The Campaign Spot

CNN: Michele Bachmann to Form Presidential Exploratory Committee

Make room, gentlemen.


Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time. But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates.”She’s been telling everyone early summer,” the source told CNN regarding Bachmann’s planned June filing and announcement. But the source said that nothing is static.

Tonight on MSNBC, Chris Matthews will be speaking in tongues.

UPDATE: As discussed in the Three Martini Lunch, this is good news for a lot of folks beyond Michele Bachmann fans.

Right now, the Republican field has several big names and key figures whose ultimate decision on a campaign is still unresolved, most notably Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitch Daniels. (Anyone doubt Mitt Romney is running?) I’m not eager for the intensity of the presidential campaign to start as early as it did in 2007, and I have great sympathy for potential candidates as they contemplate a difficult, life-changing decision, often having to consider the campaign’s impact on their families.

But in the end, the party is looking for a nominee, and Republican voters can’t really begin the process of evaluating candidates without knowing who’s serious and who’s just enjoying seeing their name mentioned. I think if a candidate has no intention of running, they should say so early — avoid the Mario Cuomo Hamlet (“To be or not to be”) routines, and if they aren’t fully committed to a campaign, they shouldn’t bother. Of course political figures have great incentives to keep their names out there as potential candidates — more media attention, more speaking invitations, more interest in books, and (sometimes) higher book sales. But any potential president has to think of bigger causes than their own egos or bottom lines.

As mentioned above, an announcement of “after great consideration and prayer, I have decided to not run for president” from Palin, Huckabee, or Daniels would force a lot of Republicans to reevaluate their choices. Probably in that order, although each figure’s base of support is different; Daniels has more fans in the press, Huckabee among evangelicals, and Palin among the Tea Party/grassroots.

Bachmann’s in; the surprising entry of a fairly new face, with a high profile in the media, may prompt other potential candidates to focus their thinking. With similar pugnacious styles and equally at home on television, it would seem that Palin and Bachmann appeal to the same base; the center of the Venn diagram of Palin supporters and Bachmann supporters must be pretty large. Palin has campaigned for Bachmann and the two seem friendly. Is the GOP primary big enough for the both of them? It’s hard to picture either strong-willed woman deferring to the other; yet it’s also hard to imagine either one strongly criticizing the other, either. Could they end up splitting their natural constituency and create an opening for some other candidate?

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