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Bachmann, Palin, and GOP Enthusiasm

A rising tide lifts all boats.

8:57 AM, Apr 8, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Bachmann, Palin, and GOP Enthusiasm

The face of things to come?

Michele Bachmann's rally with Sarah Palin at the Minneapolis convention center yesterday was a sight to see. Politico estimates that up to 11,000 people may have attended. Bachmann and Palin know how to work a crowd. Their message was that only Republican victories in 2010 and 2012 can undo the damage Obama and the Democratic majorities have done to the American economy and American security. Judging by the raucous applause, the audience agreed with them. Here's an interview with Bachmann from before the rally.

Earlier this week, I wrote that Palin is assuming a new role as a conservative vanguard, a charismatic leader who summons the masses to battle. That is clearly what she was up to in Minnesota. The crowd, the rhetoric, the energy all confirmed that the balance of enthusiasm favors the GOP. The Republicans hold a small lead in the congressional generic ballot. The passage of health care reform may have helped Democratic fundraising, but it has done nothing to change the public perception of the bill or of the Obama administration. Dick Morris points out that

Rasmussen has the Republicans ahead by 49-37 on the economy and 53-37 on health care. His likely voter poll shows GOP leads on every major issue area: national security (49-37), Iraq (47-39), Education (43-30), Immigration (47-34), Social Security (48-36), and Taxes (52-34).

When Republicans are winning issues like education, healthy care, and social security – normally solidly Democratic issues – a sweep of unimaginable proportions is in the offing.

In a normal year, a conservative as controversial as Michele Bachmann would be threatened. But 2010 is not a normal year. Not even close. Let's just say it's extremely unlikely that Bachmann could lose in this sort of political environment. And the sort of candidates likely to win elsewhere in the country -- the unknowns, the grassroots populists, the anti-establishment figures, the Tea Party-loving conservatives -- will resemble Michele Bachmann much more than, say, Jim Leach. If you think Palin and Bachmann drive liberals crazy now, just wait until the 112th Congress convenes in January 2011, when there will be dozens of Palins and Bachmanns. The reaction will be like a David Lynch movie. Heads will explode.

Update, April 9, 12:22 p.m. A couple of perspicacious readers have pointed out that I've mixed up my Davids. The correct reference is to David Croenberg's Scanners, not any movie by David Lynch. I'll watch a few hours of IFC over the weekend to repent.

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