I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again here now: the GOP will not find the right 2012 candidate if it doesn’t take time to consider its brand.

Republicans need, in a word, to be branded as competent – as the honest, intelligent option. They need to reconcile their ideal of the rugged individual with critical thinking.

Michele Bachmann – like Sarah Palin – is filling a leadership vacuum. But the GOP needs fewer rallies and more deep thinking. If Republicans want to win in 2012 – or 2016 for that matter – and change the direction of the country away from the progressive state, they need to bring discipline and sobriety to the political stage … not Michele Bachmann.