Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced Wednesday that she will not seek reelection. Bachmann has been one of the most vocal and controversial leaders of the tea party movement and the conservative flank of the Republican Party. For a complete retrospective on her career from Paul Kane and Debbi Wilgoren, continue reading here. For more on Bachmann from The Washington Post, see below.
The Fix | An Icarian political career
Chris Cillizza writes: Bachmann’s story is a cautionary one. She is someone who never grew beyond her natural abilities to speak for the conservative base, instead veering into territory in which she became — even within her own party — a fringe figure rather than a serious player.
The Fact-Checker | Fast and loose with the facts
Glenn Kessler writes: No other lawmaker earned as high a percentage of Four-Pinocchio ratings as Bachmann — and she earned an average of more than Three Pinocchios as a presidential candidate. Thus she provided a window into the no-holds-barred politics that has come to characterize modern-day Washington.
Political analysis | The race is now more difficult for Democrats
Sean Sullivan writes: Bachmann’s 6th district is the most conservative in the state. Mitt Romney carried 56 percent of the vote there in 2012, yet the congresswoman narrowly won reelection by a bit more than one point over Democrat Jim Graves, even as she dramatically outspent him. Simply put, this is fertile ground for Republicans in a standard R versus D race. But Bachmann, of course, is not a standard Republican, which is why she almost coughed up a seat in a district with a conservative tilt.
The conservative perspective | Bachmann packs it in
Jennifer Rubin writes: Her career should serve as a warning to young conservatives. You only get so far voting no on everything and taking the most extreme, confrontational positions imaginable. Being attacked by the media doesn’t necessarily mean you are being effective; it could very well mean you’re making a fool of yourself. And finally, you really don’t “change the way Washington works” or “end business as usual” by aggressive theatrics. In short, if you are a serious person with serious ideas, act like it.
The liberal perspective | Paranoid politics
Jamelle Bouie writes: Bachmann has left Congress, but her style of politics — steeped in paranoia and resentment — has become the norm for the Republican Party. Prominent figures in the party — ranging from McConnell to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — are happy to stoke conspiracies if it means gaining a political advantage over Obama and the Democratic Party.
On news media | A future in cable?
Erik Wemple writes: Bachmann just might be willing to field an offer to serve as a commentator on some cable news operation. And who wouldn’t — it’s easy, pays well and feeds a politician’s desire to feel important and fussed over.
Leadership | No ordinary resignation will do
Jena McGregor writes: 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.