Michele Bachmann announces her exit: we will miss you - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Michele Bachmann announces her exit: we will miss you

Some days you get news that pops your eyes out of your head. Like when the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 15,000 for the first time in history — under President Barack Hussein Obama, the supposedly foreign-born Socialist Muslim Fascist who was going to single-handedly destroy America and it’s economy if he were to be re-elected. Well, paraphrasing a meme from Facebook: that makes President Obama the worst Socialist Muslim Fascist in history.

Man, just when we thought we would have death panels, re-education camps, a takeover of the executive branch of government by the Muslim Brotherhood and subsequently Sharia Law, and the repeal of the First Amendment … Obama turns out to be nothing but just another effin’ centrist. Sometimes you can’t even tell if he’s a left-leaning centrist!

  • No Mr. President, we do not want to change Medicare and Social Security in such a way that makes it harder to collect what we’ve paid for already. Stop trying to appease the Republicans, they are going to hate you no matter what you do.
  • Seriously, I supported Dennis Kucinich in 2008.

My effin’ god! He went and did what Bush did, but did Bush one better! Well, okay, President Obama didn’t do it, his Attorney General did it, i.e. went after journalists who received and published classified information. And the A.G, Eric Holder, had hundreds of the Associated Press’s communications monitored for two months — without the targets’ knowledge or approval.

But still, Obama pulled a Bush and did it bigger. Like he did with the drones. Bush started using drones to kill the enemy years before Obama became president. Then this so-called Socialist Muslim Fascist (did I mention foreign-born?) went and expanded the drone program to kill enemy combatants in foreign countries where we were not formally fighting wars, i.e. Pakistan and Yemen.

Let’s face it: President Obama is a big failure at being a foreign-born Socialist Muslim Fascist. And here I thought we’d be forced to be civil to one another and treat all Americans as equals.

Who can forget the iconic image of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann eating a foot-long corn dog at the Iowa State Fair? She really hadn't figured out that "optics" thing in relation to political ambition. It's critically important in this age when everyone has a camera in their cell phone.

Who can forget the iconic image of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann eating a foot-long corn dog at the Iowa State Fair? She really hadn’t figured out that “optics” thing in relation to political ambition. It’s critically important in this age when everyone has a camera in their cell phone.

So there I was, kicking the dirt and cursing the moon and sun above for the lack of real socialist reform on the part of our president — and we got this big information: Michele Bachmann, erstwhile Republican, House leader of the Teabagger caucus, announced she would not be seeking re-election to a fifth term representing Minnesota’s Fighting Sixth District.

“What?”

Just a month ago she was cranking up her re-election campaign for 2014. What happened? Well, you know, she thought about it for a while and by golly, if the president is term-limited to eight years in office, then that’s all she gonna serve. Why didn’t she come to that conclusion before she ran for office in 2006? Or at least before she started gearing up for 2014? Who knows what compelled Michele Bachmann to become so civic-minded she term-limited herself.

Well, there is the fact that Bachmann barely won re-election in 2012: she received just 50.47 percent of the vote, a 4,298-vote difference to be exact. The speculation being that she would not survive another re-election. Michele Bachmann was just getting too extreme for her usually reliable Republican district.

She couldn’t possibly survive if there were any serious controversies. Not the usual nuttiness she is known for, like claiming the executive branch of the government was infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood or that the HPV vaccine might cause mental retardation.

You know, serious allegations, like if she was caught doing something illegal, like campaign violations … err, the kind of violations a former staffer alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission. And that agency referred it to the FBI for further investigation.

Peter Waldron, a well known evangelist hired for outreach to Christian groups, made the claim that Bachmann’s campaign paid an Iowa campaign chair, Kent Sorenson, under the table to avoid rules that prohibited Sorenson, an Iowa state representative, from getting paid to work on presidential campaigns.

Now that’s just piling on! My god, Pete! Bachmann went out and paid all that money to win the Iowa Straw Poll, only to lose miserably to everyone else running for the Republican nomination in the Iowa Caucuses. And then you come along and accuse her of breaking the law to boot!

Here’s the kicker though — and a cautionary tale for any perspective politician about not paying hired staffers — Waldron says the Bachmann campaign paid Guy Short, the manager of Bachmann’s PAC (MichelePAC), over $100,000 when Short was convincing other “paid” staffers to go without paychecks during the holidays, December 2011 and January 2012. Oh, and Short told those campaign workers he wasn’t getting paid either.

Waldron was one of those people that didn’t get paid. Now, had the good evangelist been paid, we might not have found out Short was getting his checks to work on the campaign when clearly election rules prohibit PAC employees from working directly for campaigns.

But none of that, according to Bachmann, had anything to with her decision not to seek re-election next year. Of course not. She’s just a civic-minded public servant who no longer wishes to serve the public.

Bachmann revealed her decision the new fangled way — in a YouTube video. Instead of informing the press and then holding a press conference, when reporters could ask questions, she made this spiffy video complete with stirring background music. It’s far more relaxing and friendly than standing in front of a bunch of reporters who are asking about illegal campaign payments.

In the video Bachmann even went so far as to call her 2012 opponent, Democrat Jim Graves, “capable” and “qualified.” Well, not by name, but by inference. Bachmann also claimed she would beat Graves again if she were to run in 2014. That’s kind of a stretch though, considering the extremely thin margin of victory this last election and her decreasing poll numbers among her constituents.

Instead though, being the civic-minded public servant that she is, Bachmann is getting out of the U.S. Congress.

