The great thing about America is that in theory (and mainly in theory) anyone has an equal opportunity to become a VIP in the usual sense. Certainly a President, no matter what the party, is a Very Important Person. So, in theory, is a representative from the U.S. House of Representatives. But Michele Bachmann, who ran for the Republican nomination and briefly led the lackluster field, is another kind of VIP: a Very Ignorant Pariah. Not just ignorant, but very ignorant, as she demonstrates almost every time she makes a public statement. And now it is increasingly clear that she has reached Pariah stage, even in her own party (at least the part that doesn’t get drunk on tea). In finding a few other out-there representatives, she has written a letter (which you can see here) demanding an official investigation of a Muslim American senior official, Huma Abedin, in the State Department. Before any prominent Muslims could cry “Foul,” the news media (like CNN’s Anderson Cooper) and fellow Republicans (like John McCain) leveled blistering attacks on her tactics. Even Fox News has turned its guns inward, publishing a commentary by Ed Rollins, a former campaign advisor for Bachman, comparing her to Joseph McCarthy. Add to this mix Scott Brown and Marco Rubio.

The tragedy is that Bachmann sits on the House Intelligence Committee. How oxymoronic is that: the queen of un-intelligence sits on this powerful committee of the United States government. While not exactly throwing caution to the wind, House Speaker John Boehner defended Huma, but stopped short of seeing this bizarre accusatorial pattern as a reason to take Bachmann off this committee. Bachman spouts the Islamophobic conspiratorial nonsense of Frank Gaffney, Jr, who was her foreign policy advisor in her presidential run. Gaffney on foreign policy would be like having someone like Jerry Falwell as head of the National Science Foundation. Fox News in the hen house, for sure…

Perhaps “ignorant” is not the right word for Bachmann, who is rather Impervious to truth, with a focus on the “imp” in the first part of the word. She is an absolute darling of the rightwing nuthouse gang, the same folk who believe Obama is not an American citizen and is a stealth Muslim. Her outlet is the Glenn Beck radio show, where she can crow to his legion of lunatics. The crowd she appeals to worships under-the-bus kill of mainstream politicians, whether Democratic or Republican. The fact that she briefly led the field of Republican challengers to the inevitable Mitt machine is not only scary about the kinds of people who vote Republican in certain primaries, but also should be chilling to Romney, who was trumped (before the Donald weighed in in Las Vegas) for awhile by her antics, the 999 call of Herman Cain and Newt’s southern exposure. Or maybe this was the genius of the Romney campaign: running against a gang of loonies can make you look a lot better.

One bad conspiracy theory deserves another, so here is one to savor: if Michele Bachmann can dominate the news cycle showing how Republicans are nice guys who come to the defense of a Muslim American, this nudges the Bain vulture capitalism off the top story. It is easy to throw Bachmann under the bus, because she has such loose wheels that she goes into the ditch just about every time she says something in public. But the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, has said nothing, not calculating that he needs to throw her under the spinning wheels of his campaign bus any more than he needs to show his tax returns. Bachmann has endorsed Romney, so why has Romney not yet joined his Republican comrades in condemning this kind of outrageous Islamophobic bating? Romney’s comments on Islam have been few, usually on terrorism. Is he afraid that the long-standing stereotypic link between Mormons and Muslims will harm his election chances?

The best take-down of Bachmannia, as usual, goes to Jon Stewart

[Note: Omid Safi has a nice piece on this controversy on his blog.]