Political columnist John Avlon has ranked what he calls "the most polarizing, deranged -- and dangerous -- wingnuts" in American politics and has placed Rep. Michele Bachmann at the top of the list.
Writing in the Daily Beast and appearing on CNN, Avlon says Bachmann's regular headline-grabbing soundbites vaulted her ahead of such characters as Sarah Palin and talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Ed Schultz in "a year that hope turned to hate. In the three-ring circus of American politics—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—the freak sideshow has rarely flexed their muscle faster or dominated more of the debate."
Of Bachmann, the former speechwriter for Riudy Giuliani wrote:
Michele Bachmann first made a national name for herself by declaring that Obama "may have anti-American views" -- and calling for an investigation of other Democrats with "anti-American views" in Congress in October 2008. The media fallout casting Bachmann as a neo-McCartyite made her, if anything, more beloved by conservatives. She continued with a string of howlers and incitements in the first year of the Obama administration. On cap and trade, she urged Minnesotans to be "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." She opposed funding for AmeriCorps, saying she foresaw "a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service" with "re-education camps." (Then her son voluntarily enlisted.) And on health care she urged an audience: "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass." The media covers her because she makes great copy -- conservative populists love her because they think she's talking truth to power.