Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., delivers her farewell address to Congress on Dec. 9, 2014
WASHINGTON – Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been a prolific conservative legislator despite strong resistance from establishment Republicans, including leaders of her own party, and despite the considerable challenge of passing legislation without cooperation from an obstructionist Senate controlled by Democrats.
And, despite an outgoing personality and political boldness demonstrated by her willingness to go in front of the cameras to champion the causes in which she believed, over the years WND has found Bachmann to be a genuinely humble and modest public servant who has shied from public praise and honors.
That was evidenced when, informed she had been awarded WND’s “2014 Lawmaker of the Year,” Bachmann simply replied, “What an honor!”
The firebrand from the snowy state is retiring from Congress, but has been a reliably conservative voice in Congress over her eight-year tenure, most recently ranked by the Heritage Foundation as having the 42nd most-conservative voting record among 535 lawmakers, the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 senators.
When informed of Bachmann’s award as WND’s 2014 Lawmaker of the Year, Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor, National Review contributing editor, New York Times bestselling author, political analyst and frequent Fox News commentator, likely spoke for countless Americans when he simply responded, “We already miss her.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told WND:
“Congresswoman Michele Bachmann brought to Washington a fierce defense of liberty, uncompromising respect for the rule of law, and a steadfast commitment to the principles of freedom that have made America the greatest country in the world.
“Her eight-year run as a Congresswoman from her beloved Minnesota is to be commended as one based on principle and a determination to honor the commitments she made to her constituents.
“I am proud to have stood with her on many of the most important fights of the 113th Congress and look forward to hearing what she has in store for the future.”
Also expressing congratulations and best wishes were fellow conservative luminaries Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and political analyst, New York Times bestselling author and talk-show radio host Laura Ingraham.
But the fondest and most poignant tribute came from Bachmann’s closest confidante and ally in Congress, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
“She’s a great friend, and I am an admirer of Michele,” he said. “Whatever she does in the future is going to be good for this country. I know this lady well. I’ve watched her operate since she entered Congress and I’ve watched her blossom.”
King described how Bachmann swiftly proved herself an unusually talented legislator and communicator.
“She is an extraordinarily quick study. She can pour through material and absorb the salient points and turn it into a statement on radio or television that looks as if it is tailored just for the audience and the medium that she uses. It’s an exceptional talent that she has,” King told WND.
He said she stood out from the crowd right away.
“When she came in as a freshman, I saw her as someone who was paying attention,” he said. “If you watch people, you can see if they’re picking up on what’s going on around them. Michele always seemed to be the one who knew what was happening around her, better than most, better than anyone else in her class.”
King decided to test the freshman’s mettle and invited Bachmann to do a special order with him. Special orders can be extremely powerful tools in shaping legislation, giving new members the opportunity to debate on the floor of the House.
“I gave her the topic, and she’d never heard of it. That can happen because there are a lot of topics. I told her what it was and she said, ‘OK,’ walked back up the hallway of the House chamber and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve lost her,’ because any other freshman wouldn’t have come back.”
Bachmann quickly proved to be anything but just another freshman.
“I started my speech and about 15 minutes into an hour presentation she came back down, stepped up to the microphone with this expectant look on her face,” he recalled. “So, I recognized her to speak, and what came out of her was a full knowledge of the subject matter and good, solid, well-rounded opinions.”
“She did exactly what I was attempting to do. ‘Wow, what happened here?’ I speculate she went back on the Internet and did a quick study, and since she’d committed to being my partner on that special order, she followed through.
“And that has been the case with her, ever since, on the many different things we’ve addressed along the way.”
King also complimented Bachmann as a gifted and prolific legislator, observing she had to be particularly attentive to sign onto so many pieces of legislation.
Congress has had a particularly tough time getting legislation to the president’s desk in the last few years, and the mainstream media have relentlessly blamed Republicans, particularly conservatives, for gridlock. But, the facts show otherwise.
At a press conference on July 29, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kans., remarked, “The president is fond of referring to the House as the ‘Do-Nothing Congress.’ But we have 352 reasons why it’s a ‘Do-Nothing Senate.'”
She fingered the real culprit as Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.:
- 352 bills are sitting on Harry Reid’s desk, awaiting action.
- 98 percent of them passed with bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats working together to pass legislation.
- 50 percent of the bills passed unanimously, with no opposition.
