In This Corner…Michele Bachmann

2012 Contender Series: Michele Bachmann

(Updated January 4th: Ms. Bachmann officially withdrew from the residential race after a poor showing in the Iowa Caucus. It is expected that she will run for re-election in Minnesota once the redistricting is settled)

(Updated: Bachmann officially declared her candidacy during the New Hampshire debates)

Michele Marie Bachmann is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. This district wraps around outside the northern half of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, extending to the northwest to include St. Cloud. The district is mostly suburban, tending toward rural farmland as it moves away from the Twin Cities. This district was once represented by Charles August Lindbergh, father of the famed aviator. Rep. Bachmann’s public persona has reflected the conservative politics of her district.

Rep. Michele Bachmann official photo.

I intend in this article to avoid much editorializing. I will also resist the temptation to present many quotes. Plucking those low-hanging fruit would simply be mean; the facts speak for themselves.

Her first term in the House began in January of 2007, when she replaced retiring two-term Republican Mark Kennedy. She had previously served for six years in the Minnesota State Senate, defeating 18-year incumbent Gary Laidig to secure the GOP endorsement in 2000. In November of 2003, she co-sponsored a Minnesota state Constitutional Amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. Her efforts to get that proposed amendment on a ballot referendum failed. She tried again in 2004, and again the state Senate rejected her proposal.

Ms. Bachmann briefly (November, 2004–July, 2005) held a minor leadership position in the State Senate. Dick Day, then the state Republican Senate Minority Leader, appointed her Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus. About eight months later, the Caucus removed her from this position, for what Bachmann characterized as “philosophical differences” with Day. She ran for the United States House of Representatives the following year, and became the first Republican woman elected to the U.S. Congress from Minnesota.

Since she has presented herself as a possible presidential candidate, it is relevant to consider some of her legislative actions and positions. It is difficult to give more than a short summary, as she has been so active and outspoken. I hope commenters will expand on the following, and add more detail in places I have omitted.

As one of her first major actions upon taking office, in January of 2007, Ms. Bachmann called for hearings on President Bush’s plans for a “troop surge” in Iraq. She repeatedly declined to comment on whether she personally supported or opposed the surge, claiming to not have enough information to decide. In February, a resolution opposing the surge was approved in the House by a vote of 246–182. She voted against the resolution.

This represented one of the few times Ms. Bachmann has been hesitant to take a stand on an issue. She voted against a bill to increase the minimum Pell grant for college students from $4,310 to $5,200. The bill also would lower interest rates on federally subsidized student loans from 6.9 percent to 3.4 percent, and would raise the maximum loan to $30,500 from $7,500. She claimed this bill “favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders.” The bill overwhelmingly passed the House, and President Bush signed it into law in September of 2007.


She has occasionally spent time looking for problems to solve. She once introduced legislation that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency. (Is this a necessary regulation?) She has called for the media to investigate members of Congress for “anti-American views.” She introduced the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,” intended to repeal the switch from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs, claiming that fluorescent bulbs pollute more because of their mercury content.

She is considered a leader in the Tea Party movement. She is the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. She attempted to leverage her notoriety into a leadership position in the 112th Congress, seeking to become House Republican Conference Chair. But she was soundly rebuked by Representatives Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, Eric Cantor, and others. Shortly after, she presented her personal response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2011, billing it as the “Tea Party response.” It was carried live by CNN.

She has endorsed drilling for oil in ANWR, claimed global warming is a “hoax,” and opposed cap and trade legislation. She opposed TARP (both the initial version that failed in a close vote, and the later version that was enacted). She voiced serious concerns about the 2010 Census, and urged citizens to limit their cooperation.

Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks in favor of PPACA repeal. Source: Rep. Michele Bachmann.

She opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), saying that it contained “death panels,” allowed funding for abortions, and provided care to illegal immigrants. She claimed the proposal for a public option amounted to a “government takeover of health care.”

But we ain’t seen nothing yet. In one of her most recent acts, early in the 112th Congress, she proposed repeal of the recent financial regulatory reform act, calling it a “job-killing…financial regulatory bill.”

Ms. Bachmann is known for a rather outgoing and effusive style. You can find some of her best quotes here. I recommend thumbing through them.

What are her chances of getting the Republican nomination? She should probably be considered a long shot. If Sarah Palin runs, the two of them are likely to be seen as being pressed from the same mold, and would tend to split votes in the primaries. Ms. Palin has an advantage of greater name recognition; Ms. Bachmann has the advantage of having demonstrated she can hold elected office for extended periods without resigning. (Fun fact: Alaska has a population of a bit under 686,000; Ms. Bachmann’s district is a bit under 615,000.) If Ms. Palin drops out, Ms. Bachmann is her natural heir.

Would the Republicans go with a female presidential candidate? Will the Republican establishment accept a candidate so closely associated with the Tea Party? Can she manage a ground game on a national scale with such a crowded field? Don’t write her off for the third-tier status most analysts give her; she is a proven fundraiser, raking in a record $13.2 million in her 2010 reelection campaign, over $20 for each person in her district (the FEC is looking into some of those funds). This may make her a force to be reckoned with.

