Michele Bachmann
Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Congressional Tea Party Caucus leader Michele Bachmann has announced she is running for the GOP Conference Chair now that Rep. Mike Pence has stepped down.  If successful, this would make the Minnesota representative and Tea Party front-person the fourth highest ranking Republican in the House.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, has also announced his desire for the seat.  Hensarling is a close political ally of Eric Cantor, which potentially sets this contest up as the first “Tea Party vs. establishment Republicans” fight of the new Congress.  The vote is expected to happen on November 17th.

The prospect of Bachmann’s rise in power and influence within the House is particularly troubling in light of her persistent tendency to buy into conspiracy theories.   She raised fears about the census over concerns Obama would use the information to open conservative internment camps.  She’s convinced The Fed is conspiring to create a single global currency.  And she believes the healthcare bill promotes abortion and rations care.

Most recently, she appeared on CNN’s AC 360 after the election and railed against Obama’s upcoming $2 billion dollar trip to Asia, which would include the redeployment of a tenth of the U.S. Navy, as an example of the waste that needs to be eliminated from government.  Unfortunately, as Anderson Cooper points out, the notion that a Presidential trip could cost more per day than the war in Afghanistan is preposterous and untrue.

A senior GOP aide on Capitol Hill told NBC News that the chance of Bachmann securing the GOP Conference Chair is, “slim to none.” The aide continued, “She’d be hard-pressed to find the votes to win that job.”  However, given the number of Tea Party backed candidates that enabled the Republican takeover of the House, the pressure on the GOP establishment to give the Tea Party a seat at the leadership table may be significant.

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