And, while a number of Taibbi’s colorful darts at Bachmann’s position on gay marriage, and gay lifestyle, are pretty wonderful, this straighter section probably best sums up her crazed, overzealous approach to that political issue.

In 2003, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued its famous ruling permitting gay marriage, Bachmann proposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution banning gay marriage—despite the fact that the state legislature had already passed a law making same-sex unions illegal. Even the politicians who were sufficiently gay-phobic to have passed the original anti-¬marriage law were floored by the brazen pointlessness of Bachmann’s bill. “It’s unnecessary, it’s redundant, it’s duplicative,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Ann Rest.

Taibbi even manages to get someone from the Tea Party movement—admittedly, a person in no way representative of the whole of this large and disparate group—to throw a bad word Bachmann’s way.

“Michele Bachmann is—what’s the old-school term?—a poser,” says Chris Littleton, an Ohio Tea Party leader troubled by her support of the Patriot Act and other big-government interventions. “Look at her record and see how ‘Tea Party’ she really is.”

You wouldn’t find this kind of profile in The New York Times—or even on The Daily Beast—but it’s definitely worth your time. Take a moment today to feel Taibbi’s fear and enjoy his excess.

Update: It turns out that while it is an undoubtedly entertaining read, there are suggestions that Taibbi’s reporting on this piece was less impressive than it first appears to be. In The Awl, Abe Sauer attacks Taibbi’s piece on a number of points—particularly for what’s said to be an unfair characterization of the town of Stillwater—but the most worrying might be the degree to which Taibbi appears to have lifted quotes from a 2006 City Pages profile of Bachmann called “The Chosen One.” And without attribution. You can read The Awl piece to see examples of where Taibbi re-reported the quotes. When questioned, Rolling Stone executive editor Eric Bates reportedly told Sauer that two of Taibbi’s notes attributing the quotes to City Pages were removed to save space. This is a curious defense. As I noted above, I enjoyed the piece for its style, and its excess, but some of that might have been trimmed to include the appropriate citations. While we’re on the topic of attribution, I came to The Awl post by way of Jim Romenesko at Poynter, who has Twin City’s Bachmann profile writer G.R. Anderson’s thoughts on the matter.


Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.