Earlier this week, Michelle Bachmann announced that she would not be seeking reelection for her congressional seat. The news was met by catcalls and derision from the Left. Yet, their top candidate, who lost to Bachmann last November by 4200 votes, announced that he would not seek election to that seat. For many on the Right, there was sadness. I, for one, am overjoyed.
I remember when Michelle Bachmann won her first election to Congress in 2006. That was a very difficult midterm election for the GOP and Michelle Bachmann was a very bright light in an otherwise dismal midterm election. I was happy she won that year. However, in the six years since that victory, I do not recognize that person who won in 2006.
One of the problems in today’s conservative movement is there seems to be a greater premium on celebrity than gravitas. It is a trap that many good people cannot seem to avoid. Celebrity brings fame and money; it also brings greater scrutiny. For Bachmann, celebrity put her on the national stage with Sarah Palin in 2008. In 2010, celebrity also caused her to try to get in front of the nascent TEA Party movement. In 2012, celebrity made her believe she could win the GOP nomination for president. It was this run for president that convinced me that her loss would be a good thing for the conservative movement.
For the past four years, I watched Michelle Bachmann on the national stage. It also came with a huge price tag. Bachmann would raise millions for her congressional campaigns; claiming she was a target of the Left. Unfortunately, many of these dollars could have gone to other conservative candidates who struggled to raise any money to win winnable races. Many of these races were lost. After the 2010 midterm election, Bachmann became the head of the newly formed TEA Party Caucus. Since becoming the head of the caucus, I am not aware of any meetings held by Bachmann. In 2011, she mounted a campaign for president that accomplished four things: 1) she effectively took out fellow Minnesotan and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty; the only candidate outside of Romney to have a national organization and money. 2) she effectively protected Mitt Romney’s flank from any conservative candidate. 3) she failed to pay her staff; offering them their back pay provided they sign a nondisclosure form from speaking about the campaign, and 4) she effectively became the poster child for breaking campaign laws. Yet, she continues to exhibit political chutzpah by claiming her problems were created by her political enemies. These four accomplishments and results have all the character traits of an opportunist.
Michelle Bachmann, like Cassius in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, has a lean and hungry look. However, what makes Bachmann, dangerous is that she does not think before she speaks. To her credit, she makes incredible soundbites for media consumption. However, when pressed, Bachmann comes off as lost and confused. This brings us to the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s assistant Huma Abedin. There was speculation, most of it well reasoned, that Huma Abedin had family members involved in radical Islamic groups. Bachmann saw an opportunity to press the matter publicly. However, when she received blowback from John McCain and members of the media, she became the controversy; not Abedin. Any momentum to investigate the charges were gone.
The demise of Michelle Bachmann has served two purposes. The first is her congressional district will elect a better person to take her place. The other is the withdrawal of Bachmann’s 2012, DFL opponent. This tells us two things: the Democrats know they have little chance of winning the district except if Bachman were running and they have little anticipation to sweep the 2014 midterm elections. The Left has brilliantly played the Michelle Bachmann card. They raise lots of money by scaring their rank-and-file with the belief that the GOP has been co-opted by the Michelle Bachmann crowd. They also know that conservatives will instinctively react in defense of one of their celebrities. I have long considered Michelle Bachmann to be a “show horse” and it appears the conservative movement has been a participant in a “dog and pony” show. It is time for Michelle Bachmann to retire to her federally subsidized Wisconsin farm. Happy trails, indeed.