Rightbloggers Herald the Rise of Our Next President, Michele Bachmann. (Or Some Guy Who Isn't Running.)
We're close to that now. Last Monday several GOP contenders for the big job debated in New Hampshire, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's relatively lulu-free performance appears to have pushed her into second place in the estimation of likely Republican voters.
The top guy so far is company man Mitt Romney, but the rise of Bachmann gave rightbloggers hope for something less vanilla.
Though there were some grumbles -- "As a conservative, I am a bit dismayed at the candidates this year (unless Christie decides to run)" -- rightbloggers were generally pleased with the team's performance.
"My general impression is that all of the candidates did pretty well," said Power Line's John Hinderaker. "The overall impression, I think, was of a united front, determined to make Barack Obama a one-term president... it was a pretty good night for the cause of conservatism and constitutional government." "Everybody on the stage is better the current president," said John Stansbury of Wizbang. "All in all, a great start to campaign 2012," said Hugh Hewitt.
"...the GOP debate in New Hampshire was a big success in two ways," said Peggy Noonan. "First, there was no obvious candidate from Crazytown, which was a boon to the party's reputation and brand, and which may help it more easily shake itself out and pick an electable candidate."
This absence of Crazytown extends, it would seem, to Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and Michelle Bachmann. Bachmann was particularly lauded because, despite her long history of saying outlandish things -- which, as shown by her recent comments on intelligent design ("What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide"), is ongoing -- at Monday's debate she said outlandish things, but in simple, forthright sentences, which immediately elevated her in conservatives' estimation.
Bachmann "nailed her 'right to life' answer," said John Ellis at Business Insider. "That answer ('I stand for life') will resonate all across the Right To Life movement in Iowa... she emerged tonight as a significant challenge for Sarah Palin. Ms. Bachmann is sharper intellectually than Ms. Palin and she's equally gutty." (That last part might contain a typo.)
Who's crazy now?
"Bachmann has risen to be the more formidable Romney alternative," said National Review's Andrew Cline. "Her answers are well-spoken and to the point."
"Michele Bachmann was quite a hit," said The Lonely Conservative. "Though she's portrayed in the media as a lightweight," said Philip Klein, "she came across polished, knowledgeable and quite comfortable during the debate." Klein admitted he was "a bit confused" by Bachmann's gay marriage answer, in which she indicated that she'd support a Constitutional amendment outlawing it while also saying that "I don't see that it's the role of a president to go into states and interfere with their state laws." But at least it wasn't Crazytown.
"From the start, Bachmann stole the debate spotlight," said Neon Tommy, "and subsequently refused to relinquish it." (We assume he didn't mean it like it sounds.) "Bachmann Announces for President and Outshines the Boys," said Uncoverage. "...a great story, great conservative cred and personal appeal." "Bachmann ROCKED the debate (the Guardian agrees)," said Butch Porter, "and blew everyone away and managed to do it without looking like a complete LOON."
"Michele Bachamann was a big winner last night," said Yid with Lid. "Her job was to prove that she wasn't the nut job she is portrayed as by the liberal media" -- though he did admit that Bachmann was "perhaps a bit too enthusiastic the times she tried to get the crowd to cheer along with her."
The candidates mostly hammered Obama on the economy rather than one another. Still, there was some talk about the gay marriage amendment -- Tim Pawlenty also advocated it -- and of the threat of sharia law being applied in the United States, which worried Herman Cain ("I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts... There have been instances in New Jersey..."). A humorous, 24-second Democratic National Committee video excerpted these moments; rightbloggers found that dirty pool.