By Rachel Weiner
44 Politics and Policy blog
November 8, 2010
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) campaign for a leadership spot in the new Congress seems to be floundering as establishment Republicans close ranks around her opponent.
On Monday, the outspoken conservative posted online the letter she sent to colleagues announcing her bid for Republican conference chairman.
“Over the past four years, I have fought continually (and at some cost) for the principals [sic] of constitutional conservatism,” she wrote. “To our Conference I bring strong principled conservative values, a proven level of experience, effectiveness with our friends in the local and national media, and an energetic national constituency that reflects the results of Tuesday night. It is important that our Conference demonstrate to the people who sent us here that their concerns will be tirelessly advanced at the table of leadership.
In an interview with the Daily Caller, she emphasized her tea party ties as a selling point. “I think, quite frankly, that the new leadership going forward needs to reflect the result of last Tuesday’s election,” she said. “The Tea Party is really made up of people who oppose the Obama, Reid, Pelosi election and many of them are apolitical and independent. I really believe that that voice needs and deserves to have a place at the table.” In a second letter to congressional Republicans sent Monday, she again pushed the idea that making her conference chair would “ensure that all voices within the Republican Party are heard.”
But The Hill’s Jordan Fabian points out that while rival Rep. Jeb Hensarling was put on the GOP’s transition team, Bachmann wasn’t. (Two tea party winners — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Tim Scott of South Carolina — were included.) House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has endorsed Hensarling. Presumptive Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and outgoing Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are behind him too.
As Perry Bacon wrote last week, Bachmann raised more money than any other House candidate this cycle — her $11 million topped even Boehner’s total. But some Republicans are getting annoyed with Bachmann for using the tea party mantle.
“Members are getting resentful of Bachmann, who they say is making the argument that you’re not really a Tea Party supporter unless you support her. That’s gone through the formation of the Tea Party Caucus and the formation of this candidacy of hers. It’s just not so,” one aide told the Hill. Sarah Palin has declined to endorse Bachmann, who she campaigned with earlier this year. And Dick Armey, leader of the tea party-funding group Freedomworks, defended Hensarling on Sunday as “not an establishment guy.”
Bachmann says that no matter who wins, there won’t be a rift in the caucus.
“Well, I’m a big girl and I think other members of Congress are big girls,” she told the Daily Caller. “I’ll make my case and I fully trust the vote of the people I serve with.”
Update: Hotline has a running whip count of public support for both candidates.
Related: View the letter Bachmann sent to her GOP colleagues asking for their support to be Conference Chair.
Are Boehner and Cantor freezing out the Tea Party?
(James Downie, The New Republic, Nov. 8, 2010)
Bachmann’s bid to move up in House makes GOP leaders nervous
(Derek Wallbank, MinnPost, Nov. 8, 2010)
Nov. 8, 2010
The leadership posts awarded to Minnesota’s senior Republican congressional delegation will say much about the GOP’s priorities as it takes back control of the U.S. House. …
[P]utting the polarizing, style-over-substance Rep. Michele Bachmann in any kind of leadership position would send exactly the wrong message and would damage Republicans’ credibility. Bachmann, just elected to her third term in the state’s north-suburban Sixth District, is running for the GOP’s No. 4 leadership position in the U.S. House: the GOP Conference Chair.
Bachmann is a legislative lightweight whose priority has been Fox News appearances — not authoring substantive bills or helping her hard-pressed district. During her time in the Minnesota state Senate, she was known for her antigay histrionics — not any actual accomplishments. Bachmann is not qualified to hold the influential post that helped launch the careers of other GOP heavy-hitters, including former President Gerald Ford; former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Jack Kemp, Dick Armey and John Boehner. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence is the current House Conference Chair. Duties include crafting the party’s message, acting as its spokesperson and running party meetings. …
Bachmann has specialized in nothing but campaign flame-throwing and falsehoods, the most recent of which is the ridiculous claim that President Obama spent $200 million a day on his trip to India. Her 40-plus appearances on Fox News since the beginning of the year also raise a logistical question: How would she have time for additional House leadership responsibilities? Her time is spent caucusing with Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
Bachmann’s own party leaders — including Pence, House RepublicanWhip Eric Cantor and likely Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — are endorsing her opponent for the Conference Chair position — Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. They know she’s not qualified. That Bachmann thinks she is raises further questions about her judgment.
Rep. Bachmann shown during an interview with MSNBC on election night. (Photo: Bill Kelley / MinnPost)
By Derek Wallbank
Nov. 10, 2010
WASHINGTON — Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped her leadership bid late Wednesday, endorsing her former challenger Jeb Hensarling for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.
The move ended the House Tea Party Caucus founder’s week-long campaign for the No. 4 spot in the House GOP leadership and came hours after a report that Hensarling was close to securing the votes needed for the job.
“Jeb Henserling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair,” Bachmann said in a statement. “Jeb has demonstrated his commitment to limited government, reduced spending and lower taxes and he will be a strong voice for the Tea Party’s call for these values.
“I look forward to continuing my consistent support of the Tea Party. I plan to advance the Tea Party ideals through their listening arm, the Tea Party Caucus. It is my wish to bring new faces to the caucus, including freshmen members.” …
House Republican leaders had been quick to line up behind Hensarling and sent strong signals that their decision was not only about who they wanted, but who they didn’t want. In her statement, Bachmann attempted to patch any cracks in the relationship by endorsing likely Speaker John Boehner by name:
“The new Congress will have great opportunities to lead our country into the direction our founders intended. I spoke with Mr. Boehner and other members of leadership and I am convinced they will wholeheartedly work towards the issues the American people are calling for such as fiscal responsibility, ending the bailouts and repealing Obamacare.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — November 9, 2009
One year ago today, I reported on the 7th anniversary of the unsolved disappearance of St. John’s University student Joshua Guimond. On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009, Josh’s family and supporters convened near the site of Josh’s disappearance for a “Justice for Josh” march to raise public awareness of their son’s plight, after which they delivered a petition for renewed efforts in the search to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday evening, the family held a prayer service and candlelight vigil at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake, Minn. Link to video reports of the day’s events.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — November 9, 2008
Two years ago today, on Nov. 9, 2008, I reported that Shiite clerics were warning the Iraqi government not to sign a security pact that would keep U.S. troops in Iraq until 2012. Meanwhile, referring to President-elect Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said she was “extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year,” calling Obama’s victory “a tremendous signal we sent.”
Bachmann suddenly an Obama supporter (MSNBC Countdown, Nov. 7, 2008) – After Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., became infamous for calling for investigations of anti-Americanism in Congress and Barack Obama in particular, she now speaks as though she’s been an Obama supporter all along. Keith Olbermann names her the “Worst Person in the World.” (02:25)
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