Welcome to the Fun House

How two loudmouthed members of Congress have used the health-care debate — and YouTube — to become partisan darlings

Photo-Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME

Civility is so 20th century. In today's Congress, the propriety of a gentleman and $5 will get you lots of committee work and a ham sandwich. Embrace the new media landscape, however, and you can break out in the national media fun house as an Internet and cable-news populist. Fame and campaign cash await.

Just take a look at this year's two great breakout stars of partisanship: Florida Democrat Alan Grayson and Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann. Once upon a time, their junior status in the House of Representatives, with its 435 power-hungry politicos, might have confined them to their cramped offices...

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