Michele Bachmann drops out of race for GOP Conference chair, endorses Hensarling

Politico reported a few hours ago that the votes simply weren’t there and that Hensarling was close to locking up the majority he needed. Quote from an aide: “This race is all but over.”

And now, it is over.

Jeb Henserling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair. Jeb has demonstrated his commitment to limited government, reduced spending and lower taxes and he will be a strong voice for the Tea Party’s call for these values.

I look forward to continuing my consistent support of the Tea Party. I plan to advance the Tea Party ideals through their listening arm, the Tea Party Caucus. It is my wish to bring new faces to the caucus, including freshmen members.

The new Congress will have great opportunities to lead our country into the direction our founders intended. I spoke with Mr. Boehner and other members of leadership and I am convinced they will wholeheartedly work towards the issues the American people are calling for such as fiscal responsibility, ending the bailouts and repealing Obamacare.

Hensarling’s national profile is way lower than hers, but if you’re unfamiliar with him and tempted to see this as some sort of RINO triumph, read NRO’s editorial today in his defense. He’s got sterling fiscal conservative credentials — so much so that even budget-hawk all-stars like Pence, Paul Ryan, and Ron Paul endorsed him over her. In fact, it’s probably because his profile’s lower than hers that he had an advantage here. Who wants a lightning rod in charge of the conference? It’ll be tough enough as it is to hold the caucus together with centrists, tea partiers, and middle-ground “establishment” Republicans all pursuing different interests. Why make it harder by making Bachmann a figurehead, which would give the media an excuse to press Republican congressmen to justify everything she says and does? Besides, she’s already got the House tea party caucus as leverage to pressure the leadership on fiscal issues. What am I missing here?