Tuesday morning, I was shocked to check my morning news feed and find out that Congresswomen Michele Bachmann (R-MN) would leave Congress at the end of her fourth term in office. This is a good thing for all Americans and a great thing for both Republicans and Democrats in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district.
Bachmann has been famous on a national level since appearing on Hardball with Chris Mathews and questioning the “Americanism” of President Obama. She then rode the “Tea Party Movement” to even more national fame, and quickly became a favorite on the talk show circuit. She attempted to ride that wave of fame to the Presidency. For a short time in 2011, she was even considered a front runner, until her campaign quickly unraveled and she was booted out of the race.
Since that time, not much good has happened for Bachmann. She won re-election by only a slim margin in her very conservative district, a district that Mitt Romney carried by a large margin. A few weeks ago, in an almost unprecedented move, she began to run off year Campaign adds in her district.
During her resignation announcement, Bachmann was quick to point out that she was leaving because she felt that she had served long enough. That sounds very noble, and to a political outsider, even a bit patriotic. However, she conveniently left out that her failed Presidential campaign is currently being investigated by the FBI, the Office of Congressional Ethics, the FEC, the Iowa state senate ethics committee, and a special prosecutor. She is accused of possible improper payments to an Iowa state senator, using campaign resources to promote her book, the theft of an email list of Iowa homeschoolers, and money laundering.
In the end, Michelle Bachmann’s term in Congress cannot be seen as anything but a failure. She has served in Congress for 6 full years, and has had only one major legislative success, a bridge to Wisconsin. Despite all of her rhetoric and bold talk, “Obamacare” not only passed, but it is now well established law. Her attempt to ride her “Tea Party” popularity to a House leadership role met the same fate as her Presidential race. She ran through campaign staff and office staff at an alarming rate, and time after time embarrassed herself and her home district.
As I sit back and watch all of this, I am reminded of a conversation I had years ago with a Minnesota Republican Senator, shortly after Bachmann was elected to congress. He told me that it would be much better for the Minnesota Senate Republicans to have Bachmann as a back bencher in the US Congress than in St. Paul. He said that if she worked as hard at passing legislation as she did at getting press she would be an amazing talent, however, in the end, she spent all her efforts on the latter.
Now, Rep. Bachmann will “retire” to the private sector and will unquestionably pull down millions of dollars in speaker and lobbying fees. She will show up, get the crowd going and sing to her choir of loyal followers. She will champion legislation that will never get passed, and she will be a voice for the extreme right.
In other words, she will keep doing exactly what she has always done in the US Congress. However, she will no longer be subsidized by the taxpayers for doing it.
We are all better for that.