The XX Factor

Michele Bachmann Will Give a State of the Union Response

According to the Daily Caller , Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will deliver a speech on behalf of the Tea Party after Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. As in, a separate response from the one the Republican Party will give officially. That’s one more step away from the party that spurned Bachmann’s attempts to join its leadership, and a clear signal that the Tea Party doesn’t want to be subsumed quite as readily as the GOP may have hoped. (The GOP is similarly splintered elsewhere; a federal commission on the financial crisis will issue three reports, one from Democrats and two from Republicans, of whom there are four on the panel.)

At the very least, the speech will be another huge publicity grab from Bachmann, who’s recently signaled she might be interested in running for both Senate and president . Bachmann has always seemed to me to be chasing Palin; if stars had been otherwise aligned, she might have filled the role Palin plays in our mediascape, and I’ve always sort of imagined that there must be a rivalry , even if unspoken, between the two women. If that’s the case, of late Bachmann seems to be catching up: Palin’s reality show was a bit of a flop, and she’s been damaged a bit by all the criticism of her martial rhetoric after the Tucson shooting. And, well, she doesn’t really have a job! Unlike Bachmann, who has been working her anti-establishment angle just enough inside the establishment to give her cred-and to land (or maybe create for herself) gigs like this one.