michelle bachmann

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 17, 2011 in New Orleans

*We have our second casualty of the 2012 Republican primaries. After the thin-as-dental-floss win by Mitt Romney over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucus, Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann threw in the towel last week.

Bachmann will go down as one of the most bizarre candidates the country’s ever had – and that’s saying a lot. She rose to the public’s eye on the back of the Tea Party movement, gaining support and scorn for a series of public and caustic damnations of the Obama administration, sounding like a super-right wing, dumbed-down version of Frances McDormand’s character from Fargo. It was enough to propel her into the Republican race and even get her a win in the ultimately-worthless Iowa straw poll.

However, like a lot of the Republican candidates, the glare of the spotlight revealed some killer flaws. There was the absolutely creepy Newsweek cover and a series of stiff and stuttering debate appearances that garnered no new votes for her, but one awesome Kristen Wiig impression.  Most bizarrely, there was the problem of her husband Marcus, a malicious Pillsbury doughboy-like figure that – well, I’ll just let The Daily Show detail the problems with him.

With the Bachmann out, the race lost a lot of its comedy but gained a bit of clarity. It seems likely that Romney will take the New Hampshire primary – but Santorum’s surprise finish shows that the Republican base is still ambivalent over the supposed frontrunner. It’s going to be anyone’s race.