Iowa's endlessly-discussed caucus is tomorrow, and as part of Michele Bachmann's extremely uphill battle to win it, she's airing a brand new ad on local TV. The ad, which is only 30 seconds long, at first appears to be just another standard-issue spot laced with half-truths and bland music. Then at the :04 mark, a picture of Margaret Thatcher flashes up next to Bachmann with the caption "America's 'Iron Lady,'" a nickname which she is desperately trying to make stick.

But forget "Iron Lady," the real revelation comes at the :22 mark. As the voiceover man says "and she'll never back down," the words "Titanium Spine" flash over a picture of Bachmann. First of all, what is up with her obsession with being a lady made of metal? This "titanium spine" bit is language she's used before to indicate that she's a strong fighter. When she trotted out the phrase this summer, it seemed harmless enough, if a bit stupid. But that was before she'd really started in earnest on her campaign to always seem as insane. Now, after months of observing her increasingly strange behavior, the thought of her having a titanium spine raises more serious questions and concerns. Namely, is Michele Bachmann a terminator?

Sure, it sounds outlandish, but, for one thing, it would certainly explain why she's always got that faraway look in her eyes—because she's scanning us to decide who to take down! It'd also explain why she seems to respond to questions with often nonsensical stock phrases. The one thing that doesn't really match up is that, as far as we know, she hasn't killed anyone yet (and, in fact, she usually likes to shun confrontation).

Maybe she's some kind of defective machine whose signals got crossed. Or maybe she's not a terminator that was sent to kill but rather a strange human/robot hybrid created as part of an experiment to see just how much craziness the American public will unquestioningly accept. Think about it: this is why that Gay Robot felt he needed to communicate with her! It's all starting to make so much sense. Maybe she wants us to save her from her creators and that's why she sent us this clue in her ad? Should we try to help her? Or should we just wait for some trickster to figure out how to reprogram her so that she swears uncontrollably and screams, "I agree 100% with Barack Obama!!!" at random intervals, making this the best presidential campaign of all time?

Bachmann Returns to Iowa Airwaves [New York Times]