Friday, May 31, 2013

Voted Off the Island: Michele Bachmann

I didn't expect an early Christmas gift in May, but I got one when MN Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced her retirement from politics.

Bachmann won an open House seat in the 2006 Congressional race and has served for the past eight years, representing the 6th Congressional District of Minnesota. She was reelected in 2008. Previously, she served in the Minnesota State Senate. Prior to that, she spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney. Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, who have five children and have opened their home to 23 foster children, live in Stillwater, Minn., and own a mental health care practice.

Although her impact on Congress has been limited to sponsoring the Tea Party Caucus and beating the drum for the repeal of Obamacare, her profile in national politics is notable. Her bid for G.O.P. Chair in 2010 garnered no support from the Republican establishment, but she was able to activate and mobilize conservative primary voters. She was first to nationalize her House race via innovative on line and social media techniques. In 2000 Bachmann raised $13 million dollars and in 2012, she raised $15 million for her re-election race. This was the most money raised by any House candidate in both cycles.

In 2011, Bachmann gave her infamous State of the Union rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union message. She became the queen of the Sunday talk show circuit and won a seat on the House Intelligence Committee. She launched the first campaign to repeal Obamacare. When Bachmann entered the 2012 presidential race, expectations were low, but to the surprise of many, she won the Ames (Iowa) Straw Poll. After a rapid ascent to fame marked by a series of mistatements, gaffes and outright lies, she began to crash and burn. rated 14% of her statements as mostly false, 36% as false, and 25% as "pants on fire" (lies). Many said that her antics damaged the long term health of the GOP brand. Dogged by allegations of financial impropriety in her presidential campaign and threats of a House ethics review, Bachmann threw in the towel.

All I can think of is the chant from a Chicago Bulls game-na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye.  So long Michele Bachmann, thanks for your service and for lessons learned. You've been voted off the island.

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