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1. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota)
The Demagogue Slugger With Power to All Fields
Years from now, historians will look back on the year 2013 and think to themselves, Michele Bachmann? Really?
She's the rare politician who can demagogue any issue — and the only member of Congress weird enough to be nominated by everyone contacted for this article, be they Republican or Democrat. If there's a crusade requiring crazy talk, Bachmann is sure to be yammering on a newscast near you.
Perhaps only Donald Trump rivals her thirst for attention, a neediness that often causes her to fabricate arguments from Play-Doh. She's claimed that hundreds of scientists and Nobel Prize winners support intelligent design and that same-sex marriage will force judges to tell little kids, "Homosexuality is normal, and you should try it."
During an appearance on the Today show, Bachmann suggested that the HPV vaccine could cause mental retardation. She's also intimated that there's a direct correlation between swine flu outbreaks and Democratic presidencies.
Finally, she's claimed that no study has ever shown that carbon dioxide is harmful to the environment — neglecting the hundreds of studies concluding just that.
But her worst stunt came last year, when she launched a McCarthyesque witch hunt to rid Washington of Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators. Her prime suspect was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, whose only crime was having a foreign-sounding name.
But even if she were voted out tomorrow, Bachmann's legacy would live on: Roughly a third of this list is composed of frequent Bachmann co-conspirators. Not only is she their leader but she's a role model too, the crazy North Star that guides them, even as she makes an ever-growing number of Americans question this whole experiment we call democracy.