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Why Michele Bachmann's Political Ideology Is the Boldest Among U.S. House Republicans

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Continuing to serve as a lightning rod for the political left in the Gopher State, the month of June has seen Representative Michele Bachmann maintain her remarkably high profile among not only the Minnesota Congressional delegation, but also nationally among her GOP colleagues throughout the U.S. House.

Earlier this month, the 2-term Congresswoman introduced the Taxpayer Protection and Anti-Fraud Act, which aims to prevent groups that have been repeatedly investigated and indicted for voter registration fraud to receive taxpayer dollars. Bachmann also urged supporters to sign an on-line petition to get a floor vote on the bill in order to "Stop ACORN" (the community-based Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, that, among other projects, works on voter registration).

With the political vacuum on the right caused by Tim Pawlenty's decision not to run for a third term as Governor, Representative Bachmann's name has also come up as a long-shot candidate. According to Tom Scheck's reporting at MPR, Bachmann is leaving that door slightly ajar although Smart Politics agrees a 2010 run to bring her back to St. Paul is highly unlikely.

But the multitude of examples in which Representative Bachmann has advocated staunchly conservative principles in the local and national media during the past half year demonstrates not only the Congresswoman's increasingly prominent voice as a rising leader of the conservative movement, but also a certain boldness - a boldness perhaps unmatched by her Republican colleagues in the U.S. House.

Here's why:

To highlight the riskiness of Bachmann's commitment to unabashed conservatism, Smart Politics examined the Top 50 most conservative members of the U.S. House (as determined by National Journal's annual rankings).

A Smart Politics analysis found Representative Bachmann to have received the smallest margin of victory of those 44 conservative Republicans who won reelection in 2008. (Four of the Top 50 conservative GOP Representatives retired, one lost the GOP primary, and one lost in the general election).

The average margin of victory for these 44 members of Congress was more than 10 times that of Bachmann - at 31.9 points last November. In fact, Representative Bachmann was the only one on the list who won by less than 12 points.

National Journal ranked Bachmann as the 31st most conservative member of the House in 2008, and while detractors might suggest the aberration of her small margin of victory among the most conservative representatives in D.C. was her own doing (i.e. a by-product of her own controversial statements), there is much evidence to suggest the closeness of her race was due more to the moderate political temperature of the 6th CD itself:

· For example, of the Top 31 most conservative House members, Bachmann's 6th Congressional District is one of only five in which John McCain's margin of victory was less than a double-digit margin. (The others being Ed Royce from CA-40, Mike Pence from IN-06, George Radanovich fromCA-19, and Joe Pitts from PA-16).

· Moreover, as Smart Politics established earlier this year, Bachmann's district has been trending increasingly Democratic for the last few election cycles - with DFL state legislators quadrupling their number of House seats in the 6th CD since 2002 and slicing the average GOP margin of victory in half from 13.4 to 6.5 points.

· Thirdly, Bachmann was one of only six U.S. House Representatives among the 'Conservative 50' who won reelection in 2008 having served just one term heading into last November's elections.

However, despite her comparative lack of political experience in D.C., despite the rising Democratic trend in her district, and despite her extremely narrow margin of victory vis-à-vis her conservative colleagues, Congresswoman Bachmann refuses to be gun shy when voicing her conservative views.

In short, while other conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill might occasionally give their voice to some of the conservative principles and policies espoused by Bachmann, none represents a more vulnerable seat than Bachmann's, few represent a more moderate congressional district, and thus few put as much political capital at risk when doing so.

And this is why Smart Politics is designating Michele Bachmann's political ideology as the boldest among the 178 Republicans in the U.S. House.

