The Palin Bachmann Parallel
Granite State Republicans haven’t had any success in getting former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to make our state part of her political travels as she continues to flirt with the idea of a presidential bid in 2012. But they are about to get the closest thing to the original article when Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann visits New Hampshire in mid-March. Palin and Bachmann cut very similar political profiles right down to their social and religious conservatism, Midwestern folksiness, outspoken (and polarizing) leadership roles in the tea party movement, and generally high media visibility. Bachmann is also rumored to be considering a run for the Republican nomination.
What I find intriguing is the possibility that Bachmann’s visit could serve the dual purpose of introducing the Congresswoman to local Republican activists and voters, while also giving political observers an approximate read on how Palin might play here should she ever set foot in the state again. While I have previously been skeptical about Bachmann’s potential to be the Republican nominee (and I still am), I will say that given her systematic approach to visiting early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, she is increasingly looking like a more serious candidate than Palin. In the coming months, I will be interested to see the extent to which Bachmann is able to crowd into the public space in our political culture previously reserved for Palin.

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