Unlike others, I won’t call Bachmann a quitter, ala Sarah Palin. Bachmann intends to serve out her term, as she has the three previous terms. Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska half way through her term.

Question is: what will Bachmann do next? You’d think with all the nutty things she’s said over the years she would have used up all her crazy cards, but she’s a Teabagger favorite so there’s probably still something in that bag of whimsy she carries around.

Will Bachmann go for the money? Hard to say. If that was her motivation she probably would have followed Palin’s lead and quit mid-term. Well, with 19 months left of this, her fourth term, there’s still time.

The fact is the ethics probe is going to be the scandal Bachmann’s colleague, Republican Congressman Darrel Issa of California, is looking for. Except of course it won’t be the president or his administration that’s on the hot seat, it will be one of the GOP’s own.

That put off any lucrative offers that might have otherwise come her way. Bachmann just doesn’t have the star power that Sarah Palin had in 2008 when the quitter was on the national GOP ticket. As you may recall, one of Palin’s excuses for being a quitter were the ethics investigations surrounding her brief time as governor. She was accused of abusing her gubernatorial power by going after political and personal enemies.

None of that mattered to FoxNews. Sarah Palin was the biggest thing to hit the Republican world since, by golly, Ronald Reagan! And then the Teabaggers came along and Palin decided to be even more mavericky and attack her own party, just like every good Teabagger was (and is) doing.

But that isn’t Michele Bachmann’s reality. Ah yes, that pesky reality. Despite all his or her efforts to avoid it, reality creeps into every Teabagger kook’s universe at least a little.

Most Americans have a very low opinion of Bachmann. She was even blasted by FoxNews hosts for the nutty things she said. Glenn Beck even shut her off his program once when she got too extreme for him. Which I think is completely unfair. I mean c’mon, they have Lou Dobbs on FoxNews and he’s never met a nutty conspiracy theory he didn’t like.

  • Think about this for a moment: Glenn Beck gets forced off the air at FoxNews for being too extreme (seriously) and then Glenn Beck shuts off Michele Bachmann because she’s too extreme for him. Who knew extremist conspiracy nuts had limits to extreme views?
  • Republican strategist and campaign advisor Steve Schmidt called her one of the GOP’s biggest embarrassments.

So, if Michele Bachmann has visions of Fox plums dancing in her head, what happened during her brief stint as a GOP candidate for president will probably get in the way.

And it all happened in and around Iowa. Remember Iowa two years ago? Candidates were gearing up for the GOP primaries; there was a whole conga line of them with Michele Bachmann leading the pack. Yes, those heady days when the wide-eyed congresswoman from Minnesota’s 6th District led the field, if only for a few days.

It was then most Americans first learned how the Iowa Straw Poll works. First of all, it’s in Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State University. If you wish to participate in the straw poll you have to pay $30 to do so. And of course if you want to eat any of the good barbecue and other food, you have to purchase over-priced meal tickets.

The booths are auctioned off to the candidates and the prime locations for these booths get the highest prices. So, how did the kookiest candidate in what became known as the GOP Clown Car win the Iowa Straw Poll? She paid for it. Bachmann’s campaign spent big bucks to get a good spot for her tent and then paid the entrance fee for her supporters, more than any other candidate — and they also purchased food tickets for supporters.

And (unlike her opponents in the Straw Poll) Bachmann made sure there were enough chairs in her tent for the supporters.  Nothing says, “I want your support” more than a cool tent with enough chairs to go around — and Randy Travis performing.

It didn’t matter that the top contender for the nomination wasn’t competing in the Straw Poll, Bachmann’s win “Cements Her Top-Tier Status in GOP Race,” the FoxNews headline blazoned on their website.

Four months and a couple dozen (or so) debates later the Iowa Caucuses took place, the vote that actually counts in Iowa and Bachmann came in a dismal sixth place. Apparently the cement turned out to be sand and was blown away in the cold Iowa winter.

Bachmann ended her bid for president and re-launched her campaign for re-election to Congress, raising more money than any other Congressional candidate in history. Good thing too because she needed every dollar to narrowly beat her opponent.

With any luck the people of Minnesota’s sixth will get a more serious representative. During the last Congress Bachmann had the thirst worst voting record in the House of Representatives, missing 386 votes out of 1,601 bills and other legislation brought to the floor. That was a whopping 24 percent. The average is just over two percent. Michele Bachmann hasn’t been the most conscientious member of Congress.

She authored or co-authored just 58 bills in her years as a Congresswoman, most of them so goofy not even a GOP-controlled House of Representatives would bring them to a vote. Hell, only one made it out of committee. She did get the House to recognize Minnesota’s 150th Anniversary five years ago.

Maybe her biggest legislative achievement: she authored one of the 37 bills proposed to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — Obamacare. You know the Teabagger faithful love that.

The real losers in all of this: late night comics. Man, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart depended on Bachmann for a large chunk of its laughs. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can relive all the best and funniest moments of Bachmann’s years in the public eye, from the day she told Chris Matthews the Justice Department should investigate Congress to find all the secret communists, to her claim that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. She even name-checked President John Quincy Adams in that one.

Which is funny because J.Q. Adams was not a Founding Father, his father John Adams was, and J.Q. Adams died years before the outbreak of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. But he was anti-slavery.

We’re gonna miss you Michele Bachmann. You brought us endless days and nights of entertainment, while highlighting for the American people what is so wrong with the GOP.

Go out and dance with your hubby Marcus. Everyone loves that!


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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