The Associated Press reports:

Tea party favorite and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is feeling pressure from the political calendar to rush a decision on a White House bid and may announce her intentions as early as May, one of her top advisers said Thursday.

Bachmann, a third-term congresswoman from Minnesota, could form a presidential exploratory committee before two televised Republican debates scheduled the first week of May, said Ed Brookover, a Bachmann adviser.

“I’m not sure the debate is what’s going to make our final decision,” he said. “Is it a factor? Yes.”

One can speculate that with Sarah Palin increasingly unlikely to run, Bachmann is seizing an opportunity to become the top firebrand conservative woman. One can cynically say this will simply raise her speaking fees and profile, or one can imagine she might actually be convinced (however unmoored from reality) that an inexperienced congresswoman with a propensity for saying outlandish things could win the nomination. It’s not the first time an ambitious politician ran for a high office to build his or her resume.

But the reaction of the punditocracy is, well, hysterical. Republican guru Mike Murphy proclaims: “Bachmann 2012: Good for the Media, Bad for the GOP.” Blogger Charles Johnson wails, “This is great news for Democrats, of course, because let’s face it — Bachmann is one of the looniest of the loony Republicans. If she runs, she’ll do an excellent job of exposing the GOP for what they are: intolerant, reactionary, ignorant, fanatically religious, and possessed of more than a few loose screws.” While conservatives hyperventilated, Howard Kurtz was a lonely voice of well-advised skepticism, asking whether this wasn’t simply “a tease.” As Kurtz pointed out, her actual statements to ABC’s Jonathan Karl were less than unequivocal:

“I’m in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation in making sure that President Obama only serves one term, not two, because I want to make sure that we get someone who’s going to be making the country work again. That’s what I’m in for. But I haven’t made a decision yet to announce, obviously, if I’m a candidate or not, but I’m in for the conversation.”

More experienced conservative political operative reacted with eye-rolling today. Perhaps they, unlike much of the blogosphere, give Republican primary voters more credit. The campaign-toughened Republicans understand presidential primary voters are a reasonable lot, and — at least outside of Iowa — are unlikely to risk the White House on a fire-breathing presidential nominee.

So to conservatives my advice is simple: chill. Far better to worry about who could win rather than someone who surely won’t.