Michele Bachmann is bad news for the GOP on two fronts, writes Steve Kornacki at Salon. She might somehow win the nomination and thus "cost her party an utterly winnable election," or, more likely, she could push the other candidates too far to the right and play into President Obama's hands. But GOP power-brokers actually need her in the race now—as an important check on Rick Perry, writes Kornacki.
The more Perry speaks, the more it becomes evident that he might not be any better than Bachmann in a general election. If she can draw enough of his Tea Party supporters to slow his momentum, it makes it easier for a more electable candidate, probably Mitt Romney, to win the nomination. It's "playing with fire," writes Kornacki. "But as long as Republicans are genuinely concerned about Perry's electability, they're probably better off having Bachmann around." Click for the full column.