“Our phones have been ringing off the hook. Our Facebook has been lit up. Our donations are pouring in, and people are saying: ‘Michele, jump in. We want you to run.’ … We had announced earlier that we would be looking at a June entry date for a decision — one way or another — about this race. Possibly we may move that up.”
— Rep. Michele Bachmann, in a Fox News telephone interview Tuesday, May 17, 2011
If the Tea Party favorite has one recurring theme, it’s that she often wins by losing
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks during the Conservative Principles Conference, in Des Moines, Iowa on March 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Charlie Neibergall / AP)
By Brian Bakst
May 16, 2011
Excerpts with links to related reports on this site
She stands ready to shake up the GOP race either by running herself, with a decision expected by June, or influencing those who do get in.
Tea Party hero
The race would test her resilience because she would start far back. But as a little-known House member only a few years ago, Bachmann became hero of the conservative Tea Party movement in part by fighting losing battles with the GOP establishment. Her path to Congress was paved by failed efforts to pass a ban on gay marriage in the Minnesota Legislature. …
Some Republicans fret about her propensity to freelance and question whether she’d appeal to a broad voter base. Democrats who have opposed her warn that she’s politically adept and not to be taken lightly.
“If you go attend a town meeting, she’s normal, she’s articulate, she’s a mother, she’s thoughtful. She can play the part,” said Ted Thompson, a Democrat defeated by Bachmann in a state legislative race.
From her first involvement in politics, the 55-year-old Bachmann has shown a determination to keep pressing forward and find opportunities, even when the way seemed blocked.
In the late 1990s, Bachmann was a stay-at-home mother of five in Stillwater, a scenic St. Croix River town east of St. Paul. …
Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, were members of a theologically conservative Lutheran denomination, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. She was trained as a lawyer at the faith-driven Oral Roberts University. …
‘She’s an energizer’
Early on, Bachmann showed potential as an articulate and magnetic speaker, said Bill Pulkrabek, a Republican leader …
“People had been predicting her demise since Day One: ‘Oh, she’s a radical, she’s too far right, she’s too outspoken, she’s too inflammatory,’” Pulkrabek said. “The fact of the matter is, with the exception of the first race, she wins.”
Parlaying her school board defeat into a victorious legislative campaign, she moved to the state Senate and seized on a new issue.
Around Thanksgiving 2003, justices in Massachusetts ruled the commonwealth couldn’t prevent same-sex marriage. Bachmann hit the phones, reaching out to fellow conservatives about making sure gay marriage would stay illegal in Minnesota.
Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, was among those summoned by Bachmann to the Capitol just days later to begin pushing for a state constitutional amendment clearly stating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. …
“She’s an energizer. She influences people around her,” [Jeff] Davis said. The drive instantly elevated Bachmann’s political profile, he said. “It was a launch point.”
Bachmann didn’t waver even when her lesbian stepsister went public with her feelings that Bachmann’s effort was “hurtful to me and so many others.”
Although the measure foundered, Bachmann could draw on her enhanced standing with social conservatives to shoot past more seasoned Republicans when a seat in Congress opened ahead of the 2006 election.
Bachmann’s victory in that race brought her to the national stage and prompted a new focus on fiscal issues. She harnessed the outrage of the Tea Party, a fledgling political force inflamed by debates over government bailouts and a far-reaching health law pursued by President Barack Obama.
Her outspoken opposition did not stop the health law, but it got her much more television exposure and helped make her a face of the new resistance. In one Fox News interview, Bachmann urged viewers to flood Washington and “go up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, ‘Don’t take away my health care.’” …
In January, Bachmann delivered a Tea Party response to Obama’s State of the Union address. In some quarters, the speech was seen as an affront to the official GOP response given by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman. Bachmann unsuccessfully campaigned for a spot in leadership in the weeks after the GOP won back control of the House.
Bachmann shrugged off the defeat in a recent Associated Press interview.
“That’s life isn’t it? Sometime life takes interesting turns,” she said, while adding, “I think from a governing point of view, I think for my political party it would be very good to have that view represented at the table.”
Related reports on this site
Bachmann Running for President (March 24, 2011)
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is likely to form an exploratory committee to run for president in 2012. (Photo credit: Melina Mara / Washington Post)
GOP ‘Resentful’ of Bachmann (Nov. 9, 2010)
Rep. Michele Bachmann / Rep. John Boehner
Michele Bachmann Up-Close (Sept 6, 2010)
The Real Trouble with Bachmann (July 21, 2010)
Michele Bachmann is the modern face of an emerging brand of American protofascism being spawned by the “perfect storm” of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the election of America’s first African-American president.
Bachmann Stunt Back to Roots (Nov. 1, 2009)
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