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January 04, 2012 11:30 AM Bachmann exits stage right

By Steve Benen

So long, Michele, we knew you all too well.

Rep. Michele Bachmann is suspending her presidential campaign, said a senior Republican official with direct knowledge of the lawmaker’s plans. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Minnesota lawmaker, a favorite of the tea party wing of the party and a harsh critic of President Obama, realized after her sixth-place finish in Iowa’s caucuses that “there was no viable way forward.” By suspending her campaign, Bachmann is effectively dropping out.

After having won the Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann finished with just 5% support last night.

Time will tell where Bachmann’s remaining supporters go, but it’s unlikely they’ll gravitate towards Mitt Romney. Indeed, the fact that the GOP field is shrinking at all is not what Romney wants to see. As we discussed earlier, because the former governor’s support in his party is so limited, Romney benefits greatly from as large a field as possible — the more the anti-Romney vote is divided among many candidates, the easier it is for him.

But putting all of that aside, as the Minnesotan leaves the presidential campaign trail, it’s worth pausing to appreciate how absurd it is that Bachmann sought the Republican presidential nomination in the first place.

The unhinged lawmaker is arguably the most ridiculous person in Washington. She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says crazy things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma. Even as the Republican Party leaps off a right-wing cliff, Bachmann stands out for her unique brand of madness.

Even in a radicalized party and the most extreme House majority caucus in generations, Bachmann stands out as one of Congress’ most loony-tunes members. To put it gently, she’s stark raving mad.

That there was a point in this race at which Bachmann was actually taken seriously as a candidate for national office is a national embarrassment.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • schtick on January 04, 2012 11:34 AM:

    You sure she isn't from Idaho?


    crapcha....redcts situation....you mean rednecks.

  • MuddyLee on January 04, 2012 11:36 AM:

    WHO contributed money to her campaign? The Koch brothers?
    Walmart heirs? Home Depot owner? It would be nice to know who to boycott.

  • Alan Tomlinson on January 04, 2012 11:37 AM:

    She did say a miracle would happen; perhaps she meant that she would shut up.

    Cheers,

    Alan Tomlinson

  • the seal on January 04, 2012 11:37 AM:

    dang, I truly thought we would get to see at least one moment of unhinged spectacle (google *bathroom gate*). But no mention about running for reelection to MNCD6. Sniff, sure am going to miss her.

  • hells littlest angel on January 04, 2012 11:38 AM:

    May she find her true calling -- standing on a street corner in a soiled robe, ranting about "Obamacare."

  • c u n d gulag on January 04, 2012 11:38 AM:

    And now, back to the House and to the other Republican "Know Nothings" on the InTheTellyGent's Committee - where she's still trying to figure out how they get all of those people into something as small as a TV set.

    Magic, Michele - magic...

  • Danp on January 04, 2012 11:41 AM:

    I was looking forward to her bringing her fried butter revival tent to West Virginia. She coulda been a contenda.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 04, 2012 11:42 AM:

    I won't be satisfied until she's also kicked/voted out the House... and off the TV... and nowhere near a microphone... I don't even want to see or hear her speaking through the open end of a rolled up newspaper. The world would really be a much better place without knowledge of her existence. Things have certainly started to turn around since Sarah Palin disappeared...

  • Skip on January 04, 2012 11:55 AM:

    It's just as well. That she had such committed religious views was her business but they conflicted with her supposed ability to lead a free melting pot nation. I am well versed in the Bible, and as a woman she is acting in accordance with it's instructions to take second place to the man in the household. I can't imagine to whom she'd taken second place in the White House. The options are too many and too sinister. That was my biggest fear about her. Sadly, I think Michelle too clearly showed her inner conflict between the dictates of her religion and the realities of being given so much power.

    Just so I am not misunderstood, I compare Michelle Bachmann to Condi Rice who as a black conservative woman of faith, could step into the Oval Office and, I feel, effectively lead this nation without such conflict. There are many strong women who can walk the line between faith and leadership, unfortunately Michelle Bachmann did not appear to be one of them.

  • T2 on January 04, 2012 11:55 AM:

    "a favorite of the tea party wing of the party" Really? Then why did she finish 6th, with at least 2 TeaParty types running in front of her? I think Michele is a bit delusional. She never was anything but a Palin stand-in.

  • stinger on January 04, 2012 11:55 AM:

    Thankfully, this seems to mean the end of the Tea Party. One election too late, however.

    "endscut sin" Oops, maybe not!

  • TCinLA on January 04, 2012 11:59 AM:

    A big huzzah to Sgt. Gym Bunny - may we never see her again asap.

    Interesting note: Mittens in 2012 got almost the exact same number of votes in Iowa to "win" that he got in 2008 when he came in second. TPM has an interesting analysis of how it changed internally (he lost the serious conservatives in the west of the state, who went to Little Ricky). Saw an interesting take: "Mitt Romney in dead heat with a man in a sweater vest."

    The Clown Car Circus continues.