LATE BREAKING: Ms. Bachmann spoke yesterday before a receptive audience at the CPAC gathering, and brought them to their feet. She called on fiscal conservatives to unite with social conservatives and with defense hawks, to hold on to the House, take the Senate, and defeat President Obama in 2012. She repeatedly referred to the President’s policies as “socialist,” and called PPACA the “crown jewel of socialism.” Study her speech; it is a preview of what her Presidential campaign will be about.

About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He lives with his wife, a seriously affectionate pit bull, a cat, and a bearded dragon, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts for fun.
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31 Responses to In This Corner…Michele Bachmann

  1. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    Now THAT’S funny!!!!!!

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    I sent this to DC for consideration in his article but the general consensus is we wanted to maintain a modicum of professionalism. But I couldn’t resist sharing it with everybody. This will be the picture in Oxford’s next revision for the term ‘bat shit crazy’.

    Bat Sh*t Crazy

    Astounding resemblance, wouldn’t you say?

  3. Realist says:

    So much for keeping Palin out of your articles during February…

  4. mclever says:

    I think Max already covered my thoughts… 🙂

  5. dcpetterson says:

    Hey Realist, it would have been almost impossible to talk about Bachmann without talking about the primary model. I resisted the temptation to refer to Bachmann as Ms. P’s Mini Me.

  6. Realist says:

    mclever, I could have sworn your thoughts included one more “ha” than his.

  7. Realist says:

    “Mrs. P’s MiniMe”
    Now that’s funny. It’s only funny cuz it’s true…

  8. mclever says:

    Realist, more like a tee-hee-hee-snort-giggle-snort, which is pretty much my reaction every time Bachmann’s name is mentioned.


  9. Realist says:

    In all seriousness, I think Bachmann is far scarier to the general populace when she opens her mouth than either Palin or O’Donnell ever were. That alone should make her a nonstarter in the general election, and that should be clear enough to enough Republican voters that I highly doubt she’d get the nod, even if Palin dropped out.

  10. NotImpressed says:

    re: scarier…

    That is true. But it may be enough to bring Tea Party people to the caucuses and primaries like lemmings. I don’t know if any other candidate has Bachmann’s Tea Party cred. It should be fun to watch what happens.

  11. drfunguy says:

    I shall call her, ‘Mini-P’ [diabolical laugh]…

  12. Realist says:

    The caucuses carry a candidate only so far. Obama’s appeal was broad…the more you heard him, the more you tended to like him. Bachmann’s the opposite. The more you hear her, the less you tend to like her, unless you’re already that far out on the right end of the spectrum.

  13. Realist says:

    I shall call her, ‘Mini-P’ [diabolical laugh]…

    And donate to her campaign…one…million…dollars!

  14. NotImpressed says:

    Realist, I tend to agree with you. But I think it might underline the tensions between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party. When the GOP rejects Bachmann, there could be a revolt.

  15. drfunguy says:

    “This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, …”
    if only

  16. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Palin/Bachmann ’12

    Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please!!

  17. Mainer says:

    Bachmann/Palin 2012…………….and that sucking sound you shall hear will be the whole world sucking in their collective breath that they are about to see the end of civilization as we know it.

  18. shortchain says:

    I’m thinking that the GOP is not going to put either S. Palin or M. Bachmann at the top of their ticket. While they may poll high among some groups, the vast majority of GOP voters understand that ideology (or incoherent babble, a crazy-eyed stare, the ability to read a speech as written by someone else, or the ability to speak in tongues, which is what passes for ideology and intellect in these two) won’t get a person elected.

    I point out that John McCain was the nominee only 2 years ago. While the party has changed, I don’t think it has changed that much in just this brief interval.

    I expect one of these lightning-rods to be stuck into the VP slot — which, given their obvious inability to comprehend, let alone deal with, reality, would be dangerous enough.

    “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”.

    But don’t cry them, Stearns County or Wasilla, they’ll get by on speaking engagements and segue into their twilight of fame with plenty to live on and pass on to their posterity.

  19. Armchair Warlord says:

    If the Republicans run either of these nutcases Obama will carry Alaska.

  20. Monotreme says:

    CPAC Straw Poll results are out:

    Ron Paul – 30%
    Mitt Romney – 23%
    Gary Johnson – 6%
    Chris Christie – 6%
    Newt Gingrich – 5%
    Tim Pawlenty – 4%
    Michele Bachmann – 4%
    Mitch Daniels – 4%
    Sarah Palin – 3%
    Herman Cain – 2%
    Mike Huckabee – 2%
    Rick Santorum – 2%
    John Thune – 2%
    Jon Huntsman – 1%
    Haley Barbour – 1%

  21. drfunguy says:

    Go Ron Paul!
    Another potential source of a Dem landslide would be him at the top of the ticket.

  22. Mr. Universe says:

    Ron Paul eh? I thought this was a fluke the first time it happened at the last CPAC. Chalked it up to an overabundance of Paul fanatics. Maybe there’s more to it.

