US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a lot of things, but predictable isn’t one of them. The Minnesota Republican has once again made headlines, this time with the unexpected announcement that she won’t seek re-election in 2014.
The Tea Party darling’s reasons for stepping down are murky, and her announcement only made the waters more turbid. The first mistake was in dropping her bombshell via a YouTube video, an indication that she didn’t want to face questions about her decision or her future plans. Then there’s the video itself. Against an odd Chariots of Fire-style musical backdrop, Bachmann begins by rambling about term limits, then launches into a list of reasons she’s not retiring: certainly not because she faces a tough re-election campaign against a candidate she narrowly defeated last year, or because of a federal inquiry into possible misuse of her presidential campaign funds. In the remaining seven minutes of the video, she bashes the Obama administration, slams the “liberal media,” and rattles off a laundry list of issues she’ll continue to support or fight in her remaining 18 months in office.
Political swan song or groundlaying for another presidential bid? It’s impossible to tell. Bachmann says the country is on the wrong track and in the worst shape she’s ever seen, yet there is no opportunity, political or otherwise, that she won’t consider in the future. More than one copy editor must have smiled in appreciation at New York magazine’s headline, “Michele Bachmann Retires as President of Crazyland.”
THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota congresswoman befuddles, per usual.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: If you’re not going to say anything, say it as succinctly as possible. Bachmann announced her retirement, yet her constituents still have no clue why she’s leaving or what the future holds. It may well be that she doesn’t want to reveal all at this time, but a concisely worded press statement issued through her office would have accomplished the same goal without a move that only added to her already bizarre reputation.
To watch the video, click here.