‘I don’t know who’s happier to see me leave, Pelosi or Boehner’
WASHINGTON – The congresswoman stood reverently in front of the painting on the office wall opposite her desk, staring intently with hands clasped tightly behind her back, plaintively confiding she just wished she knew what God wanted her to do next with her life.
It was hard to tell if she was addressing God or the only other person in the room.
Or, perhaps, it was a supplication to those in the painting, the kneeling Founding Fathers in Harris Tompkins Mattheson’s “The First Prayer in Congress, September 1774.”
She was gently reminded how even Washington “had to make a strategic retreat during the Revolutionary War, many times.” She kept staring into the distance, silently.
Just a few days earlier, on May 29, 2013, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., had shocked Washington, D.C., by unexpectedly announcing her intention to retire from Congress at the end of her term.
The scuttlebutt on Capitol Hill was the leaders of the GOP establishment had had enough of her as a thorn in their side and would not lift a finger to help her in what promised to be an expensive and grueling campaign. Democrats, according to Politico, put her “at the top of their target list after she barely survived re-election.” There was also a pending ethics investigation into her campaign finances that another conservative congressman confided to WND was not her fault but the result of “trusting the wrong people.”
Recapturing the support of Minnesotans may have seemed a daunting prospect, but to millions of Americans across the nation, the housewife who went to Washington had become an inspiration. She was a conservative champion seen as a deeply principled constitutionalist who dared speak truth to power, especially to those in her own party.
And a year-and-a-half after gazing into that painting, Bachmann seemed to have found her answer.
“I’m not done. I’m just going to change arenas now. Instead of holding elective office, now I’ll be fighting from the outside,” a jubilant Bachmann recently told WND in a wide-ranging interview looking back on her storied career and eight years in Congress, where she left an impression like few others before her.
Bachmann plans to continue her mission to make America a better place from outside the beltway by writing, speaking across the country at different venues, appearing on media and associating with various groups.
“I think what I am more proud of than anything is the fact that I was a real person when I came into Congress eight years ago. I am still the same real person today. I had no filter over what I said or what I did.”
Bachmann reminisced how, before coming to Washington, as a wife and a mom in the kitchen listening to Rush Limbaugh and other people that she admired on the radio, she remembered thinking: “What is wrong with those bird-brains in Congress? Why don’t they do what they said they were going to do when we send them there?’”
The Minnesotan said she was not political back then but thought if she ever went to Congress, that’s exactly what she would do. And did she ever.
However, WND wondered, was there anything she felt free to say now that she was leaving office?
“Me?! Are you kidding?” she instantly shot back, then laughed deeply.
“I’ve never had a filter on my mouth at all! No, I was very free. And that’s what got me into trouble all the time. I don’t know who’s happier to see me leave Congress, Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner.”
But it was all worth it, she said.
“I mean, I rolled the dice and I gave it everything I had. I have worked like a maniac for the eight years that I’ve been here. When my feet hit the ground in the morning, I worked. I worked until I’d go to sleep. And I think that’s what I am proudest of, because I put everything on the line. … I couldn’t have worked harder.”