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You will be so, so sorry if we don't stop Michele Bachmann right now and elect her opponent Jim Graves.

I know defeating Mitt Romney is far more important than defeating Michele Bachmann. I know everybody's got their hand out for money and volunteers right now (for Obama, the Senate, the House, and Sandy victims.)

But I have to tell you before the Bachmann/Graves election in the Sixth District is over: if you don't do what you can, right now, to stop her from returning to will live to regret that deeply. Here's why:

If Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives and Michele Bachmann is re-elected next week, she will return as one of the most powerful individuals in Congress.

All along we've damned Bachmann as extremist liar and kook. Brighter political observers realized that Bachmann has had and continues to have an important and negative influence on the kind of candidates predominant in today's GOP--the rise of the tea party candidates, the Christian right candidates, all of that.

But so far her influence on actual US lawmaking and policy has been indirect. Her influence has been exercised via her national "personality cult" among conservatives, her status as a tea party leader, and her ability to rally votes and money from conservative evangelicals. In the House and as a legislator, Bachmann's impact has been comparatively minimal so far. Marginalized by "establishment" Republicans who've led Congress, she was little more than a chronic "no" vote to the White House and Democrats and a chronic "yes" vote for special interests like big oil, big pharm, the private health insurance lobbies and the Christian Right.

That's about to change. If she's re-elected--she won't be marginal in our national lawmaking anymore.

If Michele returns, she'll be a conservative four-termer, elected again and again despite national liberal opposition. More than ever, she'll be a hero to national conservative media, a tea party icon, and a key success story for the Christian Right (which is itself an unofficial third American political party.) She'll be able to continue--as one the most effective endorsers and fundraisers for extremist Republican candidates in GOP primary struggles around the country.

Moreover: if re-elected, right wing extremist Michele Bachmann will be returning to a Republican dominated Congress that is more right wing and extremist than ever.  This week in an interview with Salon, Frank Rich correctly observed that the GOP reaction to the re-election of Barack Obama will lead that party even further into the depths of conspiratorial craziness and paranoia. In the event of the defeat of "establishment" candidate Romney by "socialist" Barack Obama: Rich claims "temperate" Republican voices will be practically extinct in the next House. He's right.

Given all this: the next Republican Congress--in thrall to the extreme right for its survival and populated with its extremists--can't deny Bachmann a position of real power in Congress. In that kind of Congress, Bachmann is perfectly positioned to obtain a role in leadership.

What kind of leadership role would she be given?

After her re-election in 2010 the "establishment" House GOP leadership froze Bachmann out. They denied her a top spot in Congress (as leader of the House Republican Congress.) She can go after that again--and get it, this time, with the help of a more extreme GOP Congress.

The establishment GOP leaders of 2010 also denied Bachmann another spot she demanded--a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress. Instead they assigned her to the House Intelligence Committee. That was "Siberia" compared to a seat on Ways and Means, one of the committees governing Congress' powers of taxation and federal spending.

If Bachmann's re-elected and a new ultra-right GOP Congress gives her a position in the GOP House leadership--she'll be one of the people setting the legislative agenda for the party in charge. And if she's re-elected and a new ultra-right GOP Congress gives her a seat on Ways and Means (or on the Appropriations Committee?)...

...Then Bachmann (with her national network of support, her high media profile, and the backing of the national evangelical right) will become a key figure in US policy making.

We've got to stop that from happening. Action links are below.  

Bachmann and her sponsors in the Christian Right understand all of the above; they're betting on it happening. That's why Bachmann's spent so much this campaign cycle claiming a gift for "bi-partisanship" and "ability to work across the aisle." It's a patently false claim in light of her political extremism, her career-long demonization of Democrats, and her legislative non-achievement record.

But one of the stumbling blocks for Bachmann in her attempts to gain a leadership role in a Republican Congress has been her inability to convince observers that she's anything more than a divisive nut, bigot and liar. An "I can convince people I'm bi-partisan" election victory will further her aims for real power in setting the legislative agenda of Congress.

Her current claim of "a record of bi-partisanship" isn't really directed at the voters in her Sixth District. (Supporters and detractors in the district know the claim is false and ridiculous.) The "Michele can be bi-partisan" lie is directed at the national GOP and her Republican congressional colleagues. She wants the national GOP to have to accept the fact that she was re-elected after campaigning as an "effective bi-partisan legislator"--in a deeply conservative GOP district. She wants to prove to the national GOP that she can present herself as a "bi-partisan" effectively and successfully--without moderating wingnut positions at all, without losing the national support of the tea party and the Christian Right.

Michele Bachmann; returned to Congress with real addition to her existing national power of sending other crazy, lying demagogues into office. Please do whatever you can to stop that, now--so that you don't regret it later.

ACTION LINK: Jim Graves for Congress. Stop the lying nut who's introduced so many other lying nuts into our government.

ACTION LINK: You don't have to be from the district to phone bank for Bachmann's opponent, Jim Graves. You don't even have to be from Minnesota. Call this telephone number for more information: 320-252-4446

Originally posted to Bill Prendergast on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK Poli.

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