Well that did not take long.
The inside-the-beltway back biters and media hacks are beginning a line of attack that should be familiar to any outsider rising star in the GOP: they are attacking Michele Bachmann's ability to play the Washington game.
Washington, DC insiders have long despised anyone unwilling to play their games. They especially hate anyone who is able to rise to political stardom without their blessing. With Michele Bachmann skyrocketing from single digits to a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney in the obsessively watched Des Moines Register poll
released on Saturday, the backbiting has begun.
Democrats and anonymous Republicans attack Bachmann in a Politico article today, complaining she has not had her name etched into legislation during her time in the House, forgetting that until this year she has been in the minority party, where virtually no one gets their legislation passed.
It's no surprise that anonymous Republicans are quoted in the article. Bachmann's popularity rubs many of them the wrong way, as they think they should be the ones with adoring fans and endless requests for media interviews. Says one (jealous) Republican:
“There’s not been one single legislative accomplishment she’s had,” said a GOP lawmaker who serves with Bachmann on the Financial Services Committee. “She shows up, but is that the foundation of her campaign opposition? She’s not bringing any achievements, she hasn’t proactively legislated or proactively blocked any bills.”
Her communications director, Doug Sachtleben, hits back pretty effectively on that line of attack:
Sachtleben added: “Perhaps her most important achievement in terms of votes cast was her unwavering consistency in voting against TARP, stimulus, cap and trade, Obamacare and the rest of the big-spending, job-destroying, deficit-busting bills that were put forth by the Democrat majority.”
To primary voters, her standing on the right side of important issues will matter a heck of a lot more than her ability to name post offices or back slap her way past Nancy Pelosi to pass some watered down version of good legislation — if not outright bad legislation that is often the product of DC's deal making culture.
The fact that Bachmann hasn't been complicit in Washington's culture of (bad) deal making makes her all the more appealing to many activists in the Hawkeye state.
Every Republican primary voter's favorite bumbling Democrat, Congressman Barney Frank, even gets a hit in the article.
“I have never regarded her as very thoughtful,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in an interview. Frank chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2006 to 2010. “Frankly, as a member of the committee, she did not seem to be a major factor, even with the Republicans.”
The fact that Barney Frank doesn't think much of her will only up her political mojo with GOP primary voters, as if anyone gives a fat fizzle about what Barney Frank thinks.
Ironically, this kind of hatchet job on Bachmann is only going to help her as the campaign ramps up. Americans have grown to loathe the political class in Washington, and the fact that Bachmann isn't a part of the swamp of Congressional deal makers will only up her ante with the wider public as well.
What astounds us is for as smart as beltway insiders think they are, they are tone deaf to what matters to voters. When Bachmann gets attacked by Barney Frank or Republicans without the spine to go on the record, all it does it boost her own primary power. Attacking Bachmann with snide remarks to beltway reporters has never succeeded in denting Bachmann's brand. It's done just the opposite.
Michele Bachmann is many things, but one of those is most certainly not stupid. Ask anyone who has dared take her on and ask them to show you their political scars. She is a smart and cunning political operator who will not be rolled by the insiders club in Washington.
Bachmann has many questions to answer about her record. Her lack of executive decision-making experience is fair game. But if her political enemies thinking anonymously dishing dirt about her to beltway reporters will have any effect but to endear activists to her, they are sorely mistaken.