Jim Graves, the candidate who almost beat Michele Bachmann in her bid for re-election to Congress last year, has suspended his campaign.
I do hope he re-enters the race when Bachmann changes her mind and decides to run again!
Here’s the letter from Graves:
This is the most difficult message I’ve ever had to write.
A year ago, we set out on a mission: To restore civility, functionality and honesty to Washington by removing Michele Bachmann from office. Her hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies fueled an extremist movement unlike anything we’d seen in a long time. The tone it created was a poison pill that crippled Congress, preventing government from performing its most basic duties, like passing a budget.
Over this past year, I’ve never been more inspired. Thousands and thousands and thousands of you stepped up to the plate and sacrificed – your time, your money, your energy – to make our country a better place. Your passion will be etched into my memory forever.
This week, we learned that we succeeded. We set out to defeat Rep. Bachmann, and that has been accomplished. You should feel incredibly proud. After all, it was the grassroots movement you built that kept the pressure on and forced Rep. Bachmann from her seat in Congress.
I’ll never be able to thank you enough for being part of this team. But after struggling with this decision – agonizing over it with my friends, supporters and family, I’ve decided to suspend my campaign indefinitely.
As I said, I’ve never faced a more difficult decision. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and dedication.
Your friendship means the world to my family and me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
As you know, Michele Bachmann, Congressperson for Minnesota’s Sixth District, has announced that she will not seek re-election to her seat in Washington DC.
Bachmann almost lost her re-election to challenger Jim Graves last year. I’m convinced that had the election been held a few weeks later, Graves would have won. Recently, internal polling data from within Bachmann’s campaign became known, and showed that as of a couple of weeks ago Bachmann was actually behind Graves. Bachmann’s response to this polling was an ad buy; the Bachmann campaign started up early with local ads, clearly indicating one thing and strongly suggesting another. For one, Bachmann had decided to run for re-election as of several days ago. She bought campaign ads. That’s pretty clear. Two weeks ago or less, Michele Bachmann was a candidate for re-election to the sixth district and was spending money on that campaign. This is a fact that must be taken into account in figuring out what is going on. The second thing this indicated was that she was nervous about the polling data and felt compelled to start early.
Then, suddenly, she announced that she would not be running. You don’t decide to run for re-election and actually craft campaign ads and buy air time for the ads and put on the air if you are not running. “I’m Michele Bachmann and I approved this message” means, very clearly, that she was in fact running for re-election. Why, then, did she suddenly stop running for re-election? Even with poor polling numbers, this does not make sense. The polling numbers were not abysmal. She was about five points behind, very close to the margin of error. This is not a number that in and of itself would recommend abandoning a campaign. Also, the numbers were known to her campaign before the ad buy.
There are two other possible explanations for her withdraw, I think. One is that something bad is about to happen and she is bugging out before that occurs. The other is that she noticed that there was another office up for election and has decided to run for it. Let’s examine those two possible explanations.
Someone from Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign team stole an email list off of Barb Heki’s laptop. This list was from the evangelical home school organization for which Heki played a leadership role… She sued.
Today, the court scheduled the trial.
… and later that day Bachmann made her video bowing out of the campaign.
There are other problems. The FBI is looking into Bachmann’s campaign, for instance. So, it is reasonable to guess that another shoe … related to any one of the pending law suits or investigations … is about to drop, and it is not a dainty ballet slipper but rather one of those big-ass Mickey Mouse boots the Arctic division of the Airborne Army wears when they jump out of airplanes onto glaciers.
A second explanation is that Bachmann noticed that the Junior Senator from the State of Minnesota, Al Franken, is up for re-election and, at the time she made her plans to announce her withdraw, had no serious challengers. This is the preferred explanation among local Minnesota pundits. Why? Not because it is the best explanation, but because it is the coolest explanation. Al Franken only barely won his seat during the last election, but there are very specific reasons for that, and these reasons simply don’t apply today. Senator Franken went from never having held elected office to being one of the most respected and effective Senators in Washington. How did he do that? He is a) very sincere about his public service and b) very smart. Well, also, his hard work and the excellent support from his family and staff and all that too. Bottom line: The people of Minnesota understand that Al Franken is a great senator and he will be re-elected.
Al Franken isn’t just a great Senator, but he is also one of those guys we watch for the entertainment value, and I’m not referring here to his earlier career as a comedian satirist. Have you seen him in action? Here’s an example. I would not have wanted to have been a grasshopper living in Little Al Franken’s yard when he was a little boy in Ednia, Minnesota.
