Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Michele Bachmann out, waiting for comment from Turner & Overdrive

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Congressman Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), a popular figure in the Tea Party movement and a one-time candidate for president, announced today she will not seek re-election. This comes at a time when I have finally remembered how to spell her first name correctly (which is incorrectly).

I’m reluctant to write her political obituary as she is still young enough to make a political comeback. However, with the federal investigation into her campaign finances and her occasionally odd campaign for president (including the migraine story), there might not be a second act coming.

Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post got it right when he described Bachmann’s career as “Icarus-like.” The high point of her career was winning the Ames, Iowa presidential straw poll. From there she fell hard to the Earth. Like Icarus in Bruegel’s painting, she hardly made a mark, at least in her congressional career.

fall_of_icarus

Bachmann never was a Tea Party movement intellectual light. As Jonah Goldberg pointed out, she could tell you what she believed but Bachmann could never go the second step and tell you why. Despite this, her inflammatory style earned her national popularity.

It’s a common problem in political movements, confusing shallow populist appeals with authenticity, heat generated for light. In her absence the Tea Party movement will certainly find other leading political figures, some better, some worse.

But the movement is bigger than the politicians in it. In her hubris Bachmann forgot that, and now she’s gone. Good luck on the lecture circuit.

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