The remarkable thing about Michele Bachmann's announcement is not that she won't be running again for Congress. Although she's careful in the video to say these are not her reasons, she faced a tough re-election fight and her 2012 presidential campaign staff is under federal investigation into allegations of financial impropriety.
The remarkable thing about it, of course, is the video. While other politicians may step down with a resignation letter, a press release, or a news conference, Bachmann's swan sang clocks in at a lengthy, warmly lit, heavily produced eight minutes and 40 seconds long. As she rattles off her accomplishments (one of which was attending Margaret Thatcher's funeral), happy mood music that sounds like something out of a campaign ad or, as one observer noted, an airline's in-flight safety video, plays in the background. It comes off less as a personal way to thank her supporters and more as a self-obsessed way of making a graceful exit from her fact-challenged time in the spotlight. Nearly two minutes of the video is spent justifying her decision not to run again.
Perhaps the most bizarre moment of the video is when, without telling us what she intends to do next, Bachmann states that "my future is full, it is limitless, and my passions for America will remain. I want you to be assured there are no future options—be it directly in the political arena or otherwise—that I won’t be giving serious consideration." Will she run for president again? Seek a career in cable news? Go back to work for the IRS? Whatever it is, she wants to make sure the right people know she's interested.
Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.