2008 Margin of Victory Among the Top 50 Most Conservative Members of the U.S. House

Rank
Name
District
2008 CD MoV
McCain MoV
1
Trent Franks
AZ-02
22.3
23
1
Paul Broun
GA-10
21.5
25
1
Jeb Hensarling
TX-05
67.2
27
4
Gresham Barrett
SC-03
29.5
29
5
Todd Akin
MO-02
26.9
11
6
Doug Lambourn
CO-05
23.0
19
6
Jeff Miller
FL-01
40.4
35
6
Virginia Foxx
NC-05
16.7
23
9
Steve King
IA-05
22.4
11
10
John Shadegg
AZ-03
12.0
14
11
Tom Price
GA-06
37.0
28
12
Ed Royce
CA-40
25.1
5
13
Phil Gingrey
GA-11
36.4
33
13
Bill Sali
ID-01
-1.2
26
15
Kenny Marchant
TX-24
14.9
11
16
John Boehner
OH-08
35.8
23
16
Chris Cannon
UT-03
lost primary
38
18
Mike Pence
IN-06
30.6
6
19
Randy Neugebauer
TX-19
47.5
45
20
Roy Blunt
MO-07
39.6
28
21
Adrian Smith
NE-03
53.7
39
22
Wally Herger
CA-02
15.8
12
23
Patrick McHenry
NC-10
15.1
27
24
George Radanovich
CA-19
97.2
6
24
Mike Conaway
TX-11
76.7
51
26
Lynn Westmoreland
GA-03
31.4
29
26
Mac Thornberry
TX-13
55.3
53
28
Rob Bishop
UT-01
34.4
31
29
Jeff Flake
AZ-06
27.9
23
29
Jim Jordan
OH-04
30.3
22
31
Michele Bachmann
MN-06
3.0
8.7
31
Joe Pitts
PA-16
16.4
3
33
John Kline
MN-02
14.8
2
34
John Culberson
TX-07
13.5
17
34
Pete Sessions
TX-32
16.7
7
36
John Campbell
CA-48
14.9
-0.7
36
John Doolittle
CA-04
retired
10
36
Barbara Cubin
WY-AL
retired
32
39
Joe Barton
TX-06
26.4
20
39
Sam Johnson
TX-03
21.7
15
41
John Carter
TX-31
23.7
16
41
Terry Everett
AL-02
retired
26
43
Ted Poe
TX-02
77.9
20
44
Dan Burton
IN-05
31.1
19
45
Paul Ryan
WI-01
29.3
-4
46
John Linder
GA-07
24.1
21
46
Steve Scalise
LA-01
31.4
46
48
Kevin Brady
TX-08
47.8
48
48
Geoff Davis
KY-04
26.1
22
50
Dave Weldon
FL-15
retired
3
Note: Conservative ranking data from National Journal's 2008 analysis of key votes.

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10 Comments


  • What crap. What has Bachmann done for her district lately? ACORN is the biggest threat to the 6th? You call that bold? I'd call it ignoring her district, or more properly, malfeasance. How much is Bachmann paying you, fella?

  • > You call that bold?

    Some definitions of bold: "fearless," "daring," "brazen."

    So, yes, I'd say a Representative who has one of the most conservative records in the U.S. House, who represents a much more politically moderate district is pretty daring indeed.

    In short, it is not in her politically strategic self-interest (i.e. to get reelected) to be so archly conservative. I'd call that bold.

  • What ere Bush's margins of victory in 2004? I'm trying to answer the question of whether Obama enjoyed an above-normal degree of success for a Democratic presidential candidate. Of course, there are only two presidential elections since redistricting, so that might not tell us anything.

    How many of the DFL's legislative gains since 2002 have been recent? If they were loaded in the last couple elections, that could just mean Bachmann is toxic down the ballot, though it could also mean the DFL is better organized. Or that the district is changing anyway, like you suggested.

    All I'm clear on is that the district is trending bluer, but whether Bachmann is driving that change or coincidental to it is hard to tell. As a DFLer, I want to believe the district is changing around Bachmann and the odds of winning that seat wouldn't worsen if she left, but my little mental gauge that warns against believing what looks nice is warning me.

    Also, is there a way to factor in the IP candidates that took 10% in her first two elections? Is that a protest vote that wouldn't be there with a reasonable candidate?

  • Bachmann has some great economic policies but why she thinks the state has a role infringing people's personal sexual freedoms is totally beyond me.