- 70 percent of the bills passed with two-thirds support in the House.
- And more than 55 bills were introduced by Democrats.
Jenkins concluded, “352 bills. Why won’t Harry Reid act? These are good bills; bills that put the American people back to work, put more money in hardworking Americans’ pockets, help with education, and skills training.”
Bachmann played a significant role in trying to help those hardworking Americans.
Bills she sponsored included:
- H.R.42 : Military Health Care Affordability Act. To amend title 10, United States Code, to prohibit certain increases in fees for military health care before fiscal year 2016.
- H.R.45 : To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
- H.R.46 : To repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
- H.R.162 : Medicaid Integrity Act of 2013. To amend section 1932 of the Social Security Act to require independent audits and actuarial services under Medicaid managed care programs, and for other purposes.
- H.R.2091 : To amend title 36, United States Code, to require that the POW/MIA flag be displayed on all days that the flag of the United States is displayed on certain Federal property.
- H.R.4989 : Justina’s Law. To prohibit Federal funding of any treatment or research in which a ward of the State is subjected to greater than minimal risk to the individual’s health with no or minimal prospect of direct benefit.
- H.R.5194 : Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2014. To impose sanctions against persons who knowingly provide material support or resources to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliates, associated groups, or agents, and for other purposes.
- H.R.5408 : Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act. To amend section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to add certain acts of allegiance to a foreign terrorist organization to the list of acts for which nationals of the United States lose nationality, and for other purposes.
- H.R.5551 : Heartbeat Informed Consent Act. To ensure that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and an opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion.
- H.RES.24 : Expressing the deep disappointment of the House of Representatives in the enactment by the Russia Government of a law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens and urging the Russia Government to reconsider the law and prioritize the processing of inter-country adoptions involving parentless Russian children who were already matched with United States families before the enactment of the law.
- H.RES.231 : Establishing a Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs.
Those bills are currently under consideration by committees and may never be signed by the president, but Bachmann never wavered from what conservatives would consider fighting the good fight.
That fighting spirit led to what Bachmann told WND was one of high points of her legislative career: passing a tough border bill this summer after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was forced to drop his own weaker bill.
Most political observers declared the death of Boehner’s bill to be the last chance for the House to pass any border bill.
But, a congressional aide described to WND how Bachmann showed incredible resolve and rallied the troops behind the scenes to get the tougher bill supported by the speaker and other GOP moderates, then passed in the House.
As WND reported, the congresswoman called it a “legislative miracle” and confided she was just astounded she could go from a “hell no” to a “yes” on a border bill overnight.
Not one to take credit herself, the congresswoman cited the efforts of grassroots voters who “melted the phone lines” on Capitol Hill, demanding a stronger bill, one that would do more to secure the border and discourage illegal immigrants by reducing the prospects for asylum. She also thanked WND and other conservative outlets for informing the public.
In her farewell interview with WND, Bachmann reflected, “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.”
In fact, she reiterated, while laughing, “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.”
WND contacted both House Speaker Boehner and Rep. Pelosi for comment on Bachmann’s award as 2014 Legislator of the Year but did not receive a response from either lawmaker.
Despite her many intense jousts with both Democrats and establishment Republicans that usually did not go her way, Bachmann said it was all worth it.
“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.”
Bachmann didn’t just develop legions of admirers across the nation, she also left her mark on Congress.
King described what separated the congresswoman from the herd.
“There are a lot of smart people in the world, and Washington, D.C., is a magnet for highly intelligent people,” he said. “You can look at their resumes and a lot of them have master’s degrees, 4.0 grade point averages, have been active in extracurricular activities and a lot of them come from good families. You look at them and think, what separates the highly intelligent, well-motivated, well-grounded people from the others?
“The people that separate themselves and rise to the top are, in Michele’s case in particular, people with good (political) instincts. The instincts, along with all the other talents and gifts – and then you have to have enough confidence to trust your instincts.
“Instincts are something you develop along the way. We each have different gifts. Michele Bachmann has exceptionally good instincts. Instincts for what is important, instincts for what is news, instincts for what moves people.”
King explained, even though he entered Congress four years before her, “She taught me.”
Particularly when it came to learning to trust his own political instincts.
“I think if I hadn’t had the privilege of working with her, I wouldn’t be able to articulate that. And I think there have been a good number of times I might not have had the confidence in my instincts that I do today.”
