Bachmann Leaving Congress, Won’t Explain Why

Senator Harry Reid predicted in an interview with his fellow self-declared socialist Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC that, once the US economy begins to improve, the Tea Party will begin to fade and disintegrate. In other words, Harry Reid admitted he does not believe that the Tea Party was born as a protest of President Obama’s skin color, meaning that all prior instances of his party’s cries to the contrary were simply cases of race-baiting. Good to get that on record.

But Representative Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, released a nearly 9-minute-long video on the Internet on Wednesday in which she announced that she will not be seeking re-election when her term is completed in 2014. The reason is not, however, because of a retreat of Tea Partiers, such as Bachmann, in the face of any fantastical improvement in the economy, as Reid suggested would happen.

So why is she quitting next year?

“Be assured,” Bachmann said, “my decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to congress. . . . I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced that he is once again running.”

That individual would be Jim Graves, who issued a statement regarding Bachmann’s retreat from Congress, saying that she “read the tea leaves” of the last election in which she only barely defeated Graves. I’m not a fan of Bachmann, but this Graves guy is a jerk. Bachmann won that last election; obviously the people in her district still preferred her over him. The fact that Graves would seek re-election in the same district where he was already rejected speaks to an arrogance worthy of President Obama.

Okay, but, again, why is Bachmann quitting?

“Rest assured,” she tells us, “this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff.”

Okay, we’re getting nowhere. And no, not once in her video does she explain why she’s leaving.

Full disclosure: I do have a personal qualm with Bachmann. I liked her a lot until one of the Republican primary debates in which her case-closed argument against my preferred candidate’s “999” tax plan was the embarrassingly thoughtless and cowardly line, “When you take the 999 plan and turn it upside down, the devil is in the details.”

At the end of the video, Bachmann says, “I fully anticipate the mainstream liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision not to seek a fifth term.” Well, yes, it’s quite easy to spin the basis of your decision when you leave it as ambiguous as you did by not telling us what that basis is.

I don’t know why Bachmann is leaving Congress, and she certainly doesn’t seem to want to tell us. But why can’t politicians be honest with us? Would it be so bad if she had said that she is leaving because she doesn’t think she will win the next election and doesn’t want to expend more energy if she’s just going to lose? Or that she simply doesn’t want the job anymore? What’s so wrong with that?