  • She should fire her assistants, I have never witnessed someone spewing total LIES, distorted quotes, wrong statistics, etc. etc.....she has absolutely NO CREDIBILITY, I cannot believe this person is in our US congress, what an embarassment!

  • There is a growing movement in our country that has said enough! Enough crazy legislation. Enough war on prosperity. Enough attacks on individuals through evermore regulations. It was on display in Washington last week. It runs deep and wide.

    The tone deaf among us diminish, disparage and imply that false motivations motivate the average citizens who have had enough. Clueless.

    The 2010 elections will be a surprise to big media, and left wing crazies.

    Can't wait.

  • Thanks for standing for the Americans wanting a safe, healthy, moral life, for all in America. With lies, coverups, fraud, exposed.

    Illegals, should be sent home and come through a honest,
    legal way. Only if they are going to stand for America's constitution, Bill of rights. For America.
    We are America - Not Communist, Islamic,
    or other. If they want to live here, then live under America's rules or leave.

    (We are True American's from many nations bonded together caring for one another).

    No one should be given immediate citizenship and all should be checked out. All treated with respect. Whether allowed or not.

    We don't hate because of color, we dislike any color that lies, cheats, or wants to take America down.

    Those in Government jobs are working for the American people, not to be forcing the American people to do as they say. Top to bottom of the line of Gov. workers.

    People who lie to get their jobs, and go against the Constitution, Bill of Rights, our America - should be fired immediately, as any employer would do. That is our right. We are the employer.

    Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.

    Reason we are hated - God did bless His followers, imperfect that we may be. His hand of punishment comes when followers put Him on the back burner, disobeying and not trusting Him. There is no greater Love then His.
    We cause our own problems.

    Thanks Michelle for standing for truth.

  • Many of the comments above sound like they have come from the left wing of the Democratic Party. The conservatives in Bachmann's district have a far different view of her policies.
    She has more backbone than the President of the United States. We have a president who is betraying our founding fathers and the principles for which they stood. Michele has stood for true freedom and liberty, with responsibility. I think it is a sign of courage that she posts the negative comments from her district as well as the favorable statements.
    I personnally believe Machele will win by at least a 15 to 25 percent margin in the next election. An educated electorate will appreciate having a rational, sound thinking female from Minnesota in Congress,

  • I hope that everyone in your district follows Michelle's example and refuses to fill out the census forms. Then you won't need a representative for her district, or education monies, or any of the other benefits that are distributed based on populations. True, it would certainly make it difficult for local and state governments to plan for services like schools, infrastructure and so on....

    But if she's willing to believe all the political spam emails out there and spout stuff about concentration camps (that's been around for about 20 years, BTW) and only get her news and views from Sean Hannity ... well, you're better off without her.

    Frankly, the level of public discourse has degenerated to the sarcasm and snideness you expect in the rudest of jr. high girls -- and that's probably insulting them. We could never get anything done at work if we treated each other the way talk radio and politicians like Michelle and talk show hosts like Sean Hannity treat people. And I hope you're raising your kids to be better people than what they're seeing on TV.

  • "Negative" thinking may can be smart thinking. Many times it is wise to look for what's wrong with something, or where the flaw is that may not be obvious. When you are looking to buy a house you want to know, what is WRONG with it? To buy a car, what is WRONG with it? when presented with a new philosophy, what is WRONG with it; before buying an item at a thrift store, are there any FLAWS in the material? The same with bills that congress is looking to pass. What is WRONG with the wording? Does it go against the protection of our Constitution? Is it good for us in the long run? Does it make our lives better? Does it encourage self respect and accountability? Can individuals pursue life, liberty and happiness? Is it good for our children? Questioning "good" deals is a wise and responsible move. When the health of our Constitution and nation is at stake it is our DUTY as a good citizen. If you cannot take criticizm and are fearful of a serious dialogue, you have a hidden agenda. If you only feel safe when you are around people who have the same philosophy or policy or goal, you are broken. You trade truth for your feeling of being right. You are WEAK.

  • Leave a comment


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