WHEN MCCARTHYISM REARS ITS HEAD…. I’ve had an ongoing discussion with a long-time reader, who goes by the name of Zeitgeist, about who the single most ridiculous member of Congress is. He’s tried to convince me the prize goes to Rep. Steve King of Iowa who, to be sure, is stark raving mad.

But I’m afraid, Zeitgeist, the contest is over. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), as Hilzoy highlighted last night, is calling for a neo-McCarthyism that can fairly be described as bordering on fascism, calling for an investigation to discover whether members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.” Bachmann added that Barack Obama “may have anti-American views.”

As truly nauseating as Bachmann was yesterday, it’s worth noting that The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel, on the same program, offered a powerful rebuke of Bachmann, starting with an apropos phrase: “I fear for my country.” The clip is worth watching.

I’d just add that Bachmann’s re-election is hardly assured. In fact, recent polling suggests she’s very vulnerable, facing an aggressive challenge from former state transportation chief Elwyn Tinklenberg, who has pulled to within a few points. One wonders how voters in Minnesota’s 6th will respond to Bachmann’s embrace of neo-McCarthyism.

What’s more, an online campaign to have the House censure Bachmann for her insanity began last night. FYI.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.