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Reaction: Bachmann is emblematic of today’s politics

What will we … and by “we,” I mean the “lamestream” media … do without her? Here’s some of the reaction to Our Favorite Congresswoman’s departure announcement:

For CBS News, Lucy Madison writes: “Bachmann said her decision ‘was not in any way influenced by’ concerns about her re-election prospects, nor by the ‘recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff.’ Still, both would have arguably been a concern for her in any attempt to reclaim her seat for another term. … She is infamous for her tendency to make outrageous and/or factually incorrect statements, as well as for her generally unapologetic attitude about having done so. … During her presidential bid, it was not immediately clear what impact, if any, her controversial rhetoric and sometimes unusual political views would have on her future in Congress. But even with plenty of money in the bank — according to FEC filings, Bachmann had more than $1.8 million cash on hand as of April 15 — the next 17 months would likely have been an uphill battle.”

In The New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal says: “At a time when moderate Republicans are worrying about their party’s rightward momentum, there’s good news for them and bad news for Democrats and political reporters. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party Republican from Minnesota who was regarded as a presidential contender for a nano second in 2012, announced … that she would not seek a fifth term in the House of Representatives. Presumably, she will drift off into the limbo of the forgotten but not gone — with a new job as a Fox News commentator, perhaps, or with a cozy spot on a corporate board. … Democrats are going to miss Michele Bachmann — and not only because her retirement is likely to make it harder for them to take her district, unless the Republicans there are blind enough to nominate another fringe politician to replace her. Ms. Bachmann was a reliable source of pronouncements and actions that gave fodder to Democratic candidates and political consultants anxious to portray the Republicans as out of touch and slightly addled.”

In The Washington Post, Jamelle Bouie says: “It’s fitting that on the day Michele Bachmann announced her retirement from Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opted to defend his tenure with an ad that borrows liberally from Bachmann’s style of politics. In a spot that includes footage of IRS official Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth Amendment, McConnell ties the scandal at the IRS to President Obama, and compares it to Richard Nixon’s effort to suppress dissent and intimidate opponents with tax investigations. The ad features a lengthy voice-over from McConnell, who describes the Obama administration in stark, almost conspiratorial terms. … The broader point is this: Bachmann has left Congress, but her style of politics — steeped in paranoia and resentment — has become the norm for the Republican Party. Prominent figures in the party — ranging from McConnell to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — are happy to stoke conspiracies if it means gaining a political advantage over Obama and the Democratic Party. The difference between Bachmann and the rest of the Republican Party wasn’t one of kind, it was just one of degree.”

In TIME, Alex Altman writes: “But by the time Bachmann announced early Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth Congressional term in 2014, she had also become something of a punchline. She was a gifted provocateur but an indifferent legislator. Her penchant for incendiary rhetoric — which often shaded into outright misinformation — incensed Democrats and alienated many fellow Republicans. A former tax lawyer first elected in 2006, Bachmann, 57, practiced politics as infotainment, using her perch in Congress to bludgeon her opponents with a freewheeling style that made her a favorite of the Tea Party grassroots. … Bachmann attacked her targets without much care for accuracy; at times her penchant for hyperbole helped keep the political fact-checking industry afloat. (Her file at PolitiFact, which rated just 15% of Bachmann’s statements it assessed to be true or mostly true, is a trip through the fever swamps of conservative paranoia. The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler even called her, ‘A Fact Checker’s Dream.’)”

The GleanWhat Glenn Kessler goes on to say is … “The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is not seeking reelection will leave the Capitol a much less interesting place to fact check. As one of our colleagues put it, “The entire fact checking industry may have to hold a national day of mourning.” Bachmann is not just fast and loose with the facts; she is consistently and unapologetically so. No other lawmaker earned as high a percentage of Four-Pinocchio ratings as Bachmann — and she earned an average of more than Three Pinocchios as a presidential candidate. Thus she provided a window into the no-holds-barred politics that has come to characterize modern-day Washington.”

For the Daily Beast, John Avlon writes: “[T]he congresswoman who represented the worst of modern American politics more than she ever tried to represent her Minnesota constituents has announced that she will not run for reelection. Michele Bachmann is done. … She wants the world to know that ‘this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff. It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign’. In a word: bull[bleep]. The Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into her presidential campaign that was first disclosed by The Daily Beast is due to release its initial report soon. If it looked like Bachmann would be vindicated, she would have persisted in running for a congressional seat that had been gerrymandered to increase … her chances of representing a state that looks primed to easily reelect Al Franken to the Senate. This decision smacks of lawyer’s counsel — get out now before the boom comes down, and perhaps people will listen to your final signoff.”

