Failing is Leading

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DES MOINES – I’m going on MSNBC’s The Last Word a bit later to talk about Michele Bachmann’s debate performance last night. The specific focus: Tim Pawlenty’s charge that she’d only ever failed to pass bills, not browbeaten Democrats and won results like he had.

Pawlenty got that message across as well as he could have. The problem, I think, is that it’s not intuitive for a lot of Republican voters. I asked Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa., who is a friend of Bachmann but hasn’t officially endorsed her, if Pawlenty’s argument made sense to Iowa caucus-goers.

“It’s going to be compelling to some people,” he said. “Remember, though, that for four of the years she’s been here, Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House. For the last couple of months, she’s been running for president. You tell me: What bills could she have passed when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker?”

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., who’s running a less successful presidential campaign than Bachmann at the moment, basically agreed with Bachmann’s version of the story. When she takes credit for “leading the fight against TARP,” she’s not wrong.

“As a freshman member of Congress, she maximized her influence,” he said.