EDITORIAL: Why Did Bachmann and Paul Win in Iowa?

EDITORIAL:  Why Did Bachmann and Paul Win in Iowa?

The Iowa Straw Poll, like the famed Iowa Caucases, has become increasingly more important in recent years, due to the perception of momentum a good showing there allows the top two or three candidates moving forward.  Since fundraising early on is so crucial to Presidential campaigns, the Iowa Straw Poll has begun to be known as a make or break event this year for several candidates.  

For example, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was catapulted into the national limelight as a top tier Republican candidate following his first place showing in the Iowa Straw Poll four years ago.  Since Iowa is a socially conservative state, the staunchly pro-life candidates usually do well there, though this year no doubt focused on the state of the national economy.

Two members of Congress--Congresswoman Michele Bachman of nearby Minnesota and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas--came out way on top this year in the straw poll, with about 29 and 28 percent respectively. The strength of their showing will give them added credibility and funds for their campaigns.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (with a very distant third place finish) look like their campaigns are on life support following the votes of nearly 17,000 Republican activists in the Ames, Iowa contest.

Texas Governor Rick Perry just announced his candidacy for Presidency, so he wasn't involved in this year's straw poll, nor was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has yet to announce her intentions.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney also made a point to stay out of this year's Iowa Straw Poll.

So why did Iowa Republican activists go for Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul?

In a word, these two candidates bond with their supporters--a key factor in any long march to the White House.

Congressman Paul's legions of supporters nationally will follow the courtly Texan anywhere.  They see in their man a noble truthteller, who is honest and unbought by the Republican Party establishment in Washington, D.C. or New York City.  In addition, they like Paul's ideas on the economy, which he has been honing for many years now, following the Austrian School of economics.

Ron Paul's economic beliefs mesh well with the times, given his historic aversion to tallying up more national indebtedness.  Paul's believers may rightly believe that the man and his message have finally hit the right time in American history.  They want 2012 to be the year when the establishment's applecart is finally upended.

Interestingly, Congresswoman Michele Bachman's claim to fame recently is that, like Paul, she refused to vote for the debt increase bill the two Houses of Congress finally hammered out with President Obama a couple of weeks ago.  While Bachmann may not have the years of study about America's spending as Paul does, she leaves no doubt that she's serious about stopping runaway spending in D.C.

Bachmann is telegenic, gives a Reaganesque stump speech, both serious and inspirational, invoking patriotism in her remarks about America's troops serving abroad.  But more than most Republican candidates can do, Bachmann also makes interesting connections between her life's story as a child raised by a single mother with many others out there across the country.

Both of these Iowa Straw Poll winners connect better than any other candidates on the GOP side this year.  Paul connects with the voters' head, while Bachmann strikes chords with the voters' heart.  Though Mitt Romney may still be considered the frontrunner by the national media, Bachmann and Paul have just shown that their support is deep.  Bigtime.

If these two catch fire in other states soon, the establishment GOP may be in trouble.  And that's good news for the country.



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