Electoral Martyrdom and the End of an Era in ‘Bachmann Country’

Earlier today, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has announced she will not seek a fifth term representing Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. Her nearly nine-minute video announcement cuts to the chase early — four terms is long enough — but then she goes on to insist that the current investigations have nothing to do with her decision and to assure her constituents that she would’ve won her fifth term and that she will keep “working 100-hour weeks” on their behalf.

From my perspective, it’s a classic Bachmann message, ripe with references to the Constitution, innocent life, traditional marriage, and family values; vocal in opposition; light in legislation; strikingly confident, yet somehow purposefully vague.

Our Congresswoman is not my favorite politician, though she is widely respected and even praised in our community. In fact, I’ve asked this group in a previous writing:

Are we ever called to electoral martyrdom? We know there are non-negotiables, but beyond those, are we ever called to lose on principle? To vote for a third-party candidate? More specifically, must we support Congresswoman Bachmann, who is a reliable vote on important issues, but whose veracity and judgment are often questionable?

This question of electoral martyrdom seems even more important today, when we are about to lose Bachmann’s reliably right stance on the five non-negotiables for Catholic voters: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, human cloning, and same-sex marriage. Will our next Republican candidate be as reliable on these issues? What political calculation or spineless equivocation might lead our next U.S. Representative to shift left with the mainstream masses and compromise on moral absolutes?

So as much as I never cared for Michele Bachmann, I wish her and her family well, and a small part of me is sorry to see her go. As Spaniard has said, voting the Catholic conscience is not easy:

Nobody likes to lose or to vote for a loser, especially a sure loser.  But where is the fine line between standing on moral principle while losing, and supporting “the common good” through moral compromise but successfully voting in the good-enough guy?

It’s the end of an era in “Bachmann Country” — and the next congressional election may require us to bleed for the Kingdom.

One comment

  1. Spaniard says:

    There are a couple of little ironies embedded here. One, although Bachmann is not Catholic, she was a more reliable vote on the pro-life Catholic position than the majority of Catholics in Congress. Two, despite reservations we might have with Bachmann in toto, I suspect we just might miss her– after all, she gave us three terms of strong pro-life leadership, and it took David Fitzsimmons all of five months to wet his britches.

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