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Move over, Sarah Palin … the professional left has a new target.

After an impressive performance in the first major GOP presidential debate of the 2012 primary season, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has found herself on the receiving end of the slings and arrows of one of the far left’s most pointed penmen.

His basic message? It’s important to take Bachmann seriously – even if she’s really not worthy of being taken seriously.

“Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau,” writes Matt Taibbi in the latest edition of Rolling Stone. “She’s trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don’t, because the secret of Bachmann’s success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.”


Of course, Taibbi – who credits Bachmann’s unlikely emergence to her “narcissistic tenacity” was just getting warmed up.

“Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions,” Taibbi writes. “She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government.”

While Taibbi’s piece is generally focused on virulent anti-Bachmann hyperbole, to his credit he does delve into the Tea Party diva’s support for the Patriot Act – and various vestiges of the “compassionate conservatism” that Republicans don’t like to talk about now that they’re auditioning for another White House opportunity.

Most of the article, however, is focused on slamming Bachmann’s strident social conservatism – which we agree is one of the least attractive features of her otherwise MILFtacular bid and a real threat to her earning the support of fiscally conservative independents.

Taibbi also correctly notes that Bachmann’s impressive debate performance was “not a terribly difficult thing to do, given that this may be the sorriest group of presidential hopefuls ever assembled.”

We agree … although we’re withholding judgment on Bachmann until we hear specific tax and spending policy from her campaign.

Bachmann’s strong debate performance has shot her up in the polls. For example, a recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey in early-voting Florida showed Bachmann trailing only GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Also, some analysts are arguing that a high-profile Rolling Stone hit piece is just what her candidacy needed.

“Bachmann plans on fully leveraging the negative publicity with her base: they see leftist attacks as a point of pride and an indication of strength,” one analyst notes.

UPDATE: Bachmann will be swinging through South Carolina on June 28-29. In fact, she’s scheduled five public events.