One of the main differences between Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin is their attitude toward “handlers” and willingness to stick to the script. Sarah Palin went rogue on John McCain in a campaign that wasn’t really hers, against staff whom she hadn’t hired. But I believe she’d do the same in her own campaign, even with hand-picked advisers she chose and trusted. She is always going to say what she wants and not what she’s told. For better or worse, both for her and the country, she will never be a disciplined candidate.
But Michele Bachmann is content to parrot the answers she’s been given, over and over and over again, until her questioner gives up. She knows that she believes things that sound odd or outrageous to the rest of us. Her problem is that she’s not sure where that line is drawn, since all of the stray stuff floating around her head seems perfectly normal to her. Her staff knows both what she believes and what most of us believe, so they are able to draw those distinctions for her. And once they choreograph her steps, she’s as careful as a dog avoiding the electric fence in his yard.
That doesn’t mean she won’t ever say stuff that sounds off to most Americans. Sometimes she will need to reassure the base that she’s still their girl. But when she does it will be scripted, not spontaneous. Once the signal is sent, they can walk it back a little, and that explanation too will be planned in advance.
She’s way more interested in going to the White House than in going rogue.