Friday, May 31, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

(Editorial cartoon by Steve Sack 5/30/13 and published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Click on image to enlarge and then come back.)

A couple of days ago I put up a post which tried to figure out why the GOP stalwarts, who have plenty of money, hadn't moved on to putting up primary opponents to Tea Partiers who are costing the party voters all across the country:

For example, why aren't they grooming someone to take on Michele Bachmann.  She is being sued by an Iowa Republican leader for stealing an email list.  She is under a House Ethics Committee investigation.  She continues to spout ridiculous conspiracy theories, embarrassing her party every time she is fact-checked by the major mainstream media outlets.  The Democrats have targeted her for defeat and will pour money into their candidate's campaign (finally!).  She's from a conservative district; surely there is someone there who would do the job for the GOP.

So, shortly after the post went up, Michele announced that she would not be running for re-election in 2014 in her own patented word-salad way.  From her home-town newspaper, the Strib:

Her announcement, which came as she embarked on a congressional tour to Russia, surprised friends and detractors alike. It capped a tumultuous two-year period in which Bachmann went from leading Republican presidential contender to barely hanging on to her congressional seat while coming under investigation for campaign spending that occurred during her short White House run.

Starting as a grass-roots activist who knocked out a veteran incumbent in her first legislative race, Bachmann quickly emerged as a national conservative icon. She commanded a loyal following even after her 2012 presidential ambitions died quickly when she went all-out to win the Iowa caucuses and came up well short. Along the way, she became one of the country’s most prolific political fundraisers, with a vast network of small donors. ...

Democrat Jim Graves, who came close to unseating Bachmann last year, said his former foe’s decision makes clear that she “recognized that it would be an uphill battle for her going forward.”

Graves announced his candidacy last month and says he will battle whoever replaces her on the Republican ticket.

Without Bachmann in the race, a host of Republicans began salivating at the chance to run in a rare open seat in the state’s most conservative congressional district. As of late Wednesday, no GOP candidate had officially stepped up to run, but many were publicly assessing the possibilities.   [Emphasis added]

Michele's avowed reason is that she never considered her seat in Congress as an occupation, which is so wonderfully ironic I can hardly stand it.  She and her Tea Party colleagues have served as an occupying force in this Congress so that no work for the people could actually get accomplished.  Her backers no doubt had that in mind.

So why is she leaving?

I still don't know.  Maybe she's received a better offer, perhaps from Fox (who might want the latest iteration of Sarah Palin on staff).  Maybe her contributors have been less forthcoming this time around and she realized that Graves might beat her.  Maybe the Karl Rove traditionalists have told her it was time for her to move on and offered her a cushy spot in one of the right-wing think tanks.  Nobody seems to know at this point.

What I do know is that she has ruined the easy post for lefty-bloggers, the easy test for fact-checkers, the easy subject for political cartoonists, and none of us are happy about that.

She also has dashed the hopes of an easy victory for Jim Graves and the Democratic Party.

A mixed blessing, to be sure.

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