Michele Bachmann for president? What a Bachmann run means for Sarah Palin.

From Wasilla to Washington.
March 28 2011 6:46 PM

Are We Watching the Wrong Republican Woman?

What a Michele Bachmann candidacy means for Sarah Palin.

The world has been asking one magnetic, controversial, conservative brunette for months now whether she'll be running for president. But since Sarah Palin has refused to answer, Michele Bachmann is proceeding as if she were the brunette in question: Late last week, sources close to Bachmann said she plans to throw her hat in the ring for the GOP nomination. Her first-mover advantage might make life quite difficult for Palin, since the two women would draw from a similar pool of social conservatives and Tea Party voters. It's possible the surprisingly popular Bachmann could build key early momentum in Iowa, which is looking quite socially conservative this election cycle, and grab voters even before Palin declares. 

Palin, meanwhile, took to Facebook to broadcast that she is done engaging in petty squabbles with the lamestream media, and will now "pick her battles." First, though, she defensively declared that such feuds don't constitute "playing the victim card"—a charge that was among the highly critical accusations leveled at her by prominent conservatives in a recent Politico piece. Whether Palin actually does dial back the grudge matches isn't really the point (I wouldn't put money on it); what's interesting is that she seems worried that she might be damaging her reputation as a serious political player. She'd have ignored such criticisms if she were only concerned about stoking the fires of celebrity. Still, this only offsets the Bachmann news slightly, so the Palin meter dips to 49 percent.

Previous Palin Meter Readings

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011: 53 percent

Friday, March 18, 2011: 55   percent

Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
55 percent

Thursday, March 10, 2011: 48 percent

Tuesday, March 8, 2011:
35 percent

Monday, March 7, 2011:
40 percent 

Friday, March 3, 2011:
45 percent

Tuesday, March 1, 2011:
51 percent

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

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