Tea Party advocate and history-addled Congresswoman Michele Bachmann suddenly announced that she will not be running for re-election in 2014, and everyone knows why: she is the object of serious investigations regarding financial improprieties and violations of election laws during her run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. She was also facing a rematch against the same opponent she barely defeated last year. Rather than destroy her brand by losing in an overwhelmingly Republican district (Romney took it easily), Bachmann made the reasonable career decision to leave voluntarily before she was fired.
She didn’t have to lie about it, though. That’s just the way she is.
“[T]he law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years. And in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for any individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district….Be assured: My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being reelected to Congress. … I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced he is once again running.And rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff. It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign. And I have no reason to believe that was not the case. …I fully anticipate the mainstream, liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision. … But I take being the focus of their attention of their disparagement as a true compliment of my public-service effectiveness. … To m my detractors, my work continues for YOUR best interest as well. … God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”
If there is one thing that has always been true about the Congresswoman, she has never admitted failure or wrongdoing, even when the evidence was unavoidable and beyond question. She never before advocated term limits, or suggested should limit herself to eight years. What has changed? Simple: she’s facing investigative scrutiny that will embarrass her and weaken her already dicey chances of re-election. Everybody knows it. Yet she felt compelled to announce her retirement with a series of disingenuous statements that bolster public cynicism, not just about the honesty of Bachmann, Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Party conservatives, but all politicians and elected officials. Of course she lied. They all lie. They can’t help themselves.
At least Bachmann can’t help herself. One reason the Tea Party is likely to remain in the shadows until it withers is that it can’t seem to find any high-profile champions who aren’t unprofessional, inept, ridiculous , untrustworthy, or some combination thereof. For many Bachmann is the face of that movement, and a disturbing face. Getting her off of the stage can’t help but strengthen the movement she claimed to lead, though without a superior replacement the benefit will be relatively small.
I suppose we should applaud Bachmann for giving such a blatantly dishonest statement, rather than the kind of sneakily deceitful ones we have been hearing from I.R.S. officials, Eric Holder, and Jay Carney. It should, though it won’t, serve as a confession to her followers, stating clearly that, “Yes, I too can’t be trusted and will lie to you when it suits my ego, agenda, or whims. I too was corrupt, and have no business representing your interests. I claimed to be something better, but I’m really not. Keep looking. Don’t be fooled again.”
If only the people who need to hear that were really listening.