  • Ladyhawke on January 04, 2012 12:03 PM:

    MICHELE BACHMANN'S WORD SALAD

    Her long and rambling speech today was very reminiscent of Sarah Palin. It was a word salad seasoned to taste with lots of OBAMACARE sprinkled throughout. It was words, soundbites, and talking points strung together - not in any particular order.

  • Texas Aggie on January 04, 2012 12:07 PM:

    "She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says crazy things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma. "

    The Dunning-Kruger effect is the inability of people who are completely clueless and inept to realize just how bad they are. A corollary is that people who are very good at something don't realize just how good they are since they assume that everyone else can do it, too.

    I submit that Crazy Eyes in a classic example of the former.

  • RollaMO on January 04, 2012 12:09 PM:

    I will miss sweet Marcus the most.

  • tufdaawg on January 04, 2012 12:10 PM:

    so, Steve, tell us what you really think about Michelle Bachmann.

  • Anonymous on January 04, 2012 12:16 PM:

    She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says crazy things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma.

    As opposed to Santorum who merely proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories, routinely says crazy things on national television and has a worldview comparable to someone who's suffered a serious head trauma-- or,

    Gingrich who proudly invents new bizarre conspiracy theories of his very own, routinely says crazy things on national television and has a world view comparable to someone who's suffered a serious head trauma-- or,

    Perry who proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories, routinely says cataclysmically stupid things on national television; can't even muster the mental wattage to do a decent job of pretending to grasp public policies he doesn't understand and, apparently has, in fact, suffered a serious head trauma--or,

    Romney who never saw a bizarre conspiracy theory he wouldn't embrace if he thought the particular audience he had would like it; routinely says crazy things on national television; pretends to grasp public policies he doesn’t understand in long Washington Post and New York Times editorials; and has a worldview comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious psychological trauma of some kind--or

    Ron Paul who . . . well, actually not seeing anything in that description that doesn't apply to Paul except the gender pronoun.

  • Crusty the Clown on January 04, 2012 12:22 PM:

    Ahem. Mr. Benen seems fond of saying things like "her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma." I have a very good friend who was hit by a car three years ago and suffered severe TBI with spastic hemiparesis, homonomous hemianopsia, and post-traumatic seizures. CT scans show large voids in frontal and temporal lobes. He states, "I may have been hit by an SUV, and I may have lost ten or fifteen percent of my brain mass, but I still know that Rush Limbaugh is a fat, pompous asshole."

    Perhaps Mr. Benen should find another phrase with which to describe bat-shit-crazy Republicans, one which is more accurate and doesn't insult people with disabilities.

  • Matt on January 04, 2012 12:25 PM:

    I'm going to miss her!

    Seriously, though, I feel like a spoiled kid with all these shiny toys, and I only get mad when the one I'm not even playing with is taken away.

  • Molly Weasley on January 04, 2012 12:31 PM:

    BUT GOD TOLD HER TO RUN!

    And I think she has some competition in the "craziest nutcase in Congress" category. I nominate Steve King of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

  • DAY on January 04, 2012 12:35 PM:

    "Are we having fun yet?"
    - HELL, YES! And have been for months and months. Days of our Lives and All My Children are losing market share day by day.
    Please, Sir, can we have some more?

  • Jon on January 04, 2012 12:38 PM:

    This represents a disconcerting and entirely unusual display of good sense by the GOP faithful.

  • bigtuna on January 04, 2012 12:39 PM:

    I know several people with brain trauma injuries. With all seriousness, your comment was beneath you, Steve. I think this is some very unkind language that should not be used.

  • Rick on January 04, 2012 12:50 PM:

    I suspect that Bachmann is just the most conspicuous nut in the current crop of congresscritters. Virginia Fox and Louie Gohmert can probably give her a run for her money. Any others come to mind?

  • Josh on January 04, 2012 1:02 PM:

    ... And another weapons-grade lunatic falls out of the GOP clown car. Sounds like she'll have to find her own way back to Toontown.

  • Coop on January 04, 2012 1:06 PM:

    One of my favorites is her repeated claim that she is "not a politician". Huh? Then why are we spending hundreds of thousands (or millions?) of dollars a year on her salary, her office, her aides' salaries...?

  • Old Uncle Dave on January 04, 2012 1:30 PM:

    there was a point in this race at which Bachmann was actually taken seriously as a candidate for national office"

    I find that hard to believe. I know some tv talking heads pretended to take her seriously, but when the cameras were off, they laughed about it.

  • Christiaan on January 04, 2012 1:35 PM:

    "and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma."

    Please don't insult Gaby Giffords.

  • g on January 04, 2012 1:48 PM:

    Her speech today was a whole bag o' crazy!

  • Bj smith on January 04, 2012 3:01 PM:

    Poor John Mc Cain, he has to live with the fact he made people of her ilk viable.

  • Tripp on January 04, 2012 6:04 PM:

    I live in MN, and I have endured extensive Bachmann coverage for a long time now. I am very happy to get her off the stage, thank you very much.

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