Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential bid may have gone down in flames, but the Minnesota congresswoman appears poised to rise from the ashes in 2013.
Sources close to the Tea Party darling say that when the new Congress begins in January she will challenge Speaker John Boehner for leadership of the House Republicans.
The loquacious firebrand already leads the conservative Tea Party Caucus, and if her bid for Speaker is successful it will complete the Tea Party's transition from a fringe protest group to the most powerful ideological bloc within the Republican Party.
Bachmann has been quietly building support within the House Republican ranks since the election, and aides say she already has 70 votes locked down - halfway to the number needed to be elected her party's choice.
Steuern Macht Frei
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Currant, Rep. Bachmann refused to discuss her future plans, but she sounded every bit the candidate:
"America has been rocked by this economic crisis. And I find it outrageous that in the middle of the deepest recession since the 1930's the president and the Republican leadership are negotiating a plan to raise taxes on American families."
"Speaker Boehner insists on helping Obama perpetrate this fiscal atrocity, and it's time he be held responsible by his caucus. We were elected to oppose Obama, not roll over for him."
Bachmann dismisses the idea that Republican's must compromise with Obama on taxes, likening such a deal to the appeasement policies of the pre-WW2 era:
"Neville Chamberlain compromised with Hitler in the 1930's, and look where that got us. Now I'm not saying Obama is the same as Hitler. There are some differences - Obama doesn't believe in white supremacy, for example."
"But I am saying that if we allow Obama to raise taxes on the top 2%, most Evangelical Christians will be living in concentration camps by 2016. Its like that old saying: First, they came for the billionaires but I did nothing because I wasn't a billionaire. Then they came for the millionaires, but I did nothing because I wasn't a millionaire."
"Then they came for every virgin Christian female in America between the ages of 18 and 22 and sold them into Muslim sex slavery in Saudi Arabia. And I did nothing because by then the tax hikes had collapsed the economy and I was too hungry to stop them."
Two Heartbeats Away
Boehner is under tremendous pressure from the right not to cave into the Obama administration's demand for tax increases on the wealthy. However, with the fiscal cliff looming and his leverage waning he may have little choice.
Bachmann's challenge reveals the extent of the divisions of the GOP, whose Tea Party faction believes it is in a struggle to save Western civilization from socialism:
"John Boehner may be comfortable leading our nation down the path of collaboration with the forces of Obama's red oppression," she explains, " But I am not. Like Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt - I will stand and fight."
If elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bachmann will be the first Republican woman to hold that position. She would also be second in line to succeed the President in case of death or incapacity, behind Vice-President Joe Biden.