Will Speaker Boehner Support Rep. Bachmann's Leadership Bid Or Let Down The Tea Party?

November 03, 2010 5:04 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Last night, presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had a message for Tea Party supporters who helped drive Republicans back into power: "I will never let you down." Less than a day later, Boehner is already facing a stiff test of his commitment to that promise. 

With jubilant Republican lawmakers already jockeying for influence in the upcoming majority, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus — announced her intention to run for the leadership position being abdicated by GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN). 

Bachmann is, of course, a darling of the Tea Party movement, but Boehner has reason to be wary of her leadership bid. For one thing, Bachmann recently suggested that she might not support Boehner for Speaker — and she was even rumored as a potential challenger. Moreover, while Boehner recently made a public stink about President Obama calling out his political "enemies" in combative terms, Bachmann has made a career of over-the-top attacks and extreme rhetoric. Here are a few of the lowlights:

  • Bachmann described Washington, DC as being "in enemy lines" and urged her constituents to be "armed and dangerous" to fight clean energy legislation.

Adding in Bachmann's embrace of ridiculous conspiracy theories about abortion field trips, sport fishing, and terror-counseling, it's easy to understand why Boehner might not want to elevate her status.

In September 2009, Boehner pushed back lightly against an article reporting that House Republican leaders were worried about Bachmann's antics inflicting "possible damage" on the party's reputation. But now he really has to decide: will he disappoint the Tea Party or let Bachmann become one of the most influential members of the GOP?   

Read more about the race for Conference Chair at Talking Points Memo.