What Michele Bachmann’s Retirement Means

Since the BBC is covering the story I must assume that everybody in the world is now aware that Michele Bachmann announced that she won’t be seeking reelection to Congress:

“The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years,” Mrs Bachmann said in an eight-and-a-half minute video posted to her website on Wednesday morning.

“And in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for any individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.”

Many members of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) are jumping for joy because they believe Bachmann’s retirement removes a powerful Republican player from the field. I believe they are incorrect. Bachmann simply said she wasn’t seeking reelection in the 6th congressional district, which means she could still pursue a run for the Senate. I’m doubtful that Bachmann will seek another office simply because I’m guessing her recent announcement has something to do with the recent ethics investigation of her campaign. If her announcement was influenced by dirt dug up by the investigation I can’t see it not also preventing her from making a Senate or governor run.

Even if she doesn’t run for another political office the field has been changed greatly. I’m guessing Bachmann will seek a job as a lobbyist, adviser, or consultant with a major politically connected corporation. What’s worrisome about such a move is that she would actually gain the ability to change things politically. While Bachmann was insane she was also politically impotent, which is a fact seldom considered by political types that hate her. Personally I would rather have Bachmann in a position where should could loudly express her opinions but remained unable to act on them then being in a position where she will likely be quieter but gain the power to influence politicians. The real political power doesn’t lie within Congress, it lies within the lobbyists who buy congressmen.

Most of what I wrote above was speculation but what I’m going to write now is hard fact. The DFL are stoked because they think Bachmann’s exit is a guaranteed victory for Jim Graves, the person who ran against her last election cycle. It’s not. In fact the chances of Graves winning are probably lower now than they were when Bachmann was his leading opponent. To quote Sun Tzu, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” The DFL knew Bachmann and therefore had a better chance of fighting her. Now they don’t know their enemy. Republicans in the 6th district may elect one of the most charismatic individuals in the area to run against Graves. Instead of having years of Bachmann’s statements to use against her in a campaign the DFL will have to wait until a candidate is elected and dig up dirt on him or her and hope they find something good (especially when you consider the 6th district’s habit of leaning Republican). A powerful player was removed from the field but it is not know if another, potentially more, powerful player will be replace her.

It could be an interesting race if you’re into politics.