Politics is not for the weak.
It takes an incredible amount of hubris to consider running for high office. How many people really believe they should be among the most powerful 535 people in America?
But even a successful career in politics can lead to disappointment at a level most of us can’t understand.
Like Icarus soaring too close to the Sun only to have his waxy wings melt away before falling to his death, politicians sometimes rise to a level their charisma can’t sustain.
There is no better example of this than Michele Bachmann. Bachmann is a TEA Party Republican from Minnesota who has served three terms in Congress.
Two years ago, she was the leading candidate in the Republican Presidential Primary. She led Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in all of the polls.
A few gaffes, a campaign staff mutiny and some campaign finance problems turned her rapid rise into a fleeting fall.
Not only was she quickly ushered off of the stage as a Presidential contender, but she held onto her seat in the House of Representatives by a mere 5,000 votes against a poorly funded Democrat – Jim Graves - in a state whose voters favored Mitt Romney by more than 15 percent.
Seeing the blood in the water, the Democratic National Committee has pledged to support Graves in 2014 with significant funding.
Bachmann had innumerable reasons to give up her seat. But she says a fear of losing to Graves isn’t one of them.
“Be assured: My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being reelected to Congress,” she said. “I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced he is once again running.”
Normally, I wouldn’t “be assured” by such a statement.
But Bachmann has never lacked confidence – intelligence maybe, but never confidence.
Something tells me her primary concern about next year’s election is campaign funding.
Now that the FBI has joined an investigation into how her presidential campaign handled funds, I doubt prospects are great.
And she is probably getting pressure to step aside from those in her own party. After all, when a losing Presidential candidate carries the state by a wide margin, you expect anyone on that side of the ticket to win easily. But Bachmann only won by one percent.
An unknown Republican would have done better and I would imagine many in her own party are pushing her to step aside rather than adding risk to one of their seats in Congress.
Page 2 of 2 - Don’t worry, Bachmann – like her TEA Party pal Sarah Palin – is so outspoken that she will never leave the stage. FOX News and a bevy of blowhards on talk radio will continue to seek her out anytime an outspoken opinion from the right side of the political spectrum in needed.
This is another blow to the TEA Party’s Congressional delegation within the Republican Caucus. That will be a major test during the 2014 elections. Can the TEA Party maintain or expand its presence or will the GOP establishment retake control of the party and pull it back toward the center in time to make a serious run in the 2016 Presidential election.
The next 12 months are very important for both parties as they gear up for the future.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org