Last week, a high school sophomore in New Jersey challenged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to a debate on civics and the U.S. Constitution. Given how often Bachmann appears confused about the basics of American laws and traditions, it was an amusing little story.

At least, it seemed like one. Oliver Willis flagged this deeply disturbing story about the right’s reaction to the debate challenge.

A Cherry Hill High School East sophomore who challenged Tea Party champion Michele Bachmann to a constitutional debate says she is concerned for her personal safety.

“A lot of them are calling me a whore,” 16-year-old Amy Myers said, referring to anonymous comments reacting to online news reports about her challenge to the 55-year-old Minnesota congresswoman. […]

Myers and her father, Wayne, posted her letter to Bachmann on CNN’s iReport website on May 6. News outlets including Yahoo and The Atlantic picked up the story over the weekend.

Amy and Wayne Myers said the comments on conservative websites alarmed them most. Several commenters threatened to publish the Myers’ home address.

Others threatened violence, including rape, they said.

The girl’s school has also reportedly received threatening mail.

I get the sense the right is lacking in a sense of limits.

In her original letter to Bachmann, the girl explained, “As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.”

Given the reaction Myers has received, that shadow has grown even larger.

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.