That was Subtle Al. Here’s another:
Here’s Al with a very smart witness trying to trip him up. Starts at about 1:27:
Not in chambers, about Fox, and reforming our Math education system at the same time:
And here is Al Franken eating a lawyer before lunch:
For comparison, here is Michele Bachmann:
Can you imagine it? A Franken-Bachmann campaign? Pure Political Squeee. Bwahahaha to the Nth power.
So, you can see that no matter how unlikely it may be that Michele Bachmann would actually have quit her seat in the house in order to run against Al Franken, we insist on keeping it on the table as a possibility because, well, it is something to live for.
There is a third possible explanation for Michele Bachmann’s withdraw; A better offer from Fox or some other corporation. This has been suggested by various commenters but I think it unlikely. Yes, expect such a thing to occur at some time in the future, but I believe that Bachmann truly sees herself as a savior of The Constitution and will generally act with that motivation before other considerations. Of course, the first and third explanations can be linked. If she is facing high costs from impending legal battles, bowing out and getting a nice contract with Faux News would be the thing to do.
Finally, I would like to express my great relief that Bachmann is bowing out. It has been a great burden to me … as the person who got her political career started, feeling responsible all these years for having created this particular horror. Now, finally, I’ll be able to sleep nights.
Michele Bachmann is currently serving her last term and will not seek re-election.
She claims to have suddenly grown the opinion that there should be term limits on Representatives in the House, but that is not very likely the reason. It could be that she is behind in the polls, and it could have something to do with the impending criminal and ethics investigations. If it the latter, perhaps we should be expecting some news in the near future regarding these investigations.
Maybe she plans to run for Senator against Al Franken?
OH please, please, please, let it be so!
UPDATE: Here’s Michele Bachmann’s YouTub video explaining how wonderful she is and stating that she WILL run for public office if she decides it is necessary for her to save the United States of America from itself. She also states that it is necessary for her to save the United States of America from itself, so do indeed expect her to run:
Or, maybe just waiting for a pin to drop, to break the silence? Bill Prendergast at Minnesota Progressive Project has floated an interesting, if somewhat complicated, hypothesis. He notes that Michel Bachmann has been very silent, out of the news, since the election which is now (though it seems like yesterday) nearly a month in the past. He suggests that the GOP establishment has shut her down, something they may have wanted to do for some time but would have been able to do because of her independent support from the coalition of players in the Christian Religious Right and the Batshit Crazy People who seem to be sprinkled around everywhere. He also suggests that Bachmann’s uncanny quietitude may be a test, that she is passing. Bachmann has been notably ignored by the GOP leadership in the House, which they still control, in the current round of doling out responsibilities. Bill Pendergrast’s idea is that Bachmann is attempting to demonstrate that she can do something no one really has ever thought that she could do: STFU for several weeks at a time, avoid making over the top outrageous statements that cause all sorts of trouble.
All interesting ideas. I’d like to add to this one small twist: Bachmann could have been overlooked for positions of responsibility by the GOP establishment because she is a woman. The GOP engaged in a Gettysburg Level attack on women (and others) over the last year, and were summarily defeated. This led me to recently suggest that the war on Gay Marriage, at least, had reached it’s “High Water Mark.” In the case of the War on Women, having lost that, the GOP establishment may be taking out their frustration on their own women, the members of their own party who happen to have two X Chromosomes.
Anyway, back to Pendergast’s point. When I read his post, I had to ask myself, being a scientist and all, if Bill was using the correct null model, or at least, the correct assumption. Might it be the case, I wondered, if CongressCritters are generally quiet this time of year, after the election? Is it possible that Michele Bachmann is not being unusually silent, just normal? As shocking as that prospect may sound, it is something that needs to be considered, to be fair, honest, and scientific. So, pursuant to that, I went back in time to the period in 2008 that corresponds to the last few post-election weeks, running a bit into December for good measure. It turns out, Bachmann was not being quiet.
And so, I give you here a sampling of post-election Michele Bachmann:
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared on FOX’s Hannity & Colmes last night to spew some more great quotes to get everyone riled up. She knows what people hate to hear.
In her interview, she accused Al Franken of stuffing the ballot box. She then continued pushing the “ballots in the car” rumor despite it being proved false and clarified by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Then she said her statements on MSNBC’s Hardball were “urban legend” even as the host reads the transcript aloud to her. What is going on here?
