7. Michele Bachmann « The Washington Independent
Omnipresent and ahead of the curve, the Minnesota congresswoman has become a 21st-century answer to Jesse Helms — a controversialist who gravitates to issues that drive liberals crazy. Sarah Palin’s Facebook post that alleged the creation of “death panels” in the health care bill was inspired by Bachmann’s floor speeches. The successful Republican drive to defund ACORN was borne from months of Bachmann’s attacks on the group. A year of liberal outrage has only furthered Bachmann’s credibility among conservatives: When the House passed a financial reform bill in December, Bachmann merely had to send out email alerts positioning it as a grave threat to freedom, and the conservative base was sold.