Sarah Palin, whose powerful platform of 2010 has been reduced to a sideline perch while she contemplates the presidency, is still hiding out at Fox refusing to take any challenging media scrutiny.

In contrast, Rep. Michele Bachmann is everywhere, even as she’s still trying to live down her Lexington and Concord gaffe in New Hampshire. She was on safe ground with Bill O’Reilly last night saying she’s more than ready for the “vicious” campaign on 2012. The irony is that Bachmann and her Tea Party allies have been providing most of that climate. She was scheduled to be on an actual news show, “Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd and Samantha Guthrie, today. She’s not afraid of the “lamestream media.”

Frankly, I care less about her politics, because she’ll never get my vote. I do, however, care about seeing women running for political office and bearing the gauntlet of the media circuit, instead of doing what Sarah Palin has done for months, which is hide out at Fox or in her bunker studio up in Alaska. If she can’t handle the “lamestream media” then she would be a disaster up against the dictators of the world. Isn’t that how the Right would describe any progressive Democrat using Sarah’s timid tactics?

Palin looks like a wimp compared to Michele Bachmann.

I’d pay for a front row seat to see Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Michele Bachmann debate their political views, because both women would represent their sides well. Sarah would be reduced to rubble by Debbie and it wouldn’t take long for her to do it.

Bachmann’s next stop is standing with Gov. Nikki Haley at a Tea Party rally in South Carolina.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, will extend her upcoming South Carolina trip to speak at a tax day Tea Party rally in Columbia alongside Gov. Nikki Haley, according to a Republican familiar with her plans. The April 18 event on the steps of the South Carolina State House is being organized by the Columbia Tea Party. State Sen. Tom Davis and Treasurer Curtis Loftis, two rising stars in the state’s Republican ranks, are also slated to speak. Bachmann is the first potential GOP presidential candidate to join the rally, expected to be one of the biggest Tea Party events of the year in the state. – Bachmann to appear with Haley at South Carolina Tea Party rally

The reason this is an interesting move is because Bachmann has already moved into Iowa, her home state, securing a place where Mitt Romney can’t participate. South Carolina, which was once thought to be Palin country because of her early endorsement of Nikki Haley, is another critical state for any GOP hopeful.

On the wings of first quarter fundraising that beat Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann continues to court the Tea Party faction, which has softened on the queen of 2010, Sarah Palin, because she’s been lying low. But also because Palin’s blood-libel video after Tucson was enough to make anyone ashamed of her.

There’s also the factor of the quiet before the storm, with Sarah Palin and her team betting that if she jumps into the presidential race the spotlight would be hers and anyone near the stage would be quickly forgotten. They’ve also got to know that 2012 is it for Palin. If she doesn’t jump now it’s never.

But Michele Bachmann’s growing prowess has got to be worrying to Palin’s people, if she wants to run. Of course, Palin’s fan club will say Bachmann actually helps Sarah Palin. I’m not buying that anymore. Bachmann’s determined style, coupled with her hard work and House resume, which includes Intelligence and Finance Services committees, are notches Palin doesn’t have.

Rep. Bachmann is gaffe-prone just like Palin, but she’s not stupid. The presidency is still a far reach, but she can cause a lot of indigestion for the establishment types. But if Sarah Palin can reach the vice presidency, Bachmann is obviously betting she can too. At the very least she can have a seat at the Republican Boys’ Club power table.

Love them or hate them, one thing you can say about both Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin is that at least they have the guts to take on their own political establishment. There’s no woman in Democratic or progressive politics close to having their power or fortitude. However, the power they have is still second tier. But if you’re watching and waiting for more women in power to take the national scene by storm they’re all we’ve got.

This column has been updated.