Michele Bachmann, appearing Tuesday night on Fox News show with Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, derided President-Elect Barack Obama as “more of the same” over reports that many of his new appointments are recycled Clintonistas.
The Minnesota Republican also accused DFL Senate candidate Al Franken of trying to â€œstuff the ballot boxâ€ in his recount struggle with GOP incumbent Norm Coleman.
All the while, Bachmann managed to reserve enough ammo to dismiss as an â€œurban legendâ€ reports that she had suggested on a pre-election episode of the “Hardball” show with MSNBC host Chris Matthews that Obama and other members of Congress were â€œanti-American,â€ and that the media should investigate them as such.
Resident Fox liberal Alan Colmes, who read a transcript of Bachmannâ€™s â€œanti-Americanâ€ quote from her appearance on MSNBC, offered to have her watch the video clip of her remarks on his own web site. But the segment ended before Bachmann could fully respond.
Not, however, before Bachmann pummeled Obama over some of his recent presidential appointments, including the pick of former President Clinton official Eric Holder as Obamaâ€™s new attorney general.
Rep. Michele Bachmann loves coming up with the zingers. Apparently she still loves talking about how the United States is slowly becoming a socialist nation. Run for your lives!
In her latest Fox News interview (which she won’t let us embed on our site) she continues to scare Americans that the Democratic House and Senate will slowly suck our country into socialism and ruin our lives.
There’s more, but that’s probably enough.
Yeah, it seems that Michele Bachmann is being, relative to herself, quiet.
A GOP PAC has produced a ridiculous ad supporting Michele Bachmann for re-election to Congress representing Minnesota’s 6th District. You’ll remember that Bachmann made national news when she declared that a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Minnesota 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison were plants inserted into high places in the United States Government by the shady organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood. At that time, Democratic Party (DFL) 6th District candidate, Jim Graves, joined the chorus of sensible voices pointing out that Bachmann’s comments were incorrect and inappropriate. The ad clearly states that not only was Bachmann not wrong, but that the same organization that planted these Muslim Manchurian Candidates into the US political system was responsible for the unrest in the Middle East. Ironically, while the cause of this unrest is complicated, that unrest appears to be in part due to the irresponsible prodding of extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East with anti-Muslim rhetoric, that prodding seemingly intended to create an ant-Obama “October Surprise” (in September). Here is the ad:
This ad comes at a time when Jim Graves has been shown in polls to be statistically even with (but a couple of points by count behind) Bachmann. So far, Bachmann has been relatively silent, which was probably a good move for her because she seems to have a hard time not spewing Crazy Talk when she doesn’t remain silent. This move by the GOP PAC, to underscore Bachmann’s crazy, is probably a good thing for the Graves campaign.
Notice that in the ad, they try very hard to get a picture of Graves, who is a calm, mild mannered, reasonable, thoughtful person, to have a crazy Bachmann-like look in his eyes, while at the same time making Bachmann not look so crazy. Unfortunately for the Bachmann campaign, it is a little late for that.
We drive by that mill several times a year. At one time it made paper for only two clients: The two main local newspapers, and it made most of their paper. But newspapers are dwindling in production, and so paper mills are fast becoming a thing of the past. This mill, we now know, will not be re-opened. The Sixth District needs to retool its industry and commerce. That will require some leadership, which will not come from Michele Bachmann.
Huma Abedin is a well respected, experienced foreign affairs expert and aide to Secretary Hillary Clinton. A few days ago, Michele Bachmann and a handful of other Tea Party members of Congress claimed that Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is, essentially, a plant presumably put in a high position in the American government in order to carry out nefarious acts at a later time.
Elwyn Tinklenerg has withdrawn his bid in the race for Michele Bachmann‘s seat in congress. Tinklenberg had run against Bachmann last time around, and carried out what started as a rather Quixotic race against the then very entrenched Bachmann, but received a great deal of extra funding and support when Bachmann made a name for herself by calling for an investigation for un-American activities of everyone in congress who disagreed with her. But that push, as substantial as it was, came to late in the game, and Bachamann does represent a district consisting primarily of Cave Men and Tray-Lor Trash (I spelt that funny so as they coudn’t make nothin out), and so in a sense, she represents her district rather well.
This blog got really mad at Tinklenberg the other day, and issued an un-endorsement after he made the totally dumb-ass move of stating that if he does not get the DFL endorsement he would stay in the race anyway. This is a totally dumb-ass thing the Minnesota “Democratic Party” (the DFL) does. They have nine or ten things that are like primaries or caucuses in row, leading up to a moment in which they endorse a candidate, then they have two or three more primaries, then whoever wants to can pretend to be the Democratic candidate and run in the official election. Or something like that. The result is that for important races you often get two Democrats running against each other, so the Republican or Indy candidate wins almost any time.
