Yes, the Bachmann v. Palin storyline is a little tired. The two attractive, conservative, matriarchal politicians might make natural rivals, but they need not be specifically pitted against each other just because they’re women. Still, it’s fun to stoke the nonexistent competition.

So, for what it’s worth, Rep. Michele Bachmann ranks No. 22 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women, released yesterday. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ranks No. 34. The rankings are based on three metrics: Dollars, a traditional and social media component and power base points.

Perhaps Bachmann beat Palin in part because she is a declared presidential candidate, while Palin is still playing coy — at least, the list and various summaries of it on Forbes’ website emphasized that point. Palin’s media appearances certainly outstrip Bachmann’s: She has posted nearly 13,000 TV and radio hits to Bachmann’s nearly 4,000, and she has amassed more than 54,000 press clips to Bachmann’s 14,806. But, then, Bachmann also remains an elected official and, as such, had the opportunity to actually vote on the debt ceiling deal that so dominated the news in mid-summer. Certainly, anyone who has any kind of say over how the federal government spends trillions of dollars wields significant influence. (As an aside, Bachmann also beats Palin in years. I didn’t realize until I read this list that she’s eight years older than Palin!)

Of course, Bachmann and Palin weren’t the only U.S. politicians on the list. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, ranked No. 52. I couldn’t help but be exultant at her reduced power: From her new position of Minority Leader, she can do far less damage than she did in 2010. And, of course, as a “baby Palin” (kidding! Like most young conservative girls, I thought the Elle moniker for us a little silly), I couldn’t help but be glad our “Mama Grizzlies” beat Pelosi.

But all three venerable political leaders bowed to the youngest gal on the listLady Gaga, the 25-year-old entertainer extraordinaire. Her left-leaning agenda drives me a little mad, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love her music. I dance every time one of her songs comes on the radio. With $90 million in earnings, extraordinary fundraising prowess (her endorsement of MAC Viva Glam lip gloss and lipstick raised some $202 million to fight HIV/AIDS) and record-breaking number of followers on Twitter (she was the first to break 12 million, ahead of Justin Bieber and Barack Obama), she’s too huge to ignore.

Forbes also compiled a list of women poised to assume power in the future. Tea Party darling Nikki Haley ranked high on that list, along with comedienne Kristen Wiig of Bridesmaids fame. Fun stuff.