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Charlotte offered some interesting thoughts this morning about Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and the treatment of conservative women by the mainstream media. I agree with Charlotte that Washington’s political elites and the media have, at times, unfairly crucified Palin, who has helped redefine the meaning of “feminism.” The left loathes the notion that a female leader doesn’t have to support a big government agenda, and Palin’s folksy style has made her an easy target. 

But I disagree with Charlotte that Michele Bachmann should write a thank-you note to Palin. As I’ve written before, Palin has failed to do her homework. She’s had all the time and resources in the world; yet she’s more focused on her publicity tours than on taking the time to master difficult public policies.

Bachmann, in a truly American vein, has made a concerted effort to refashion her image. She’s no longer found screaming at big political rallies; instead, she’s making sober, thoughtful appearances on Sunday news shows. Instead of a bus tour, Bachmann has made overseas trips to Latin America, for instance, to ramp up her foreign policy credentials.

As I said on To the Contrary over the weekend, Bachmann has a lot of obstacles to overcome.  For starters, she’s only a representative, some voters may perceive her as too closely aligned with social conservatives, and others may find her connection to the Tea Party movement a liability. In addition, she’s made some inflammatory remarks and spearheaded some efforts while in Congress that will likely be viewed as extreme. Still, there’s no doubt she’s worked hard at revamping her persona.

I don’t imagine Bachmann will get a free-pass from the media. But their treatment of her isn’t a function of Palin paving the path for another female conservative. Rather, it’s the result of Bachmann’s focused, hard work.