Much has been written today about Representative Michele Bachmann’s decision to not pursue reelection in 2014. She has certainly endured plenty of criticism over the past few years, but conservatives owe her a great deal of gratitude. Both as a state senator and a U.S. congresswoman, she has always been willing to lead the fight for fiscal limits, pro-life laws, and traditional marriage – issues many mainstream Republicans often prefer to ignore.
For instance, as a state senator in Minnesota, she was the primary sponsor of a fiscal-limit bill, modeled after Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). It was generating considerable interest in the state legislature. Governor Pawlenty’s statements were guarded, but he appeared to be sympathetic. State Senator Bachmann had heard about my research on fiscal limits and invited me to join her at a policy forum to discuss her proposed legislation. Afterward, we co-wrote an editorial about her bill.
After she started her first term in Congress in 2007, I was able to arrange a meeting with her. After a discussion about some of my policy research, she told me that she would be willing to meet with my intern group from the University of Alabama that summer. At the time she was still a relatively obscure freshman member of Congress, but even as she became more prominent, she still made it a point to meet with my intern group every summer — even in the midst of her own run for U.S. president. She will be missed.
— Michael J. New is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan – Dearborn, a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New.