Lizz Winstead on Bachmann announcement and Tea Party stars: "They realize they don't have the chops"

Winstead and Matthews hashed out the Bachmann announcement and next moves for Tea Party darlings on last night's Hardball.
Winstead and Matthews hashed out the Bachmann announcement and next moves for Tea Party darlings on last night's Hardball.

Lizz Winstead went on MSNBC's Hardball last night to opine on the big announcement from her fellow Minnesotan and favorite punchline: Michele Bachmann.

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The show opened up with host Chris Matthews wondering just what Bachmann had accomplished in her time on the Hill. "My problem with her is, I'm not sure she was ever good for anything," he said. "That she ever did anything for the country."

David Corn, editor at Mother Jones and MSNBC analyst, echoed the thought. "Someone asked me what would be the impact of this decision of hers, and the answer is, not much," he said. "She was not truly a player on Capitol Hill." (It's true: According to our 2011 analysis, "She's authored bills that not a single other lawmaker will cosponsor; she's sponsored the exact same failing bills over and over again; she's entered bills on obscure or trivial topics").

She did, though, "represent a slice of the American electorate," Corn continued. Which slice? "People who don't believe in evolution," Corn said. "People who do worry that Obama is a socialist dictator that's going to put people in re-education camps. She represented this very paranoid right wing fringe."

After turning over Bachmann's record, Matthews panned out to look at the state of the Tea Party and its stars. At this point, Winstead jumped in.

Our May cover star was fresh from a day of celebratory tweeting (and flight-changing) over Bachmann's news. So when Matthews asked her whether the congresswoman's exit is part of a trend of Tea Party Republicans -- like Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint -- leaving elected office, she was chomping at the bit to quip back.

"I think there's nothing more brave and patriotic than looking at something when it's really hard and quitting," Winstead answered. "I think that they look at their own intellectual heft and realize they don't have the chops, and so they've got to get out. You can't tell me that a Sarah Palin or a Michele Bachmann or a Jim DeMint has the chops to look at the financial crisis we're in, jobs, what's going on in foreign policy, and that they are the ones who can fix it... and so they have to back out. I think they realize that they absolutely don't have the skill set."

When Matthews countered that maybe that means these pols are humble, Winstead knocked down the idea. Later in the segment, she added: "When a fly swatter is fine, they always use an anvil. They never look at a problem with any kind of nuance."

Included in the discussion was the Washington Post's Dana Milbank on why Bachmann's departure could be good news for Republicans.

"She's not leaving just because she's tired or there's an eight-year term limit," Milbank said. "She was going to lose her election next year! She only won by 1.2 percentage points last time, in a pretty good Republican district. Now the FBI, the FEC Ethics Commission, are all looking at her presidential campaign."

"It suggests that even in a Republican district people will reach a point where they've had enough of this," Milbank continued. "And that's possibly good news for the Republican party and for everyone else."

Here's the 8-minute segment on the Tea Party's stars:

And here's 15 more minutes of Hardball on Bachmann:

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