COMMENTARY | Unsatisfied with a career of numerous gaffes, lies, misdirections, half-truths, and misapplied statistics that could fill a small book, Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, that she was planning to run for her fourth term as a representative of Minnesota. Apparently, she's willing to turn a novella into a full-sized novel. But here's the thing, Minnesota: The rest of the nation would rather she filled that book as a civilian, outside the congressional offices on Capitol Hill.
Fresh off her futile candidacy for the GOP nomination for president (because if she thought she would be the next Republican nominee, she was one of the very few individuals that did), Bachmann has decided that inflicting the nation with her ethnocentric, jingoistic, homophobic, religiocentric positions and statements required getting paid at taxpayer expense to do so for another two years. But why give her the chance, Minnesota? It's not as if she's worth the price tag. Literally.
In the five years she has been in office, Bachmann has yet to see any bill she has sponsored, not that there have been that many, pass through Congress. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty pointed out this sad fact, an assertion that was backed up by Politifiact, just before he dropped out of the presidential race. And Bachmann has yet to sponsor any major or meaningful legislation, although she did make headlines with her firm defense of the right of companies to manufacture incandescent light bulbs. While she was running for president, she neglected her duties as a paid representative of the people. According to GovTrack.us, the Minnesota congresswoman missed 335 House votes out of 455 taken on various measures between July and December.
While she was running around Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina looking for windmills that exist only in her head (like preserving the sanctity of marriage and defending the U. S. against the Soviet Union) and missing votes that affect not just the people of Minnesota but people in the other 49 states and five territories as well, she was paid half of her yearly congressional salary of $174,000.
For what? To tell the country that she embodied the spirit of a serial killer? Invoke the fears of inoculation by telling the story of a woman whose child suffered retardation after being vaccinated against the humanopapilloma virus (HPV)? Rewrite history to make the Founding Fathers champions of abolition (when they wrote slavery into the Constitution) and then argue to defend the position by elevating John Quincy Adams to the position of Founder when he was just a teen at the time? To make up her own facts about President Obama -- like the easily fact-checked assertion that he had only allowed one offshore drilling permit in his presidency when he had in fact issued hundreds? Allow oil and natural gas drilling in the Everglades, south Florida's main water supply? Pray away the gay?
Sure, she's the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. A lot of good that's done the nation as well, leading a contingent of obstructionist do-nothings in a legislative body full of right-wing and left-wing politicians who already barely do anything. She's part of and partially responsible for the lowest approval rating (per Gallup) Congress has ever had.
But the people of Minnesota can change all that. They can vote her out of office. Her district, the 6th Congressional, is having its boundaries redrawn for the upcoming 2012 election. But that shouldn't matter. Regardless of its constituency, Republicans should ensure that she does not even represent their party once the state primary is held.
Don't let her add more pages of gaffes and ridiculous statements to that already prodigious book...
Bachmann has proved to be an embarrassment not only to the people of Minnesota but to the nation. Although she has been a non-creative and ineffectual legislator, her votes and her connections influence positions and policies on matters that affect every individual in the United States, not to mention policies that affect dealings with other nations. From the state that gave us statesmen like Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, a better representative can be found.
Save yourself from further embarrassment, people of Minnesota. Make certain Bachmann does not return for a fourth term.