An instructive farewell

Bachmann's concession speech imparted perceptive take on politics

That wasn’t a concession speech Michele Bachmann gave Wednesday. It was a civics lesson.

In a moving and articulate goodbye to the presidential campaign trail, the Minnesota congresswoman painted the vision of America that its founders had – and explained in detail how the current leadership in Washington has painted over it.

And how dangerous that is for all of us.

“Entrusted to every American is the responsibility to watch over our republic,” she said, adding that while it is “the greatest force for good that has ever been seen on the planet,” the country is “in very serious trouble.” She cited the federal health care law and Dodd-Frank, which have exponentially grown federal power over our health care and financial lives, respectively.

Barack Obama’s socialist policies, she said, “are destructive to the very foundation of the republic.”

Provoked by the passage of “Obamacare” and inspired by the faces of the founders she sees on Capitol walls, Bachmann ran for president as a citizen concerned about her country and the fragility of the republic Benjamin Franklin so famously warned us about.

She could not be more right or more perceptive.

This newspaper doesn’t generally endorse in primary elections, and we would’ve made no exception in this case. But we have made Mrs. Bachmann’s acquaintance, and can tell you that she is as good and gracious and patriotic and competent a woman as you will ever meet. Whether she deserved the presidency is one thing – voters in her native state voted in the negative – but she certainly deserved better than she got in this campaign.

Talk-show host Jimmy Fallon’s band, for instance, welcomed Mrs. Bachmann on his show with a song titled Lyin’ A-- B----. Late-night entertainment is one thing, but when it’s used, quite consciously, as a cudgel with which to beat down political opponents, that, too, is destructive to the very foundation of the republic. When good, God-fearing, selfless citizens – Mrs. Bachmann and her husband helped rear 23 foster children – are treated to a firing squad of cynicism for the sin of being conservative, then we have poisoned the pool of public servants to our own detriment. God help a society that treats good people thusly.

Beyond her concession speech, her very candidacy was a civics lesson – of how a free country shouldn’t treat aspiring public servants.

We hope, for the country’s sake, that no one else is ever treated as Michele Bachmann was, or Sarah Palin before her. As Bachmann said Wednesday, our founders and the men and women in the military who “have given their last full measure of devotion ... are watching us; they’re expecting us to stand up and protect what they fought to give us.

“We owe it to them and to our posterity and to the God that we serve, who created us ... to keep our republic free.”

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