Michelle Bachmann Running in 2012?

BACHMANN POISED TO FORM EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE?.... I find this rather hard to believe, but strange people do strange things.

CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time.

But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates. [...]

Meanwhile, CNN has also learned that Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson has been hired to be Bachmann's political director for the state -- and that Bachmann aides hope to have a complete team together for Iowa by this weekend.

It's probably fair to say that most reasonable political observers, regardless of party or ideology, would agree that Michele Bachmann is stark raving mad. I don't mean this is a name-calling sense, I mean it objectively -- her record of truly insane rants and conspiracy theories makes Bachmann an embarrassment to herself and the institution she serves. There's just something deeply wrong with this person.

Bachmann's odds of becoming leader of the free world next year are about as good as mine. But that doesn't mean her candidacy, if it exists, won't matter.

For one thing, Bachmann is so boldly ridiculous, she's bound to generate quite a bit of attention for herself, which could have a real impact on the race. There's only so much media oxygen available for a sizable presidential field, and if Bachmann's clownish antics capture catch reporters' attention, lesser-known candidates like Pawlenty and Daniels may find themselves struggling to stay in the spotlight.

For another, Bachmann could prove competitive in Iowa, where radically-conservative activists tend to dominate. (Remember, in 1988, radical televangelist Pat Robertson came in second place in the Iowa caucuses, well ahead of the eventual president, George H.W. Bush.)

Ed Kilgore had an item last week explaining that the theocratic religious right -- which adores Bachmann -- is uniquely powerful in the Iowa caucuses, and Bachmann enjoys a strong alliance with Iowa's Steve King (R), one of the few members of Congress who's as crazy as she is.

Kilgore added, "Even if Bachmann doesn't win a state outright, she could wreak havoc on the field. Given her fanaticism about root-and-branch repeal of ObamaCare, is there any doubt she would make sure every Caucus-goer knows about RomneyCare? Plus, she represents a deadly threat to the ambitions of her fellow Minnesota Republican, Tim Pawlenty, who has been quietly consolidating a position as likely Republican frontrunner: When she was a state legislator, Bachmann once assaulted a Pawlenty proposal for an enterprise zone, saying it represented Marxist principles. She won't need an oppo research firm to dig up other alleged Pawlenty violations of conservative dogma. And it's unlikely Pawlenty could survive running behind a fellow Minnesotan in a state so close to his own."

If Bachmann runs, she'll be a sad, cringe-worthy sideshow, making a circus of the entire nominating process. But much to her competitors' chagrin, that's unlikely to stop her.

Washington Monthly / By Steve Benen

Posted at March 24, 2011, 5:47am

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