By Alex Koppelman
July 16, 2009
We might not have Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to kick around for much longer. The congresswoman, who’s known primarily for her passionate — and bizarre — stances, and her conspiracy-minded thinking on everything from anti-American members of Congress to the Census, only won reelection by two  percentage points in 2008. Now, it seems like three Democrats will fight over the privilege of running against her in 2010.
Elwyn Tinklenberg, who lost a close one to Bachmann last time around, says he’s thinking about trying again. Maureen Reed, an Independence Party candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006, says she’s going to run for the Democratic nomination. And Minneapolis’ KSTP reports that Tarryl Clark, the assistant majority leader in Minnesota’s state senate, is planning to launch a campaign of her own. (Hat-tip to Political Wire.)
Someone like Clark, especially, would make a strong challenger. Plus, Bachmann might have embarrassed her district enough recently to become really vulnerable — in 2008, she didn’t make the famous “Hardball” appearance that breathed life into Tinklenberg’s campaign until mid-October, but he did still manage to come close to knocking her off.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee does here. If they really want Bachmann’s seat, they might try to clear the primary field for their preferred candidate, and will get ready to pour some money into the general election. But there is the question of whether they really want to get rid of Bachmann. Obviously, no one ever wants to forfeit a winnable race, but giving up that one seat might help the party win others elsewhere — Bachmann energizes Democrats all over the country, and can help them raise money outside her district. Plus, she can be used as a club against her fellow Republicans.
Alex Koppelman’s Salon.com article does not mention that Rep. Michele Bachmann, in addition to the three Democratic opponents named in his report, also faces a battle on a second front — a primary challenge from within the Republican Party.
I have not yet decided whether I will take Bachmann on again as a candidate in 2010, but I would not be surprised if other Republicans step up to tell Bachmann enough is enough.
Back to the Koppelman’s article, I must take issue with the substance of his final paragraph, in which he notes that the DCCC may not “really want to get rid of Bachmann,” who “energizes Democrats all over the country,” serves as “a club against her fellow Republicans,” and helps Democrats raise money “to win races elsewhere.”
I, like many of Bachmann’s outraged constituents, am offended when outside observers dismiss Bachmann as a mere embarrassment, cheap entertainment, a stealth weapon to relegate the GOP to permanent minority status, or a fundraising tool for Democrats. In my opinion, that is both short-sighted and a grave mistake.
Bachmann is not a buffoon, nor does she misspeak or make careless gaffes, as is the conventional wisdom. What she says — her extremist, inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and political paranoia – is what she truly believes.
The message I’ve tried to convey in my campaign is that Bachmann’s position of political power in high office amplifies her voice and incites a receptive audience of like-minded political extremists, some of whom may lack the clarity of mind, soundness of judgment, and emotional restraint necessary to refrain from acts of violence.
It’s irresponsible to tolerate Bachmann’s demagoguery and fear-mongering in return for the short-term benefits of national Democratic fundraising efforts and defeating Republicans outside Bachmann’s district.
When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
– Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
– Wendell Phillips (1811-1884)
Democrat prepared to fight for right to take on Bachmann
(CQ Politics, July 18, 2009)
Prospective Tinklenberg primary challenge will hand election to Bachmann (Dump Bachmann, July 18, 2009)
Elwyn Tinklenberg: “I endorse Bachmann for Congress”
(Greg Laden’s Blog, July 19, 2009)
Immelman vs. Bachmann: Year 2 (July 15, 2009)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — July 16, 2008
One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the second day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I discussed the challenges for a self-funded political outsider in setting up a campaign office, building a campaign organization, and introducing himself to voters.
You must be logged in to post a comment.