This is said to be the greatest election system ever invented by the Republican Party, and is the main reason there are ever any Republicans from this state at all. (Most of our governors have been Republican, for instance.)
The only thing harder to understand than Michele Bachmann is the Republican Party. Bachmann is hard to understand in this way: How can a person with her mind be an elected member of congress? The Republican party is hard to understand in this way: How can a party that is trying to become more rather than less relevant keep putting Michele Bachmann on the podium in places like the National Party Convention and, most recently, at CEPAC?
I can’t explain any of this, but I can at least redescribe the problem in reference to a theoretical construct for the evolution of the human mind. I endeavor to do this for three reasons: 1) To have a chance to briefly discuss these theoretical ideas; 2) To try to place Michele Bachmann and the Republicans (and by minor extension, by the way, Sarah Palin) in at least a descriptive, if not explanatory, context; and 3) because I get to use the word “meta” a million times throughout this essay. No, no, not really. The third reason is because I feel this nagging need to make the link between the fact that Michele Bachmann should not be in Congress with the fact that not only is she actually in Congress, but was recently re-elected to congress. Specifically, I will assert that there is not always cognitive dissonance where one thinks one sees it. Michele Bachmann was re-elected because she represents the majority of her constituents quite effectively.
There is a theory that what makes a good story is meta-osity. A story about a person and another person interacting is too simple. A story like this but where one of the people is secretly manipulating the interaction is a bit interesting. A story like this but where, unknown to the manipulator, there is a larger scale manipulation going on is a novel that might sell. And so on.
There is another theory that presumes this first theory to be essentially correct, and that the human mind is actually an evolved organ designed to manage these meta-meta-meta states. The reason for this is that much of the important stuff in life is meta-meta. Ultimately, in a human society where food- and sex-competitive apes are violating the basic tenets of competition by living side by side and cooperating and sharing within groups, reproduction and survival are socio-political meta-meta matters.
My personal “belief” (read: informed hunch) is that this is essentially true, but the proximate mechanism for the human mind being able to do this is a pretty simple (yet biologically costly) genetically mediated neuro-developmental process overlapping with and followed by a culturally and experientially mediated neuro-developmental process, with a large part of that arising during the unique (compared to other apes) human developmental phase we all “childhood.” (See The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain by Terry Deacon for a run down on this approach.)
Which leads me to Michele Bachmann, who recently said:
I just wondered that if our founders thought taxation without representation was bad, what would they think of representation WITH taxation?
Uffda. To put this in context, just spend a minute and a half reviewing this speech at CPAC:
[sorry to report, this speech seems to have disappeared from the internet]
OK, well, putting it in context didn’t help, did it? But along side the other statements made here and elsewhere by Bachmann, we are starting to see a pattern.
You know about Michel Bachmann’s other problems. The Blue Scare scenario comes to mind. Bachmann called for the investigation of all elected Democrats in the federal system for Unamerican-ness. If you don’t agree with me you must be the enemy, and I must fear you. All of us who fear you must treat you all the same and throw bricks at you, as children might do. And so on.
Now let’s talk about what all this means. Bachmann’s statement (above) about taxes is an example of not understanding even the first level of meta, the most basic nuance, of the original slogan. Bachmann’s placement of all people who disagree with her in the same category, so that enemies and colleagues of a different party are all the same, is an example of the inability to go beyond the most basic of relationships. Bachmann is unable to see that we can disagree with our colleague, but join our colleague to disagree with a third party (meta) and sometimes ally with a third party to disagree with yet another third party (meta meta) and sometimes find influence among allies in a distant third party to effect change in a colleague (meta meta meta).
(By the way, that this analysis is valid is underscored by Bachmann’s insistence that actual card-carrying Republicans who happen to disagree with her are not “real” Republicans.)
Bachmann does not get even the simplest nuance. In politics, she is just a dog barking at the shadows behind the fence, and everything is a shadow behind the fence.
We can show that many animals including dogs have this level of capacity and not much more. A meta-X level, where you have one set of complexities on top of basic relationships, is clearly a generalized primate capacity and may even be found in some social birds, but is not well developed in dogs or other carnivores.
