Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been unfairly compared to Sarah Palin. There is a certain sexism in lining the two up, as opposed to lining up Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who are both Tea Party favorites, or Bachmann and Newt Gingrich (new and old grass-roots favorites). Bachmann has very little aside from party and gender in common with Palin. Bachmann is a current and experienced officeholder, a lawyer and able to opine on specifics of legislation. In a very real sense, Palin is no Michele Bachmann.
And it is for this reason, I think, that whatever slim chance there was for a Palin presidential candidacy will evaporate when Bachmann, if as expected, gets into the race next week. The comparison would not be favorable, and the media — determined to have the “girl fight” story line — would observe with glee (oddly, since Bachmann is hardly the mainstream candidate’s favorite) each poll and contest in which Bachmann trumped the “fading star” of the Republican Party. (Or whatever headline they come up with.)
In the Daily Caller, Caroline May asks what Bachmann can learn from the Palin experience. Former McCain campaign adviser Michael Goldfarb warns, “ It is obvious the media does not take Bachmann seriously. They don’t take her views seriously and they don’t take the view of her supporters seriously even though that is a huge segment of the Republican Party and the country.”
It is hard to argue with that, but it is equally true that Bachmann has the ability to engage the mainstream media on issues in a way Palin could not. She, unlike Palin, has the advantage of reduced expectations and a lawyer’s mind for debate. Frankly, the only one who should be concerned about the Palin comparison is Palin, who probably won’t run, in part, because the comparison does not favor her.