Michele Bachmann is not Sarah Palin

Let's drop our misguided attempts to compare the two conservatives, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. The truth is: Only one is a viable politician

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sarah Palin
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, RICK WILKING/Reuters/Corbis)

It's apparently "impossible to resist": The media produces "scads of stories" comparing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) with Sarah Palin, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. And while it's true that both women "align most closely with social conservatives [and] are outspoken defenders of their chosen causes whose rhetoric occasionally gets them into hot water," Bachmann has proven she differs from Palin in key ways. The Minnesota Republican is eager to debate her fellow Republicans on a national stage, while Palin prefers to hold "decidedly one-way conversations" on Facebook and Twitter. Palin shuns outside advisers, and remains stranded on a "strategic island," while Bachmann employs big-name GOP veterans like Ed Rollins. Bottom line: Bachmann, who said today that she's not about to satisfy the media by "mud wrestling" with Palin, is "the more viable of the two when it comes to the 2012 presidential race." Here, an excerpt:

The confounding thing for many political strategists who have watched Palin over the past few years is her seeming refusal to reach beyond her core supporters. The result is that people who love Palin really love her but that is not a large enough group to win her a single state much less the GOP nomination. Bachmann has similarly fervent support among those who identify themselves as "very conservative" politically but, rhetorically at least, seems to understand the need to grow beyond that base. In her announcement speech, Bachmann bear-hugged the Tea Party but she also sought to redefine what it meant to support the movement; "It's made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans," said Bachmann. "We're people who simply want America back on the right track again."

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