Feature

Why Democrats are sad about Michele Bachmann's retirement

The Tea Party firebrand was a favorite foil for liberals

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a Tea Party stalwart who made a failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, announced Wednesday that she wouldn't seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress next year. Bachmann narrowly beat challenger Jim Graves in 2012, and the well-funded Democrat was expected to have a good chance of ousting her in a 2014 rematch.

Bachmann, who is facing investigations into her presidential campaign's fundraising, said in a video announcing her decision that she wasn't leaving due to the pressure, while predicting that Democrats would gloat about her departure.

But will Democrats really be happy to see Bachmann go?

Democratic strategist James Carville, for one, says it's the other way around: Republicans will likely be "relieved" to see Bachmann go, while Democrats would view her farewell as a "sad day."

Indeed, says Reid Wilson at National Journal, liberals have delighted in using Bachmann as something of a bogeyman on issues ranging from abortion to taxes. She created headline-grabbing problems for her party, while failing to get much of anything done in Congress that furthered the conservative cause.

Bachmann may have been the loudest member of the class of 2006, the one who inspired the most heated arguments. But she will hardly be the most consequential; her enduring legacy may be the lessons she taught in how to lose friends and become completely uninfluential.

With her exit, Democrats lose a potent fundraising tool. Republicans lose a headache they would just as soon do without. [National Journal]

And here's Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly:

Like any left-of-center political writer, I've appreciated Bachmann's hijinks over the years, not just because of her ability to bring The Crazy like no one else, but because she really did complicate the lives of those who wanted to neatly divide today's radicalized conservative movement into secular and religious "wings," or treat the Tea Party as something new and different from yesterday's extremists. [Washington Monthly]

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