Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The Michele Bachmann Denouement
Very early today we learned via email that Rep. Michele Bachmann had decided not to run for reelection in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. Anyone who said they got a heads up about this news is simply lying.
The reaction in Minnesota was typical and frenzied. The reaction nationally was typical and frenzied. Suddenly all of political life seemed exceptionally stupid. I spent most of the day next to my friend and client Andy Parrish, who, as twice chief of staff for Bachmann, was in high demand by the media. He, we, were both criticized on the Twitter by those without a clue for doing so. Validation by the stupid is both depressing and reassuring.
I can't imagine what it must be like to live in Minnesota and care what others think about you. This sets me apart. I watch what other people think about what other people think about them. I'm clinical about it now.
The Bachmann exodus from next year's race sets up a host of possibilities for republicans. Initial reactions were not reassuring. Those who had thought of running in CD 6 as a secondary or tertiary consideration now had that race advanced substantially in their thinking, if only to decline it.
Mostly, however, it emboldened the worst among my party to think that they, too, could be a Congressman. Even granting that the bar is low, what I saw today challenged my gag reflex.
First, though, why announce now? I have my theories, none of which violate attorney-client confidences. Bachmann bought a modest buy of airtime a few weeks back. Mostly that was seen as a sign she was running again and a warning to lesser talent not to challenge her in a primary. I'm amused by the idea we possessed any republicans at all with the onions to challenge this woman. We don't. To do so might even be considered mean.
Clearly something substantive has happened between that ad buy and today. Yet only Steve Perry of Politics In Minnesota asked me that question directly out of all the media calls I had today. I hope the story he writes isn't paywalled because sometimes you need a reason to get people to subscribe. The usual free PIM usually doesn't do that. But I'm no expert on their business model; maybe once in a while they could make an exception to it? For good business reasons, too, actually.
Bachmann fears legal consequences sometime down the road. View her video again: notice the not subtle segue from political blather to legalese, probably written by her $20,000 per month attorney William McGinley at Patton Boggs. Between the ad buy and this retirement announcement did he receive a "notice" letter from the FBI? That notice letter would have put him and his client on, well, notice that she was now a target or subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.
This is rank speculation on my part. I have no knowledge or information to support my hypothesis. But, as Joseph Heller once titled a book, "Something Happened." A better book, by the way, than his famous "Catch 22."
Now then, to the grasping attempting the greasy pole.
Like so many Braudels of the French school of history, the Annales, local media counted. Look, look, they can count! How they can count and who! They made lists, yes, lists and this passed for journalism but time was short and local media are the definition of Minnesotans who care what others think about them. Especially within their own, dead, self-referential world.
Ken Martin, the DFL in general, Carrie Lucking, so many others did themselves no favors in their glee to see Bachmann leave. I'm completely undercut by their conduct when I say to my fellow republicans that we should at least get to know each other a bit. Well, given what was tweeted today, where's the attraction in that? I really do want to lead, with the help of the sublime Amy Koch, a contingent of republicans to next year's Minn Post Roast. I'm hoping this is forgotten by then. Yes, yes, politics ain't bean bag but don't whine when my side questions media objectivity or the marital status of Carrie. & to whom. I keep looking for a circuit breaker to this nonsense but I've not yet found it.
On a national note, one would have thought Bachmann had inserted a cigar into the vagina of her intern, taken it out, put it in her mouth and said "Mmm. Tastes good."
No, this man they praise, Bill Clinton, who did precisely that. Media wonders why they're hated?
On to the list of possibles:
1. Tom Emmer: said by some to be a field clearer. Mostly by those not paying attention. Yes, you can trot out the 2010 results but so what? So incompetent a candidate he could not beat Mark Dayton. But hey, you people are dumb enough to vote for Michele, why not me? That, in essence, is his campaign appeal. Don't kid yourselves: Emmer makes Jim Graves competitive. He should stick to saving David Fitzsimmons from the crazies.
2. Phil Krinkie: not even voters in the 6th are dumb enough to vote for him. No, a thousand times.
3. Amy Koch: yes. Friend. Client. Friend. She should run. Believe that it happens & it happens.
4. Tim Sanders: who? No.
5. Michelle Benson: great woman. Already said to have said no because of her young child.
6. Peggy Scott: no. We don't need a mini-me Bachmann candidate, thanks just the same. After tip credit Emmer, probably Jim Graves' favorite opponent.
7. Rhonda Sivarajah: I'm old enough to remember when Sue Jeffers said she couldn't pronounce Rhonda's last name. Rhonda is the best candidate we can field. The same stupid, ineffectual people who maligned Parrish for doing media today probably want a purity candidate. That candidate just retired, having come within 4300 votes of losing. Thanks but we're not going to pay attention to you.
8. Matt Dean: his wife's money isn't particular about the uses to which it is put. Matt's for sale.
9. Pete Hegseth: no. Still looking for someone to be somewhere, he has yet to digest the lessons of his loss in the senate race of 2010. The same people looking for work with him, their collective poor judgement, their sycophancy. That he can't tell a friend from a leech is troubling but I know something of this particular blindspot. That said, no Pete. Stop being a construct. You'll know which race is yours; you won't have to be talked into it.
10. Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer: Close but no cigar. OK not really but no. If I have to explain you don't follow Minnesota politics closely enough.
11. Pat Shortridge: that name made me laugh! He was crazy enough to be MNGOP Chair and thank you for that! Running in the 6th? You don't know Pat.
Where are we now, to quote the 66 year old David Bowie? I think we are in a state of enormous flux with early conventional wisdom the least credible.
Why is that?
Because I believe that the race in CD 6 is a definitive moment for republicans in Minnesota.
Not the same old stale men with their mediocre record of accomplishment only their wives can applaud.
No, republicans should nominate a woman to replace a woman in CD 6. I'm hardly a quota person but there is always a certain inherent logic to some things.
This is one of them. The race belongs to a woman.
Which one shall we pick?