  23. Mainer says:

    Dad gum it Mono I wrote that whole long list down and you beat me to it on here. Some interesting babble in different corners already on this. From see, see, he be da man from Paul and Romney supporters to meaningless because Paul rigged/gamed the event (hmmmmm someone that can organize some thing……sure as hell don’t want him or they only voted for Romney as a second pick……..damn lot of seconds if that is true and what happened to their first pick, wasn’t there………..they had 15 to pick from how many do they want?)
    Ron Paul – 30% waaaa, waaa he gamed the system waaaaah waaah
    Mitt Romney – 23% Hmmmm he gets 23% of the vote and commentators have yet to be able to find one person there that voted for him.
    Gary Johnson – 6% Gary who? Oh I get it Ron Pauls VP.
    Chris Christie – 6% A VP vote if ever there was one.
    Newt Gingrich – 5% Newster just hang it up your political shelf life hath expired.
    Tim Pawlenty – 4% T’paw will have to do some serious spinning on this one to even begin to make it look not as bad as it is. Maybe that kamikazie senate run isn’t so bad after all, I mean it would keep him employed the next 2 years.
    Michele Bachmann – 4% Some one there should be tasked with finding who the 4% were and then determining if they were Democratic plants.
    Mitch Daniels – 4% Looks like a VP vote to me. Besides he would not look go on a speakers platform with either Palin or Bachmann that whole testosterone imbalance thing I guess. Them having………..nah.
    Sarah Palin – 3% Sarah the political wizzard strikes again. Stand by for nonstop tweets to explain this to the donor dutiful.
    Herman Cain – 2% Any one coming in below Cain (who the bloody hell is this? This is a joke right?)
    Mike Huckabee – 2% This one surprises but I guess this is the penalty for occasionally making sense and having a horrible case of premature jet lag.
    Rick Santorum – 2% Back in my frat days this would have been refered to as a mercy vote or some thing like that.
    John Thune – 2% Not sure this will even count as a VP vote guess he had better hope to move into Kyl’s leadership role…….and keep on hoping and hoping.
    Jon Huntsman – 1% Damn man it can’t be the Mormon thing looking at the rest of the results……..only explanation can be he must have Obama contagion.
    Haley Barbour – 1% Boss Hog came North to test the waters……..and discovered the Potomac is one cold bitch this time of year.

    As this list I think only adds up to 95% it is probable that Mickey Mouse or some one like him beat out as much as half the field.

    So now all we have left to look forward to is the keynote address. Oh that could be a barn burner.

  24. shortchain says:

    I think the 2012 campaign is going to be a case like the 2008 campaign in the Democratic Party. There’s going to be a surge by one of the relative unknowns, although, given the proclivities of the GOP base, it’s not all that hard to predict:

    a) It will be a white male. The GOP will toy with placing women and minorities in subservient positions or as showy substitutes for real diversity, but they’re just not a diverse bunch — and they’re not growing more diverse at present. Two of the three wings of the GOP, namely the fundamentalist Christians and the big-money folks (the Rove wing) won’t, at present, accept a minority or woman in the top spot.
    b) It will be a governor or ex-governor. The “love” of the GOP for folks with “executive experience” is really more of an obsession, like a user needs a drug. Besides, putting up a person without such “experience” against Obama would be an obvious rebuttal to one of their longest-running and (to them) effective criticisms about Obama.
    c) He will have a relatively small “footprint” that can be used against him. He will either still be in office or have left office because of term limits, not because he lost or quit.

    I’m looking at the list and I’d say that the CPAC attendees are, with a probability of about .95, doomed to suffer disappointment.

    Too bad.

  25. Monotreme says:

    Loved this quote from Charles Walcott, over at Politico’s Arena:

    Michele Bachmann will appeal to those who like Sarah Palin but wish she would be a little less intellectual. She will be as viable in 2012 as Dennis Kucinich was in 2008. She will have an eventful ten or fifteen minutes of fame and the media will love her for the same reason that kids love zoos.

  26. As Jean observantly noted, CNN reported today that Bachmann is forming a Presidential Exploratory Committee. Bachmann confirmed it on her Facebook page.

    I’m just shaking my head.

  27. mclever says:


    Michelle Bachmann?!

    Many of my liberal friends are practically giddy with anticipation of her campaign gaffes and idiotic utterances getting high-profile attention. Not me. She’s one of those candidates where I’ll admit to hoping she makes other Republicans look bad by association. But the entire time she’s running, I’ll be half-terrified that she might actually win until she finally drops out, and then I heave a huge sigh of relief.

    GWB was that candidate for me back in 2000, except he never dropped out…

  28. GWB was that candidate for me back in 2000, except he never dropped out…

    Likewise for me.

  29. Brian says:

    She’s one of those people that I will actually leave this country if she were to win. Most Republicans I don’t want to win, but I could still tolerate, she’s not one of them.

  30. Hassan says:

    GWB was that candidate for me back in 2000, except he never dropped out…
    I will never underestimate the possibility of a semi-literate POTUS again. I will never over-estimate the American voting public either.

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