Also at The Beast, Michael Tomasky has this to say: “To me, the most important thing about what Bachmann represents is the profoundly undemocratic impulse of adopting a world view that took her own personal life experience and attempted to impose its lesson on the rest of us. This all seemed apparent to me in everything she did, but it really came through clear as a bell in Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker profile of her in 2012. … I think it’s probably fair to conclude in her case that she wasn’t in politics to build senior centers or alter Medicare. She was in politics to give people fathers in Jesus, to give them her experience. This might sound nice to a lot of people, but it’s deeply anti-American; it’s the nature of a democratic society that we respect one another’s different experiences, and Jesus has nothing to do with being a good American. But you can’t convince Bachmann and people like her of that.”

The right seems to still be mulling a full-throated defense of Ms. Bachmann’s fight for conservative values. At Power Line, John Hinderaker only writes about an e-mail he received … “This morning the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out an email commenting on Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she will not run again in 2014. The email employed the breezy, low-rent tone that the Democrats have perfected. You wonder who writes these things; is it a 22-year-old slacker, or is there some middle-aged guy who gets paid millions to impersonate one? The emails subject heading is ‘this is CRAZY’. … What is crazy about the video? Nothing, of course. But the Democrats try to put the word ‘crazy’ in proximity to Michele’s name as often as possible. … The Democrats’ tone could be summed up as: We’re trashy — and proud of it!”

On his Shot in the Dark blog, Mitch Berg says: “A few questions for the audience:
Who Is Emanuelle Goldstein?: Extremists like the MNDFL has become need enemies.  The Minnesota Left will need to invent a new bete noir, someone on which to focus all their  insecurity and hatred, to keep them motivated.  Bachmann has served this role for over a decade and a half, between her Congressional, State Senate and educational organizing careers.  Bachmann bedeviled the local left by seeming to thrive on their hatred, turning it back on them with a wink and a smile and a dismissive quip.  So who does the MNDFL’s depraved, insane fringe pick as their new Demon?
Next?:  The Sixth is one of the few districts in the state with a deep bench of solid, polished GOP contenders.  Who should run to replace Michele? …
Tarry Not:   Does Tarryl Clark already have her U-Haul loaded up, or what?”

Finally … one unrelated item …

As long as they don’t try walking on sidewalks from November through April … Dan Browning of the Strib picks up on a new report on seniors’ health. “Minnesota’s seniors may want to rethink their annual migrations to the Sun Belt states. A new analysis ranks Minnesota as the healthiest place in the country for seniors. In a report published by the nonprofit United Health Foundation, Minnesota took top honors based on a combination of factors that contribute to good health. The state was among the top five for regular dental visits, volunteerism, prescription drug coverage, home health care workers and a low percentage of food insecurity. Minnesota also ranked in the top five for the percentage of seniors who report very good or excellent health, a low premature death rate, mental health, and a low rate of hospitalization for hip fractures. … Popular snowbird destinations didn’t fare so well in the analysis. Arizona came in at 22nd place; Florida ranked 30th. Mississippi came in last.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m experiencing a tremendous sense of loss and will need several hours and stiff drinks to recover …

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 05/29/2013 - 02:36 pm.

    Give it a rest

    Seven out of nine of the stories on Minnpost’s main page are about Bachmann. Is this a slow news day or what? Most of the people who read Minnpost aren’t even in the 6th District.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 05/29/2013 - 04:00 pm.


      Michelle Bachmann is arguably the highest-profile politician representing Minnesota- ask someone not from the midwest to name a Minnesota politician, and I bet the typical response is “Michelle Bachmann.” You don’t think it’s appropriate for a news site that covers the state to report on this? At least two of the seven articles you are griping about were in the daily aggregate (the Glean), one is a report of the announcement itself, one is a posted timeline of her career, at least two cover who will run in her place from the Republican perspective, one covers how Jim Graves responded. How are these NOT relevant?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/29/2013 - 04:12 pm.


      Conservatives don’t want to hear about her anymore. They are ashamed that she was/is one of them.

      Denial is fooling no one.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/29/2013 - 02:46 pm.

    Speaking volumes through silence

    Has any of the local right wing ventured a defense of Rep. Bachmann? Or said that they truly are sorry to see her go? Of course not–the best they can muster is snipes about e-mails from Democratic campaign staff, or Mitch Berg’s “Who are you going to pick on now?” huffing.

    It’s a combination of relief at being rid of one of the premier loonies in government today, and an inability to articulate any thought that is not venom directed at their opponents.

  3. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/29/2013 - 08:12 pm.

    Now that she maybe …

    … gone., there are still plenty of conservative rethorical theater free flow adjective and adverb rancherrs to hear from. MB just won’t be there to dominate. The contest will be who will throw out the first idiotic remark.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/29/2013 - 08:27 pm.

    Isn’t It Funny?

    How after years of the local media going easy on Michelle Bachmann,…

    NEVER really calling her the “spade” she so clearly was,…

    the right is now foaming at the mouth at her own, very predictable political self-immolation,…

    and whining about how poor little Michelle was hounded throughout her career,…

    (presumably by those who factually reported on what she actually said and did).

    You’d think they were talking about the way weasel news and the Republicans have reacted to the presidency of Barrack Obama,…

    if, that is, you were able to understand the concept of psychological projection.

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