Like it or not, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has a well-earned reputation for generating controversy, and her presidential run will surely amplify her capacity as a political lightning rod.
All that attention will leave an impact on her 6th District constituents, and if Thursday's mordantly over-the-top profile piece in Rolling Stone is any indication, some of it may not be very kind to the communities she represents.
Stillwater blogger Karl Bremer—himself no fan of Bachmann—picks apart Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi's shallow portrayal of his beloved city as an all-white, "retro-Stepford" town that gave birth to a "political psychopath." Bremer says Taibbi never visited Stillwater, preferring instead to conjure a glib description from afar.
Earlier in the week, Bremer predicted that this sort of maligning of the local culture was inevitable—that Stillwater would become "the next Wasilla" as reporters and pundits try to craft a narrative where Bachmann came from and who first put her into office.
Also leading the backlash against the Rolling Stone piece is The Awl's Abe Sauer, who pillories Taibbi for mining the work of local bloggers like Bremer and Ken Avidor without proper attribution, and for relying on an also-uncredited 2006 City Pages article to provide quotes from Bachmann's detractors.
Sauer calls the article a "hit piece" that will play into conservative talking points about left-wing bias in the media. "By tomorrow," he writes, "it wouldn't be surprising to see Bachmann's own campaign distributing photocopies of it in Iowa."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Bachmann and fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty are both gaining in the polls. The AP also explores the source of her campaign funds, which are increasingly coming from small donations from individuals.
Bachmann is set to roll out her presidential campaign in earnest Monday with an appearance in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa. Shortly thereafter, she will embark on a three-state tour of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—all crucial early Republican caucus/primary states. Fox News reports that Bachmann is criticizing President Obama's decision to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Do you like art? Do you like Michele Bachmann? Even if you like neither one, you might be entertained by Max Sparber's latest MinnPost column, in which he explores the (surprisingly voluminous) catalog of art that has been inspired by the conservative firebrand.
Finally, conservative blog The American Thinker delves into some recent comments Bachmann made regarding the high rate of unemployment in the black community, and meditates on the complex relationship between race and conservative politics.