Another frustratingly predictable election Groundhog Day has come and gone in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.
But, the 2012 version had an interesting twist: there was very close to enough 6th district voters tired of Rep. Bachmann’s hysteria, megalomania and duplicity to remove her from office.
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party chose to travel the 6th district road they oft take-yup, the one that is perennially washed out by the torrents of abysmal failure. They chose a bland character as Bachmann’s rival. And, bland isn’t necessarily bad, but when you’re running against a charismatic snake oil saleswoman, you need a candidate with sufficient fire in the belly to create his or her own oxygen outside of the circus atmosphere that surrounds someone like Michele Bachmann.
Of course, being down on campaign funds by a 12 to 1 ratio certainly didn’t help. Mr. Grave’s war chest seemed spent after a short run of the Sartell Fire ad. Predictably this ad prompted an avalanche of denial and smear ads from the Bachmann camp. And, the response from the Grave’s camp?-cue the crickets. It’s not difficult to imagine the inference-Mr. Graves didn’t refute charges that he is a liar, so he must be one.
This campaign season, I dutifully emailed my biennial entreaty to the 6th district Democratic candidate’s camp-I pleaded with them (as I’m sure did countless other concerned citizens sometime during the past four campaigns) to simply run an ad of nothing but the outrageous and ludicrous statements that spout from Ms. Bachmann as regularly as solar risings and settings.
Coincidentally, this exact tactic was put to good use in defeating an equally despicable loon, Florida Representative Alan West. West’s opponent, Patrick Murphy, also at a distinct campaign funding disadvantage-around a 5 to 1 disparity, not only succeeded in using his rival’s own words against him, but ultimately won a narrow victory in large part because of it.
Ms. Bachmann’s penchant for tilting at windmills created a perfect storm of circumstances that could have easily led to her defeat in 2012, but for many reasons, the Democratic Party and its candidate, whiffed on a gopher ball. With a more savvy campaign and more money, Minnesotans very possibly could have been spared future displays of incompetence and megalomania from Rep. Bachmann.
But, woulda, coulda, shoulda aside, the important question is: Have Democrats learned from their mistakes?-specifically attempting to run underfunded unimaginative campaigns against one off the best funded and skilled campaigners in American politics. Democrats may never get another chance like the one that presented itself in 2012, but if they do, they should certainly after four defeats, be fully aware of what doesn’t and never will lead to a victory in the 6th.