The next level of meta … meta-meta-x … is probably exclusively human, and if Homo erectus was around today, perhaps we’d be saying “Oh, H. erectus can do that. Sort of.” (I’m guessing at that.)
Beyond this, the next level of meta … meta-meta-meta-x … is what most humans can do when they try and have certain experience or training, and that very smart people do a lot of, and real smart people are probably doing all the time. Most people probably achieve meta-meta-X much of the time, but probably mainly in regards to certain aspects of their life but not others. (Again, I’m guessing.) Meta-osity is a general feature of thought and thus could be conceived of as independent of empirical realities, but I don’t think this is the case. I think there is a real relationship between physicality and thought process. So a person may be meta-meta-X or even meta-meta-meta-X about the novels they read and their family relationships, but little else. A different person may be meta-meta-meta-X about their workplace relationships and the stuff they do as an engineer, or teacher, or crane operator, but be meta-X at best when it comes to politics. And I think, in fact, that this is exactly what frequently happens. It may be in the interest of certain politicians to keep the conversation at a meta-X (or lower) level.
Ideally, in careers, and especially careers that are important to other members or elements of society, we would like to see people be at least meta-meta-X, especially those in charge of important things. For example, physicians should be meta-meta-meta-X, if possible, regarding the workings of the body in relation to disease, personal behavior, treatment options, and so on.
Examples of meta-meta-meta-X thinkers in politics include Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Newt Gingrich, Adlai Stevenson and Al Franken. One imagines Ted Kennedy, clearly a meta-meta-meta-X thinker, relaxing by sailing on Nantucket Sound, where to succeed he merely needs to achieve meta-X thinking regarding winds, currents, sails, and ropes. Meanwhile, the captain of the Nantucket Ferry, who in her job driving a modern ship rarely has to go beyond meta-X, enriching her own life by engaging in BBC style crime dramas on TV and playing chess with her buddy the Harbor Master in Harwich Port.
Examples of meta-meta-X political thinkers who did well because they were in the right place at the right time might include George Bush Senior, Harry Truman, and George Washington. Examples of meta-X thinkers who probably didn’t apply the meta to the X in their political lives might be …. Hmmm, hard to come up with too many examples of this. Most people at that level would never get far beyond student council. Let’s see, who would be a good examp…
Oh,right, how could I forget!?!? … Michele Bachmann!
Here’s the thing. The objective of a politician might be to manage the thinking of others such that you get those other people to do what you wish them to do: fund your campaign and vote in your favor. It is much much easier to do this if you keep the public level of discourse as meta-free as possible. Newt Gingrich is on my list of meta-meta-meta-X thinkers, but he was a master at engendering the populous with a penchant for non-meta reasoning. For example, Gingrich successfully gained support from the masses by promising to bring to the floor a vote on each of ten allegedly key Republican issues (the famous “Contract with America”). However, a) the House (where Gingrich promised to do this) has weak rules for bringing something to vote, and b) bringing something to vote does not equal passing it or, really, even actually voting on it. So, you see, it would be trivially easy to keep this “contract.” It was not logical to infer that the Contract with America was a meaningful political construct that would have real results, but it became an effective rallying point for the first midterm election during Clinton’s first term. The Contract with America was a dog barking at a shadow behind the fence and nothing more. (Expect this dog to be barking again in about a year from now.)
The re-casting of stakeholders in a given issue as “taxpayers” is often a de-meta-fication of the issue at hand. The conflation of 1960s radicalism with 21st century terrorism with being black, or being a democrat, or being from Chicago, or whatever, is de-meta-fication of a person’s (Obama’s) entire career and philosophy. Claiming that the fact that Soviet/Russian bombers would fly over Alaska on their way to bomb the rest of America makes the governor of Alaska a foreign policy expert is the de-meta-fication of so, so many things.
Years of training have converted much of the Republican base to a pack of dogs, chained to an ideological stake in a dusty gloomy yard, always ready to bark at the movement of shadows beyond the tall fence that surrounds them. Michele Bachmann’s congressional district is demographically as close as any district can be to this Republican ideal. This is why Bachmann can be who she is, get re-elected, and continue to be invited to speak at major Party gatherings. Michelle Bachmann is not Newt Gingrich. She does not grasp the overarching strategy. She is not a simpleton’s face hiding a brilliant political mind. She is just the simpleton. I doubt she is even taking marching orders from anyone. Michele Bachmann is merely one of the dogs, among many, barking at the shadows moving behind the fence.
Michele Bachmann is the best possible representative for her district.