Skip to comments.Boehner vs. Bachmann?
Posted on 07/26/2012 6:56:19 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Speaker John Boehner and Representative Michele Bachmann have never been close. Now, in the midst of the Huma Abedin flap, the question is whether there will be open hostilities.
After Bachmanns presidential campaign fizzled earlier this year, the Minnesota Republican returned to Capitol Hill unsure of her role in the House Republican conference. She had run and lost a race for a minor leadership post, and her Tea Party Caucus was idle. According to a couple of her friends, it was a personal and political low point. Fox News called sporadically, and a colorful bloc of conservative freshmen Allen West, Rand Paul were the Rights new darlings.
But Bachmann had a political lifeline a seat on the House Intelligence Committee thanks to Boehner. Bachmann was tapped for the post in late 2010, and it has been a plum spot ever since then, enabling her to review classified material and enter the national-security debate as an insider. At the time of her appointment, many senior House GOP aides were wary of elevating the fiery backbencher, but Bachmann was vocal about her interest in foreign affairs, and Boehner assured them that it was an appropriate gesture.
Up until this month, having Bachmann on the intelligence committee has proved a good move from Boehners perspective. He has praised her in the past as a hardworking member, and he knew she would relish the opportunity to broaden her portfolio. Bachmann still may be a thorn in his side on various votes, aides explain, but she has usually avoided publicly railing against Boehner. That cold peace has ended, and the latest tensions may not end amicably, sources say.
Bachmann has generated national headlines for accusing Abedin, a top adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of tilting U.S. foreign policy in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group. Four other lawmakers signed Bachmanns letter, but many Republicans have criticized Bachmanns finger-pointing. Senator John McCain of Arizona was the first to reject Bachmanns claims, then Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did the same. But its Boehners cagey response to the kerfuffle that has made Bachmann and her allies nervous.
I havent seen the letter, and I dont know Huma, but from everything I do know of her, she has a sterling character, Boehner told reporters last week. And I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous. When a reporter followed up and asked about Bachmanns intelligence-committee seat, Boehner didnt rule anything out. I dont know that thats related at all, he said. According to a source close to Bachmann, the Minnesotan interpreted those remarks as a warning and a sign of Boehners tenuous support for her committee position. And from a procedural angle, her fears are warranted. Boehner may have picked her for the committee, but, as speaker, he could easily take that post away.
Several Republicans close to House leadership tell National Review Online that Boehner is not working to oust Bachmann from the committee or discipline her. If anything, one GOP source says, the entire episode has been a distraction for Boehner, especially since the speaker wants the conference to focus on jobs and the economy. If the situation festers, the leadership is keeping its options open, another aide says, but it expects Bachmann to eventually move on from the controversy.
There is a general sense among those close to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy that Bachmann is not so much a political threat to the leadership, but a member who needs to be better managed. Still, they say, because she does not consult with leadership on most of her initiatives and does not respond well to emissaries or private counsel, many aides feel that Boehners public statement was the best way to send a message for now.
If shes not careful, shes going to become irrelevant, says Ed Rollins, the former campaign manager for Bachmanns presidential campaign. Shes on the intelligence committee and people assume that she has information that no one else has. So when she goes out and makes a charge, it has added weight. Shes close to crossing that kook line, and Boehner and the others may be ready to dismiss her as a serious player.
Bachmann doesnt appear ready to back down. Instead, sources tell NRO, she is working behind the scenes to generate support for her intelligence-committee post. Conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, who has spoken with Bachmann on his program about the Abedin story, has reported that Bachmann is facing pressure to apologize for her comments or risk being removed from her position. Republican House aides roll their eyes at the Beck story. No such pressure, they say, is being exerted on the congresswoman. If anything, a third leadership source reiterates, Boehner is doing his best to avoid spending time on the Bachmann matter, publicly or privately.
Yet the general goodwill that has existed between Bachmann and Boehner for the past year seems to be gone. Bachmann, long a force during closed-door conference meetings, is now a backbencher once again, at least in the eyes of many congressional politicos. Boehner may be pressured to kick her off the committee, but with her star power fading, he doesnt seem in any rush to make her a martyr.
Robert Costa is a political reporter for National Review.
I don't care for condescension, in any form.
Boehner’s gotta go. Bachmann should have put out a contract on that f’n Rollins, long time ago.
I think she would make a fine speaker of the house.
How does one effectively lobby to get rid of Boner and McConnell?
The sooner Bonehead bites the big one, the better off we’ll be.
Hey Bonehead, have a few fatburters, fries, and lard.
It’s way past time to dump crybaby, and put a man in the leadership position.
From all I have read of this thus far— and I know both politicians only by reputation — I must agree with Michele
I have read the letters posted on her site. And I loath the
political protection that has been given the Muslims that have
control of our Government. When Leaders like the Speaker and
John McCain challenge Michele B. and Congressman Gohmert and others for asking that everyone be given the same security clearance before they are accepted in positions of trust.-—
I am sorry but our own Government has ceased to defend Our Constitution and way of life out of Fear of being called a Patriot-or whatever other name the enemy within the Gates can dream up.
Boner has star power hisself?
Ed Rollins should get a life. Every article that has quotes from him should include the disclaimer that he only hates Bachmann because she fired him
The GOP screwed up when we took the House in 2010. They should have put some of the young, dynamic guys in the lead. Instead they stuck with this dud and here we are.
IMHO, Rollins never wanted Bachmann to win. He is nothing but a political prostitute.
Spoken by someone who knows all about irrelevancy.
It was a huge mistake by her to pick this loser as her campaign manager to begin with. Now she sees the poison fruit born of that choice.
I think she would make a fine attorney general.
Yeah, we need to take down the power structure within the GOP. No more of this freshman crap. If the seniors want perks give them nice offices and call it good.
The republican national committee is vulnerable to being overthrown. It only takes a few hundred dedicated individuals in each state to attend the state convention and remove the RINOs. Its how Saul Anuzis lost his national committee seat in Michigan.
How does this chain-smoking embarrassment know anything about this muslim spy's character? She shared a bed with the current SOS no doubt under orders from the 'brotherhood.' Chances are she wedded (but not bedded) the clueless loudmouth Wiener as a cover for her clandestine activities.
This nation needs an extreme right correction that would happen so fast that the RINO rats would fall overboard with the sodomist and baby killing DemocRATs!
Thats completely in the hands of IN voters. They need to do the rest of the country a BIG favor and replace him. AZ had their chance but decided McCain should go back to DC. Its greatly to their shame. Real change in DC will happen in the states...if the electorate will wake up and engage.
Bachmann, on the other hand, is a patriot.
Despite her endorsement of Romney, he’s also letting he twist in the wind.
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