I really enjoyed this Greg Sargent item about Michele Bachmann. Turns out that just after Bachmann claimed (again) during the Ames debate that the S&P downgrade proved her right, the folks at S&P made it even clearer than previously that, no, a big part of the downgrade was actually the prominent political influence of people (such as Michele Bachmann) who welcome default.
Remember, Bachmann's position isn't that the deficit deal wasn't good enough. Her position was -- is -- that the debt limit should never go up. Period. End of story. No matter what the trade-off. In that sense, S&P isn't entirely wrong. The risk of US default would equal the risk that (1) Bachmann becomes president, and (2) actually carries about the policy she has pledged to carry out. I continue to believe the odds of that first one are remote indeed, and I have no idea about the second part of it, but I suppose I also have no idea how S&P should go about assessing the risk of all of that happening.
I'm not sure I can think of a presidential candidate similar to Bachmann, with her combination of fringe positions, well-rehearsed rhetoric, and lack of contact with reality. She's very different from Sarah Palin or George W. Bush, both of whom were mostly indifferent to and ignorant of government and public affairs. Bachmann isn't that. She's a lot more like Ron Paul, in some ways, but there's a partisanship to her that works a lot differently than Paul's views work for him.
See also Joe Scarborough, quoted here.
And: great catch!