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Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone explores Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s ascent from right-wing activist and religious fanatic to media-anointed Serious Republican Contender, and says we shouldn’t make the mistake of laughing her off:

Bachmann’s story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you’ve finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you’ll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it’s a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator.

He–and many political analysts–sees a path for her starting in Iowa, where she was born and lived for some years and where Evangelicals and right-wing zealots in general are known to hold sway over Republican politics. Her campaign is being managed by Ed Rollins, who was at the helm for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee when he upset Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses in 2008; should Bachmann catch fire in Iowa, it’s not inconceivable she rolls to the nomination on the crest of a Tea Party wave. Rolling Stone

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