Bowing to reality — for once, it might seem — Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) pulled the plug on her ambitious run for the Republican nomination. She said things that made no sense or were enraging.

But Bachmann did something that a certain other presidential pretender dared not do: She actually ran for office. The Minnesota congresswoman never hid behind or filtered her views through Twitter, Facebook and Fox News. She subjected herself to interviews with David Gregory, Chris Matthews and others who are not reliably friendly to her worldview — thus showing a willingness to be held accountable for her past statements and for not answering questions posed to her.

The presidential stage is the most intense on earth. The spotlight is harsh. The expectations are high as is the risk of failure. While Bachmann didn’t make it beyond the first contest of 2012 — indeed, while she came in dead last in a state where she was born and where her campaign put all its hopes for advancement — she should be proud of the valiant effort she made on behalf of herself and her supporters. That being said, her departure makes for one less irrational voice in a field that is already too far to the right for comfort.