In his story on the results of the Iowa straw poll, the AP’s Thomas Beaumont gets it right in describing victor Michele Bachmann as “the tea party favorite with a following among evangelicals who make up the GOP base in Iowa and elsewhere.” The question, now, is what kind of juice Bachmann really has with the evangelical base. Tim (we hardly knew ye) Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race presumably strengthens Bachmann’s hand a bit, but I’d say it’s time to start thinking regionally.
Will Southern evangelicals follow where Midwestern evangelicals went before? As Pat Robertson discovered to his dismay in 1988, riding the evangelical wave in Iowa and Michigan didn’t carry him anywhere come Super Tuesday. If history is any guide, Bachmann-Perry in South Carolina will be the race to watch.
Meanwhile, Bachmann is going to come under increased scrutiny as the religious right’s current leading unRomney. It may be too much to expect a closer look at her church life, but to that end, let me call attention to an anonymous but evidently informed comment that came in to this blog yesterday:
Need to investigate timing of family departure from Salem Lutheran
Church and WELS. Check tuition credits from St. Croix Lutheran High
School for Bachmann children. If not a member of an association
congregation such as Salem that financially supports this school, then
tuition is much higher. Coincidence that last Bachmann daughter
graduated just weeks before family asked for official release from
Salem? I think church, synod, and high school got scammed and were
cheated. Family had not been attending worship services, and presumably
not contributing to, this congregation but still benefited from
discounted tuition for how many years?
As scams go, this kind of thing is not exactly major. But the Bachmanns have a robust record of playing the angles, and it would serve as yet another example.