On May 29, 2013, Bachmann 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.
“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,” said a jubilant Bachmann.
She always managed to maintain that upbeat appearance in public as she finished her legislative career with her trademark zeal, despite the fact she was put under 24/7 protection by a security detail last summer after receiving a threat from the terrorist army ISIS.
As WND reported, Politico may have added fuel to that fire by incorrectly reporting the congresswoman had called on President Obama to declare war on Islam.
However, Bachmann was undaunted by the threat, and, in fact, told WND her only true regret was she did not become more involved in foreign policy because of what she sees as the clear and imminent threat posed by radical Islam.
“The goals of Islamic jihad must be defeated. We have the capacity to do that. We are lacking the political will. And I wish I would have gotten involved far earlier in that arena so I could have devoted more time to it.”
Bachmann was unwavering in the face of severe criticism from many, including members of her own party, after pointing out the possible connections between the Muslim Brotherhood and employees working in the State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice Departments.
She took particular heat for pointing out the Brotherhood’s connections to Huma Abedin, the top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Bachmann responded to criticism from fellow Minnesotan Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., with a 16-page letter documenting the evidence.
Since then, foreign-policy analyst for the Center for Security Policy and former CIA operative Clare Lopez detailed the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of the U.S. government, including the Obama administration, in a wide-ranging interview with WND in August.
Lopez said the closest adviser for the National Security Council has been an imam named Muhammad Magid.
“He is the son of the Muslim Brotherhood’s grand mufti of Sudan. He is also the president of something called ISNA, Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim Brotherhood front group in the country. And, ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding trial.”
And in July of 2013, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy (who convicted the jihadist “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman for his role in organizing the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) wrote an article documenting Abedin’s close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of violent jihad.
McCarthy called Abedin “an influential Shariah activist” who, among other nefarious activities, “directed an organization, the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child, that was part of a formally designated terrorist organization “led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood jurist who has issued fatwas calling for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombings in Israel.”
He concluded, “When a handful of House conservatives tried to draw the attention of the State Department’s inspector general to some of these matters – wondering how on earth someone with Ms. Abdein’s background could have qualified for a top-secret security clearance – they were castigated by the Obama White House and the Beltway Republican establishment.”
Perhaps, Bachmann won’t have to worry as much about the perils of speaking truth to power.
A devout person of faith, she has always been more concerned with the opinion of a higher power.
King told WND, Bachmann is so special because, in addition to her prodigious political talents, “She’s a prayer warrior.”
“That’s a core part of who she is. We’ve been in a lot of places around the country and around the world together, and I understand the habits of her heart,” he said. “And if you want somebody who gets their faith right, Michele Bachmann absolutely is one of those people.”
WND interviewed Bachmann many times over the last few years on a wide variety of subjects. She would often speak with heartfelt conviction and at great length, displaying an encyclopedic grasp of many complex and important topics.
The congresswoman’s passion for politics was matched by her deep and earnest concern for people, including the disenfranchised and oppressed around the world, but particularly for hard-working middle-class Americans, for whom she always appeared to care so deeply and earnestly.
The following message was sent to WND on the night of Dec. 15, 2014 as Bachmann departed Washington, D.C.:
I’m literally sitting in my plane seat headed home for the last time as a member of Congress.
While boarding, I was praising God for this unparalleled opportunity. I never planned to be in politics. I was a mother and tax lawyer. When I first arrived in D.C., I never thought the journey would lead to so many legislative battles, much less to eventually running for the presidency.
I’m most happy that I used every moment here. I fulfilled the mission I was called to and redeemed the time. How could I not be happy and fulfilled?
Though the ruling class won nearly every political battle, still we fought back at every turn with the help of real Americans.
Who knows what the fruitfulness of our efforts will be?
At least we know we did everything we could, while we could, for the maintenance of liberty and to uphold the Constitution.
The first day I arrived in D.C., I visited the National Archives in order to view the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
In the eight years that followed, I rarely visited anything in D.C.; I only worked. On my last day in D.C., I returned to stand before those two documents, most grateful that I did my part, to the best of my abilities, to remain faithful and true, but most importantly, I labored to contend for the principles and values they promise to each of us.
This was real for me and I did my best for the country I love and the people I was privileged to serve.
I then traveled to Williamsburg and to Mt. Vernon this weekend in thanks, admiration, and appreciation for what earlier patriots did for us.