Michele Bachmann is Elwyn Tinklenberg's biggest supporter

After Rep. Michele Bachmann embarrassed the entire state of Minnesota when she called for an investigation into anti-American members of Congress, her opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg is jumping for joy. This is better than any half-truth you can pull together in an awesome TV attack ad! We hope Tinklenberg writes Bachmann a real nice thank-you letter when he takes over her seat in Congress.

The video of Bachmann quickly turned viral and was widely reported on political sites across the country. Just 24 hours after her remarks, Tinklenberg's campaign announced it raised $438,346.57 since her interview.

Tinklenberg also released a statement with his fundraising numbers:

Congresswoman Bachmann's extreme ideology divides people, but her comments on MSNBC's Hardball have united all of those who believe that I will jump start the ecomomy on Main Street by creating jobs and rebuilding our infrastructure. As a Minister and Mayor, I brought people together. I believe that we build by addition, not division. I want to thank you all. It is now clear that we have the momentum to win and I ask for your financial support.

Tinklenberg's ActBlue site is reporting more than $275,000 raised.

The money keeps coming. As of Sunday afternoon, Tinklenberg's campaign said they had raised $620,000 since her interview.

And according to Minnesota Public Radio, Tinklenberg plans to launch a large advertising campaign this week, thanks to an unexpected financial windfall.

And the joys of Bachmann have officially spread across the ocean. First SNL, now this. We swear most of us don't think like this.

According to British newspaper The Guardian, Bachmann looks just as crazy from a distance:

Matthews - who deftly fed her the rope to hang herself - asked her how many members of the US Congress held, in her view, anti-American views.

It's been almost a two-year campaign. There have been moments we've thought of as memorable, only to see the tide of events erase their mark from the sand. Bachmann's answer, however, will live imperishably: "What I would say - what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating exposé and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an exposé like that."

Before we go any further - who is this Bachmann? She's a first-term backbencher from exurban Minneapolis who says the Lord told her to run for Congress. She declared herself "a fool for Christ" in 2006 when she announced her candidacy. By all accounts she's down with the whole rightwing Christian package: immigrants bring disease and pestilence, homosexuals want to indoctrinate straight children, and so on. Republican leadership undoubtedly pushed her out on to television because she is, as you Brits say, a looker - at least by the standards of Congress.

The call for an investigation into the beliefs of every federal lawmaker, and an exposé of those found wanting in their patriotism, certainly takes us into deeply creepy territory. I would not call Bachmann herself a fascist. Odd as it sounds, to do so would be to grant her far too much credit. For one to embrace an -ism, even a repugnant one, one needs to have read a certain amount of history and political philosophy. Bachmann is just an idiot. She wouldn't know Edmund Burke from Billie Burke (she played the good witch in the Wizard of Oz), and she obviously has no idea that, in her rejection of the two bedrock American principles of separation of church and state and freedom of thought, she is the one who is as anti-American as they come.

But friends, all is not darkness. Bachmann's appearance caused a national uproar. Colin Powell, in endorsing Obama yesterday, said of Bachmann's comments that "we have got to stop this kind of nonsense and pull ourselves together". Her Democratic opponent raised nearly half a million dollars from around the country in just 24 hours, and he now has a chance of beating her.

That would be nice. But let's go back to the big contest. With Bachmann, the lid came off the rightwing id. It will happen many more times over these next two weeks. McCain, now openly using the word "socialist" to describe Obama's proposals (the week after his friend George W Bush took federal control of nine major banks!), and especially Palin have shown every sign of encouraging it. Their goal is to scare Americans about Obama, but moderate, independent voters might well decide that Obama looks a lot less scary than they do.

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