Bye bye Bachmann

Bye bye Bachmann
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On Wednesday morning, Minnesota Congresswoman and House Tea Party chair Michele Bachmann announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2014. Two days later, her would-be Democratic opponent, businessman Jim Graves, announced he would be stepping down as well.

“There’s no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann,” he said happily.

Bachmann was one of those figures who omnipresence in the headlines seemed to be inversely correlated with how much she actually accomplished. Her presidential campaign was a flop. Her gratuitous 2011 Tea Party rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union was a flop. Her attempt to position herself as a major player in the legislative process — an ideologically impeachable center of authority to rival Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the squish crowd — was a flop. As one wag put it, Bachmann’s single, indisputable achievement during her seven years on the national scene was limited to her 2011 victory in the Iowa straw poll, which forced fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty out of the 2012 GOP primary and allowed Governor Romney to consolidate the moderate conservative vote. Or something.

Bachmann is often compared to Sarah Palin for lazy and sexist reasons, but in my estimation the two women actually embody vastly different political styles. Palin, for all her obvious faults, was a genuine populist with some talents for charm and empathy. Her dopey bluntness and clumsy language had a purpose — she was just a simple small town mom with an instinctive sense of right and wrong, gosh-darn-it. She didn’t read the newspapers or have an Ivy League diploma or pal around in Europe or any of it, but that was the point. Washington was run by pointy-headed elites who did, and, well, look where they took the country.

Bachmann, by contrast, tried to be a pointy-headed elite for her own side. Her speeches and rhetoric were closer in style to Glenn Beck (one of her biggest fans), in the sense they used a thin veneer of pseudo-intellectual conservative philosophy to weave hysterically overreactive conspiracy theories with very little provocation. She understood the basic rightist principle that unchecked government power is the root of tyranny — which is true — but applied the thesis so universally and without nuance she became a  clown.

And a liar. According to the Washington Post‘s cute metric of measuring such things, “no other lawmaker earned as high a percentage of Four-Pinocchio ratings as Bachmann,” thanks to her “consistent and unapologetic” bending of reality in the service of ideology.

The President wanted more young people to partake in community service, Bachmann said that he was trying to create “re-education camps.” The United States voted in favor of a UN resolution on combating religious intolerance, Bachmann said Hillary Clinton was imposing a one-world tyranny to prevent criticism of Islam. Obamacare sought to cover birth control, Bachmann said we were headed for a one-child policy.

There was very little about Bachmann that was compelling or attractive. She was cold, angry, paranoid, and fundamentalist, and her political career sought to make those emotions the defining disposition of American political discourse.

Her unpopularity, powerlessness, and now departure hopefully signals a country moving in the opposite direction.




^ 22 Comments...

  1. @Andy928766

    One of my favorite Bachmannisms is when she claimed that the government was going to take away everyone's incandescent light bulbs.

  2. @SideshowJon36

    Actually, that one was true until Congress reversed itself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incande… Ironically, this was something you honestly could blame Bush for.

  3. Max

    You forgot to mention her despicable appeal to the anti-vaccers with fear mongering about shots giving kids autism.

  4. David L

    Yeah, I'm usually not a political masochist but I enjoyed her truly awful backpedaling when it turned out the evidence for vaccinations causing autism was "some woman she met".

  5. @SideshowJon36

    National Review was overflowing with "Thank God she's leaving" columns the day it was announced. Democrats lost their best fundraiser.

  6. Honduras

    Unimpeachable?

  7. Manguy

    She was the Tea Party incarnate: Paranoid, fear mongering, conspiracy theory pushing, imbecilic. She is mercifully leaving Congress, though not quickly enough, but sadly the Tea Party remains and will likely try to blame her current ethics violation as a conspiracy against her.

  8. Ozius

    I think that's a pretty unfair statement. There are members of the tea party who have reached their conclusions for well thought out intellectual or political reasons. The problem is, conservative intellectuals end up getting pilloried, and the crazies are the ones who get the best ratings.

  9. Colin Minich

    Blessed be the day she falls into irrelevance. She is an awful woman. I rarely wish awful things upon people, but she truly is one of them. The magazine that titled her "The Queen of Rage" was on point. She is a hateful, ignorant, posing, paranoid, polarizing, and xenophobic human being and I wish nothing but the worst to her personally. I can see why her husband was closeted and I only fear what will become of her kids and her foster kids. The best days were when she was laughed at for wanting to create a list of people "disloyal to the Constitution" and when John McCain ripped her a new one for going after Huma Abedin. I hate this woman so very much…and I don't even know her.

    My only regret was that she couldn't stay around and bury the GOP further.

  10. Dan

    Newsweek has never been on point about anything, ever. It's the closest thing North America has to a British tabloid.

  11. Colin Minich

    I consider their piece over Bachmann the glaring exception. She's an awful human being.

  12. Dan

    Of course you liked the piece about Bachmann; it agreed with your existing opinions of her. It didn't actually teach you, or anyone, anything about her, good or bad.

  13. Colin Minich

    You seem personally butthurt over the Newsweek article like Michelle was your wife or something. It was on point. Bachmann is really a perpetuation of fear-mongering and xenophobic politics, a canned up ball of bitchy rage that is aimed improperly at anything she considers liberal or "un-American.". What possible good did she ever possess?

  14. zaitcev

    The facts of comparison of Bachman and Palin are actually exactly the opposite of the liberal lies that JJ promoted in the editorial. Palin was a member of NOW, even while governor, until the vindictive liberals booted her over the VP slot. She expressed fairly significant sophistication about relition and science in a book, many times quoted out of context by liberal lapdogs since. And of course she never, never was a creationist. Someone once said that Jindal has actually done all the bad things with which liberals tried to smear Palin. All this happened because Bachmann was an inconsequential paleocon while Palin was a significant threat to JJ's pals, thanks to her actual sophistication.

  15. Taylor

    I really hope America gets a third party at some point, so you OCD conservative/liberal "with me/horrible conspirator" internet commenting types can actually exercise your minds a bit.

  16. Colin Minich

    If Palin is an American form of sophistication then I guess so is Honey Boo Boo. Wow this was just mind-numbingly stupid…what you just said there…wow.

  17. Precioso Ballstero

    The verbage is not one to digress too deeply of a candidate that was doomed to whence? I have not read much of her career,although I leave this cheap bit as it is and hope in some regard to a point of ups and not downs.

  18. Jake_Ackers

    She is gone. Can we not give her anymore attention? Next comic please.

  19. Colin Minich

    I'm sure she's not reading this comic now. Anything Canadian after all is socialist according to the Queen of Rage.

  20. OldsVistaCruiser

    Even hockey, eh? ;)

  21. Colin Minich

    Hockey is extra socialist. >:C

  22. Jake_Ackers

    Well the US beat the Soviets back in the day. So we turned it ultra capitalist with the NHL. Bain Capital wanted to buy it or bought it (the NHL). So it must be capitalist now.

    Btw aren't American sports the most communist of all? No promotion or relegation thus no meritocracy. Salary caps and minimum wages aka wage controls. Massively unionized. Spending caps too. And so on.