Clever and insane

Be afraid. She could make it to the election for the presidency. The Daily Beast has an excellent article on Michele Bachmann’s background, with little hints about how she manages to get elected — she’s specifically tapping into evangelical Christian lunacy.

On Monday, Bachmann didn’t talk a lot about her religion. She didn’t have to—she knows how to signal it in ways that go right over secular heads. In criticizing Obama’s Libya policy, for example, she said, “We are the head and not the tail.” The phrase comes from Deuteronomy 28:13: “The Lord will make you the head and not the tail.” As Rachel Tabachnick has reported, it’s often used in theocratic circles to explain why Christians have an obligation to rule.

Indeed, no other candidate in the race is so completely a product of the evangelical right as Bachmann; she could easily become the Christian conservative alternative to the comparatively moderate Mormon Mitt Romney. “Michele Bachmann’s a complete package,” says Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition wunderkind who now runs the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “She’s got charisma, she’s got an authentic faith testimony, she’s a proven fighter for conservative values, and she’s well known.” She’s also great at raising money–in the 2010 cycle, she amassed a record $13.2 million in donations. (Bachmann’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

When Ronald Reagan was president, I thought we’d hit bottom and could not possibly get worse. When George W. Bush was president, I was astonished that we’d sunk even lower, but hoped that this was the worst we could get. President Michele Bachmann is the nightmare that exceeds even that.