Sarah Palin is in Minnesota today, stumping for Michele Bachmann and raising money for the Minnesota GOP. The two are appearing in a series of events that seem well calibrated to make the most of Palin’s visit.
The day started with a rally at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The party gave out something like 11,000 free tickets, so the audience was large, enthusiastic, and mostly female. The Minneapolis Star Tribune headlines “Roars of approval for Palin, Bachmann”:
Two of the Republican Party’s most potent and polarizing superstars hit the stage in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon and basked in the adulation of thousands of supporters. …
Palin and Bachmann hit the stage about 2:45 p.m to an explosive roar of approval and stood before a massive American flag, facing a sea of waving blue Bachmann campaign signs.
Politico headlines, “Palin, Bachmann enthrall Minn. rally”:
Two of the conservative movement’s biggest stars, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), lavished praise on each other Wednesday at a boisterous rally held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Before a predominantly female crowd of more than 11,000 fans, the two high-profile Republicans ripped President Obama at an event that doubled as a fundraiser for Bachmann’s re-election campaign.
The Star Tribune’s story is surprisingly non-snarky, and its video captures the event well. Some would say that the highlight was Bachmann’s yellow jacket. It is noteworthy, I think, that the headliners were preceded and introduced by Governor Tim Pawlenty and Representatives John Kline and Erik Paulsen, who are Minnesota’s principal Republican office-holders. There is virtually no daylight between “controversial” conservatives like Palin and Bachmann and “boring, mainstream” Republicans like Kline and Paulsen. (Let’s leave for another day which category Pawlenty falls into.) Sean Hannity was there, too, and conducted an interview that is being broadcast on his show as I write.
Following that public event, there were a series of smaller, private events intended to raise money for Bachmann’s campaign. No doubt they succeeded spectacularly. It’s a good thing, since Michele will face a lavishly funded left-wing opponent in the fall. The overflow cash went to the Minnesota GOP–another good thing.
To say that the Palin-Bachmann alliance is natural is an understatement. The two women have a great deal in common, starting with the fact that they are seriously attractive. I don’t know Sarah Palin personally, but Michele lights up any room she enters, and I suspect Palin is similar. They are both mothers of five children (Bachmann had a couple dozen foster children as well). Both are underestimated, for reasons that elude me. Many Minnesotans seem to assume that Bachmann is a housewife who entered politics because she was obsessed with the social issues; in fact, she is a very smart tax litigator and a politician with rare skills and unexcelled work ethic who has never lost an election. And never will, I’d guess.
Today was a big day for Minnesota Republicans, and another sign that all of the political energy these days is on the right.