Roll Call reports:
House Republican leaders have a simple strategy for dealing with Rep. Michele Bachmann: Ignore her.
“We treat her like all Members,” a GOP leadership aide said.
Paying the tea party firebrand any special attention would only heighten her profile, empower her and potentially create schisms within the new House majority, Republican aides said.
Republican leaders might have reason to try to manage the conservative Minnesota Republican more directly, however. Bachmann hasn’t been quiet in the weeks since the 112th Congress began: She officially launched the conservative Tea Party Caucus and offered her own response to the State of the Union.
“I think there are a lot of people in the leadership that wish she would step back so the Republican Party can put up a face that appeals to moderate and independent voters, and she does none of that,” one Republican operative said. “She has a segment of the Republican Party or the tea party that’s staunchly anti-government, anti-spending, anti-tax. There is no middle appeal with her, and I think there’s a great deal of concern that the Republican Party is going to be branded as the party of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.”
Bachmann has a fresh following in Congress: Many of the freshmen ran on the very tea party platform she espouses. Yet she has nothing more than a casual relationship with the GOP leadership team.
Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben maintained his boss and Speaker John Boehner(R-Ohio) “have a very good relationship.” And in a statement, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said “Rep. Bachmann is a valuable Member of the House Republican Conference — she brings a unique enthusiasm and perspective.”