NEW YORK – It is obvious that the left and the media establishment in the United States cannot fully understand the popular appeal of the two Republican tigresses in the news – first Sarah Palin, and now, as she consolidates her status as a Republican presidential front-runner, Michele Bachmann. What do they have that other candidates don’t – and that so many Americans seem to want?
Both Bachmann and Palin are regularly derided in the mainstream press. In Palin’s case, the dominant perception is that she is an intellectual lightweight: a clip of her unable to mention a single newspaper or news magazine that she reads regularly got millions of hits on YouTube during the last presidential election.
Bachmann, on the other hand, is portrayed as being slightly unhinged. Indeed, I can attest from personal experience that to debate her is to encounter someone who is absolutely certain of facts that must exist somewhere in a parallel universe.
But it would be a mistake simply to dismiss their appeal with no effort to comprehend its source. This is especially true of Bachmann. Palin has not managed to secure the support and mentorship of the Republican Party establishment, and will continue to showcase her odd appeal as a media personality. But Bachman, weirdly, might become President of the United States.