BACHMANN’S PARANOIA RUNS INTO BACHMANN’S SELF-INTEREST…. For much of 2009, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was on a crusade against the U.S. Census.

It started way back in February, when Bachmann explained her belief that President Obama had an elaborate conspiracy in mind, in which the White House would use census data to redraw congressional lines to keep Democrats in power indefinitely. The argument was obviously crazy — state legislatures draw district lines, not the White House — but the Minnesota Republican seemed quite excited about it.

Soon after, the frightening right-wing lawmaker said she and her family would not answer certain census questions, and said the process could lead to “internment camps.”

Oddly enough, while Bachmann hasn’t lowered her profile, she has stopped condemning the census altogether. The Star-Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper, hints at the change in focus.

It’s ironic that a Minnesota member of Congress, Republican Michele Bachmann, went so far last summer to declare her intention to only partially complete her census forms, and to suggest reasons for others not to comply with the census law. If Minnesota loses a congressional seat, Bachmann’s populous Sixth District could be carved into pieces. She likely would have to battle another incumbent to hang on to her seat. We’ve noticed that her anticensus rhetoric has lately ceased. We hope she got wise: Census compliance is not only in Minnesota’s best interest, but also her own.

Yep, as Eric Kleefeld explained, Minnesota may be one of the states likely to lose a congressional seat this decade. If the delegation is to shrink, “Bachmann’s district would likely be the first to go if the state lost a seat.”

As such, the more Bachmann urges her constituents to follow her lead and resist the census, the better the chance that Bachmann’s district would disappear and she’d be out of Congress.

Given a choice between her paranoia and keeping her seat, Bachmann seems to prioritize the latter. She’s delusional, but she’s still self-interested.

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.