Last night on "Hardball" there aired an engrossing discussion (hey, it happens) among host Chris Matthews, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker and political commentator Ron Reagan about the recent and disappointing decline of trash talk and hardcore Obama-bashing by the GOP's more leading, shall we say, presidential candidates. Mitt Romney, for instance, has of late distanced himself from the "European-socialist" chant and thereby reduced himself to referencing -- get back -- those "good Democrats" (presumably he's including Mr. Obama) who love their country, and Michele Bachmann, bless her little McCarthyite soullessness, has now renounced all blather of the president of the United States' "anti-Americanism."
This development is, as hinted, most distressing. Its motivation is intrusively clear enough -- any primary candidate who persists in speechifying or interviewing like, well, a Michele Bachmann, risks losing as a general-election candidate the non-lobotomized vote -- nevertheless our sadness at the months-long prospect of, for example, a non-Bachmann Bachmann reaches the inexpressible.
Yet my immediate question is, Can the Minnesota congresswoman even get away with it? The New Republic's Ed Kilgore seems to think so:
The hard-core Christian Right/Tea Party folk who are Bachmann’s base in Iowa and elsewhere ... [are] fine with the more outlandish things she’s said over the years, but also understand it may be necessary to bring Americans along slowly to the recognition of the high-stakes holy war that Bachmann is waging on their behalf as a self-described "constitutional conservative."
Doubt, however, reigns at this site. The "hard-core Christian Right/Tea Party folk" aren't exactly the kind of folk who prudently weigh the intellectual merits of a Fabian campaign and proceed with strategic caution. They want blood; they want to see it, smell it, hear it, experience it -- and they want it all now. And if Michele fails to deliver it -- as she must, to be taken "seriously" -- what's left of her singularly appealing shtick?