The report lists 40 prominent men and women involved with the "Patriot" movement, anti-government militia-minded conspiracy theorists who think Barrack Obama has hijacked the presidency and is running a gangster government.
"When it comes to spreading fear of a menacing federal government infested with anti-American elements, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann can give even the most paranoid militiaman a run for his money," the SPLC writes of Minnesota's Crazy Congresswoman.
Bachmann is listed as an "enabler," which the SPLC defines as:
These men and women have helped to put key Patriot themes -- the idea that President Obama is a Marxist, that he and other elites in the government are pushing a socialist takeover, that the United States plans secret concentration camps and so on -- before millions of Americans, many of whom actually believe these completely false allegations. Whether these people tell such tall tales because they believe them or simply because they are willing to shamelessly pander for votes or ratings, is anyone's guess; but the noxious effect on the body politic is the same.Here's what the SPLC says about Bachmann:
Michele Bachmann, 54
When it comes to spreading fear of a menacing federal government infested with anti-American elements, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann can give even the most paranoid militiaman a run for his money.
The two-term Republican representative for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District has used her office as a megaphone for outrageous claims and conspiracy theories that in the past wouldn't spread far beyond the firing ranges and obstacle courses where militiamen and other antigovernment "Patriots" gather.
While some people might complain about answering Census questions, Bachmann sees a sinister plot hearkening back to World War II. "They used the U.S. Census information to round up the Japanese and put them in the internment camps," she said during an interview with Fox News' Glenn Beck last year. "Americans were told that they wouldn't have their information used against them. They did."
The AmeriCorps community service program? There's much more to it. "The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward," Bachmann warned. Never mind that her son joined an AmeriCorps program.
Bachmann has even issued a call to arms, of sorts, against the president's proposal to "cap and trade" greenhouse gas emissions. "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back," she was reported as saying on a radio show. Her office later said she was speaking metaphorically.
And then there's Bachmann's take on her colleagues in Congress. She found the Capitol teeming with so much anti-Americanism that she called on the media to ferret out the unpatriotic politicians. "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?" she said during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2008.
Somewhere, Joseph McCarthy must be smiling.
Predictably, the rightwing backlash over the list has already begun.