on your definition of "fiscal conservatism," but I assume Bachmann is referring to the Taxpayers' League, no-new-taxes type of "fiscal conservatism" (rather than the "use sane and responsible measures to balance the budget" type). Even by that measure, it would be hard to claim that she is the "strongest" in a State Senate filled with David Strom wannabes. Take a look at the 2006 Taxpayers League scorecard; there are a good handful of senators with extremely high ratings and even a couple of freshmen senators who have lifetime ratings of 100, higher than Bachmann's 94.

And let's not forget, this was the "fiscal conservative" who graciously allowed the taxpayers to pay her home cable bill.