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Michele Bachmann = Mark Foley?

It really is amazing and kind of heartwarming, the frenzy Michele Bachmann has triggered. I would have thought you could have gotten away with that kind of comment, after a few self-abasing apologies, but apparently not. Her call to investigate legislators for anti-American views supposedly helped inspire Colin Powell's Obama endorsement, and then yesterday, Minnesota's former GOP governor, Arne Carlson, jumped onto the Obama train as a direct result of Bachmann's words. Her Democratic opponent, the regrettably named Elwyn Tinklenberg, has been overwhelmed with $1.3 million in donations; the National Republican Congressional Committee has abandoned her; and a new Survey USA poll shows Tinklenberg ahead by three points in a previously barely-competitive race. This Bloomberg piece suggests her negative impact on Republicans could extend past her own reelection battle, to Norm Coleman and beyond. Is Michele Bachmann the Mark Foley of the 2008 cycle?

Meanwhile, the real successor to Mark Foley doesn't seem to be hurting anybody but himself. But oh, man, is he hurting himself.

--Eve Fairbanks