I'm not sure why this is such a big deal.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has confirmed with us that she will broadcast her response to Barack Obama's State Of The Union address this Tuesday. You'll be able to watch her rebut Obama via her address which will be broadcast on our website: www.TeaPartyExpress.org
Is it a "rival" to the official GOP response from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)? Not really. In 2008, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius gave the official Democratic response to George W. Bush's final State of the Union. But candidate for president Barack Obama gave one, too.
In 2007, then-presidential-candidate John Edwards counter-programmed Jim Webb. (Apologies if you've eaten before watching this.)
So there's precedent for what Bachmann and the Tea Party Express are doing. It's just that the precedent includes presidential candidates and people with national ambitions.