The rapid rise of Michele Bachmann, Minnesota's preeminent Republican Congresswoman, from rank-and-file conservative standard-bearer to Tea Party champion may just be beginning, some members of the Tea Party are arguing.
According to a report from Alex Pappas in the Daily Caller:
"I think she'd be a great member of the leadership of Republicans if they take over," said Ryan Hecker, a Texas lawyer and creator of the Contract from America. "I think that she really strongly represents and truly cares about the Tea Party movement and its values."
Don Hensarling, the Florida director for the 912 Project, has another idea for her. "Last time I talked to Newt Gingrich -- because I really think he wants to run for president -- I told him, I said, 'Michele will make a great vice president for you.'"
The newest wave of lofty predictions about the limits of Bachmann's political aspirations come amid a month of moving and shaking for the Republican lawmaker. Late last month, Bachmann formed the official Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Though the caucus has drawn some criticism from grassroots members of the conservative movement, more than 50 representatives have already joined the newly-minted contingent.
"She is seeking to encourage and provide leadership for a somewhat scattered grouping of conservatives and libertarians," Larry Jacobs, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota told the Daily Caller. "She may realize that without leadership, it will splinter. If she is able to give shape and meaning to the Tea Party groupings, she will solidify her standing as one of the country's preeminent conservative forces."
And Bachmann's growing popularity hasn't come without its benefits. According to a Bloomberg report released last month alongside news of Bachmann's caucus, the conservative Congresswoman's PAC, MichelePAC, raised $4.1 million in the second quarter. That's more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and more than every other House representative apart from John Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia, the top two Republicans in the chamber.
The bright spotlight attracted by Bachmann's charisma and often controversial conservatism is also quick to underline the congresswoman's flaws, however. Below are a few of the Minnesota Representative's greatest hits that have helped cement her position as a favorite target of praise and scorn alike: