Is winning the pay-to-play Ames Straw Poll worth anything at all?
That has to be a question GOP Rep. Michele Bachman is asking tonight as she finds herself a target of barbs from everyone from leading GOP political consultants, like Mike Murphy, to the bible of mainstream Republicans, The Wall Street Journal.
If the GOP aristocracy gets its way, Bachmann will cede her flavor-of-the-month status to the sixth-place finisher in the straw poll, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who shunned the unscientific vote in Iowa and instead announced his candidacy in a bigger Southern State (not that it mattered one bit based on his reception by Republicans in Iowa the past two days).
"I think Michele Bachmann is totally unelectable. ... I think Rick Perry is going to take her out," said Murphy, a former advisor to GOP heavyweights like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Murphy warned on MSNBC today of "a McGovern moment" that "gives (President) Obama the election" by nominating a hardcore social conservative, like Bachmann, who plays to Tea Party and evangelical base Republicans -- the so-called T-vangelicals.
"As a pragmatic right wing consultant type who wants to win the election, I am concerned," Murphy said.
The Wall Street Journal, which turned on the Tea Party when it's members in Congress, including Bachmann, were willing to default on the federal debt rather than reach a deal with Obama, hit the Minnesota lawmaker over her lack of experience.
"Americans are already living with the consequences of electing a President who sounded good but had achieved little as a legislator and had no executive experience. Mrs. Bachmann will have to persuade voters she isn't the conservative version of Mr. Obama," The Wall Street Journal opined today.
Add GOP talk show host Joe Scarborough, Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos and right-wing blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com to a growing list of conservatives who fear Bachmann cannot win.
At this rate Obama and the Democrats can sit back and just watch the GOP hierarchy duke it out with the rank-and-file T-vangelicals while focusing on Romney, who still looks to be the likely GOP nominee once the family feud is decided.
As for the Ames Straw Poll, only one candidate to win the hugely unscientific vote since its inception in 1979, has gone on to win the presidency: George W. Bush. So history, rather than Republican hysteria, may prove to be Bachmann's demise.