Michelle Goldberg has a must-read on the roots of Michele Bachmann’s “unrivaled extremism”:
In the statehouse, Bachmann made opposition to same-sex marriage her signature issue. Both she and her husband, by all accounts her most trusted political adviser, believe that homosexuality can be cured. Speaking to a Christian radio station about gay teenagers last year, Marcus [Bachmann], who treats gay people in his counseling practice, said, “Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined, and just because someone feels this or thinks this, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road.”
Twenty years ago, a figure like Bachmann would represent a sizeable but still minority constituency in the party, speaking to a cadre motivated by social issues but unable to represent the concerns of most Republican voters. (For instance, Pat Robertson, the televangelist who turned in a strong showing in the 1988 Iowa caucus but fizzled afterward.)
But Bachmann is a cutting edge religious right conservative, espousing an apocalyptic free market fundamentalism that’s become virtually indistinguishable from the apocalyptic Randian worldview of the party’s Randian wing.