Michele Bachmann announcing she’s bailing on her beloved Sixth District completes a neat triptych of synchronicity. First there was old Bob Dole saying the current Republican party is such a godawfiul mess Ronald Reagan couldn’t make it out of a primary and that they ought to hang a “Closed for Repairs” on the party’s office door until they get an act together. Next came the study of the Tampa Bay Times PolitiFact archives that conservatives have a rate of flagrant lying three times higher than your average prevaricating liberal. Then … came Michele, my belle, a woman who like Richard Nixon, I’ll miss more (as a piece of street theater) than I dare say outside a confessional.
The connection is fairly obvious, especially when you consider how heavily Bachmann’s routine abuse of fact and logic skewed the PolitiFact numbers and that what Bob Dole was alluding to was the contempt for legislation and government that is the primary feature of the Congressional Bachmanns’ of the world.
Bob, who was a crusty old fart with an acidic sense humor, was not my idea of an enlightened statesman. But the guy — who actually went and fought for the country — had enough of a conscience that exploiting eight years on the taxpayers’ tab (with pension benefits to follow) while doing nothing other than self-serving entrepreneurial activity would have made him nauseous. But self-service — using political office to make money — is now an accepted pose for modern, talk radio-inspired conservatives.
There is a consensus that Bachmann will be whisked off by Roger Aile’s jet to the FoxNews stable of deep thinkers the second she’s out of office — can’t you just imagine her on election night, squeezed in between Michelle Malkin and Charles Krauthammer? But mmmmmm, I’m not so sure. While I suspect every conservative in last year’s Republican presidential carnival-farce, other than multi-millionaires Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, secretly entertained a hope they’d get a taste of that sweet, sweet Sarah Palin action from Fox, show biz is as cruel a lover as politics, and I don’t see Bachmann adding all that much to the FoxNews grievance choir.
Where Palin was a joke to middle and left America the minute she appeared on the scene in St. Paul in 2008, (lord that woman is dim), she didn’t do as much damage to her brand among the GOP’s base-herd as Bachmann has since cratering after that Iowa straw poll. Bachmann has the taint of a one-note loser, and is now one dogged by what may very well be serious campaign “improprieties” (i.e. playing loose with money), that Palin didn’t. Put another way, Palin was all about celebrity appeal — a major consideration at FoxNews — while Bachmann’s game was more about playing her base for pissed-off, cash-throwing chumps.
Her departure is of course very bad news for Jim Graves, even if he plays the most conservative damned free enterprise capitalist son-of-a-bitch Democrat the Sixth has ever seen. As gerrymandered (like 95% of the country’s districts), the Sixth is toxic territory for any Democrat running against any Republican … who isn’t Michele Bachmann. If I had to bet, I’d put $20 on Matt Dean and $10 on Jason Lewis to pick up the nomination, based on the simple reasoning that each already has a practiced act for telling low-information apocalyptics whatever they want to hear.
But Michele will do fine. Close friends like Tim and Beverly LaHaye, (he of the 63 million copies-selling “Left Behind” series) and Glenn Beck will see that she still has a pulpit of some kind from which to denounce Obamacare, homosexuality (coughMarcus) and the end of our “Constitutional freedoms.” A well-paid sinecure was her objective when she left for DC and she succeeded wildly. She provided almost no constituent service to her district, but instead spent her time turning herself into a cash magnet for the aged, angry, white and disenfranchised with nonsensical jeremiads about Socialism and the death spiral of all “we” hold near and dear. Having exploited eight years in DC to her maximum advantage, she is positioned well to trade-off that stratagem for another four five years at least, on the mega-church/Tea Party Hall of Fame circuit if not in the chair opposite Sean Hannity.
Finally, while I’ll miss her … like Dick goddam Nixon, I tell ya … I won’t miss the way the Minnesota media reported on her unprecedented, open contempt for public service. The “polite media” could never bring itself to — accurately — characterize her as what she was and is. Standard newsroom protocol prohibits such impolite terminology as “reckless lying”, “nakedly self-serving” and “flagrant pandering to ugly emotions”. Consequently, Bachmann’s portrait in the local press was essentially an eccentric version of an average Republican rather than the shameless disgrace she has been to the state and the office she holds … for another 19 months.