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So, Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Ames Iowa Straw poll. One might be tempted to say “So what?” but it really is of a bit of importance. Think back the first time you really noticed Rep. Bachmann.

For me, it was when she was on Chris Mathews’ show Hardball in the run up to the 2008 elections. Then she was committing the unforced error of saying that she thought there were a lot of members of Congress who were “Un-American” and that the press should be looking into it.

Back then she was just another wild-eyed Republican spouting the most ridiculous nonsense. The nonsense part has not changed at all, but what has changed is now she is a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination.

Sure, she is still wicky-in-the-whacky-woo, and normally that should spell doom for her (certainly almost all the GOP operatives from almost all the campaigns but hers will tell you so) but these aren’t exactly normal times.

Bachmann’s base are the ones that really don’t have a good grasp on reality. She is, after all, the Chair of the Tea Party Caucus, a group who believed that forcing the nation into default would have been better than the downgrade of our credit rating by S&P. She has said so herself this week.

These true believer Tea Partiers are quite happy with her saying those kinds of things. And that is where she gathered up 28.55% of the vote to edge out Ron Paul. While it is not unexpected it does represent a problem.

For all the conventional wisdom of the GOP operatives that she can’t become the nominee, winning this silly straw poll and all of the coverage of it will give her a patina of respectability and inevitability. It will attract donors and volunteers that Rep. Bachmann can use to fuel a chance at winning in Iowa sometime this coming winter.

With enough momentum she has a shot going in to New Hampshire and South Carolina where Mitt Romney is counting on his money and name recognition to overcome any insurgent-like campaign from his right.

It would be easy to make fun of Bachamann’s many gaffs and crazy positions but there is something more important going on here. I am never going to be a supporter of a Republican candidate. But they are still going to nominate one of the two people most likely to be in the White House come January 20th 2013.

That being the case, what the hell is going on with our nation that someone as nutty, as incurious, and as misinformed as Michele Bachmann is anywhere close to that nomination? Don’t we deserve serious candidates?

As pissed off as the President has managed to make me in the last 30 months, I don’t doubt that he is smart and well informed. I think that the policy and political decisions he makes are often wrong, but that does not flow from being a nitwit with a law degree from a law school that wants to return (as if we were ever there) to biblical law in the United States. I can’t say the same for La Bachmann.

It is a funny thing to have to have faith that the movement and money parts of the Republican Party will keep her from getting the GOP nod. I never like to rely on those folks as they pretty much have screwed the American people over and over.

Yet without them, who will prevent this woman from having a chance to sit in an office she is clearly not qualified to fill? And if that doesn’t keep you up late at night, I don’t know what will.

The floor is yours!