I'd like to ask you to do something strange, maybe even a little shocking: take Michele Bachmann seriously.
If you're like most people, chances are you know Bachmann only as that crazy Tea Party congresswoman who delivered her own response to the State of the Union, in which she looked into the wrong camera for seven minutes.
But she IS running for president, and she's not kidding around.
Don't get me wrong -- Bachmann is neither a serious legislator nor a serious thinker. Her ideas are radical nearly to the point of being nuts, and the thought of her in the Oval Office is, well, unsettling.
As a representative of the extreme right, she'd have almost no chance of beating Barack Obama in a general election. But the other candidates in the race could well find her to be more formidable than they expect.