Side by side, Sarah Palin appears more polished and media savvy than Michelle Bachmann. Palin's outfits are sharper and her social media outreach is one of the best there is. However, not too long ago, Palin was a little rough around the edges. The McCain campaign essentially pulled a What Not To Wear on Palin and transformed her into a stylish and savvy politico.
Bachmann may not be as slick as Palin, but it is a grave mistake to dismiss Bachmann as a "poor man's Sarah Palin," as stated by Meghan McCain in a post SOTU interview. Bachmann's Facebook page may not have all the bells and whistles and her speaking style may need an overhaul, but that can be easily taken care of by PR firm. The style will come, what is important is that Bachman has the substance and a base.
Just in numerical terms, Bachmann has a strong base of support to stand on. If we look at home base support alone, Bachmann wins. Her Minnesota district at 750,00 residents handily beats out Palin's 700,000 residents. Add to that the institutional base that Bachman has -- she is not only a U.S. congresswoman but the founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.
Bachmann has demonstrated experience in representing both her constituents and her conservative elected peers. Over the last year she has criss-crossed the country stumping for fellow conservative candidates. The demand for her presence is an indicator of her star power.
An additional feather in Bachmann's cap was Justice Scalia's acceptance of Bachmann's invitation to speak to the Tea Party Caucus. This only underscores her position of influence within the capitol. Within conservative circles she demonstrated that her calls get answered
As for Palin? The ability to point to her days as an elected official are fading and rendering her more of a TLC than a DC type.
Palin also does not have a monopoly on going rogue. Bachmann's biggest political win thus far was her SOTU response where she thumbed her nose at the Republican Party establishment. I agree with Meagan McCain that the address was not smooth, to say the least, but it got the notice of the Party and the electorate.
With her SOTU response, Bachman was also able to flex some media muscle. Her Tea Party response was carried in its entirety by CNN and then got a healthy run on the news cycle across venues. The Speaker of the House may have tried to dismiss her, but she gained more attention than Ryan's official response. Bachmann garnered so much attention that she even had her very own SNL spoof the following Saturday.
Bachmann's resume even beats out Palin's. Bachmann has the family credentials (she has five children and has provided foster care to more than a dozen), she has a J.D., L.L.M. and is a small business owner. As for experience as an elected official, Bachmann and Palin both have a total of 11 years under their respective belts.
Finally, the Tucson tragedy dealt a stiff blow to Palin's brand. Conservative talk about guns and targets are nothing new. But, it just so happened that an actual target was drawn by Palin on Gifford's district.
Both Palin and Bachmann are conservative female politicians who have been hinting at a presidential run. One may be slightly smoother than the other, but in terms of viability there is no poor man version in sight.
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