Michele Bachmann is far from certain to win the Republican Party nomination for President in 2012. But one thing is looking more and more certain: She will attract more scrutiny from the media than all the other GOP candidates combined. But, judging by the childishness of the attacks Bachmann is drawing from the liberal press, it will be the media, not the candidate, that will be end up diminished.
The most recent revelation unearthed by the media is that the three-term Minnesota congresswoman suffers from incapacitating migraine headaches. Liberal pundits are now speculating that these episodes may make her unfit for office, citing reports that a migraine forced her to miss several House votes in 2010.
Most of the media dismissed Barack Obama’s long record of showing up but refusing to vote “yea” or “nay” on legislation (instead voting “present” 130 times) in the Illinois legislature. Now many of them are feigning distress over a few missed votes by Bachmann.
“Until the extent of Bachmann’s headaches—and the impact they have had on her congressional career—come fully to light,” the Washington Post’s Chris Chilizza wrote recently, “it’s hard to see the fitness for office questions disappearing completely.”
Even more disqualifying, according to the liberal media, is Michele and her husband Marcus’ beliefs that homosexuality is a sin, that the practice of homosexuality is a choice, and that marriage in the union of one man and one woman. Rep. Bachmann has called homosexuality a “personal bondage.”
The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen believes these views make Bachmann “a bigot” and “wholly unqualified for the presidency.” He also mocks Marcus, a clinical psychologist, for practicing “conversion therapy,” which, Cohen writes, “is supposed to make heterosexuals out of homosexuals, so that they would be in conformity with what God wants…”
Homosexual activists and cultural liberals are threatened by the idea that anyone could or would turn away from the gay lifestyle. Some pundits and comics have now taken to analyzing Dr. Bachmann’s voice and mannerisms for signs that he may be a closeted gay man.
Of course, the Bachmanns’ views are hardly extreme. They are completely in keeping with Christian moral theology, even if the affirmation of that doctrine is rarely heard from the pulpit these days.
The view that homosexuality is immoral is shared by tens of millions of Americans. A 2008 Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans believe it is “morally wrong,” the same share that believes it is “morally acceptable.”
Perhaps the most ridiculous issue raised about Bachmann is her stated belief that she is submissive toward her husband. In a 2006 interview, Bachmann recounted her decision to go into tax law at the urging of her husband:
She said, “Tax law! I hate taxes! Why should I go and do something like that? … But the Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.’ ”
This traditional view of the marital relationship may seem out of place today, especially at a time when the best-seller lists are full of books with titles such as Are Men Necessary?
The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus devoted an entire column to Bachmann’s submissiveness quote. Marcus asks, “Would Bachmann be a submissive President?” and wonders how a President Bachmann “would reconcile the tensions between her understanding of the biblical view of woman’s role and the demands of the presidency.”
When Bachmann isn’t being ridiculed for her biblical views or questioned about her migraines, she’s being lampooned for her alleged misstatements. Bachmann is often labeled “gaffe-prone.” But most of the examples the media cite fall into one of two categories.
They are either facts that the Left refuses to acknowledge—such as Bachmann’s view that “not all cultures are equal,” or her statement that Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill when she was starved to death.
Or they are opinions that liberal elites find controversial. These include Bachmann’s view that the high abortion rate among black mothers amount to “genocide,” her belief that homosexuality is a “sexual dysfunction” and her suspicion that President Obama may hold “anti-American views.”
As far as actual gaffes go, Bachmann has committed very few. She once accidentally moved the battles of Lexington and Concord from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, and she once confused the hometowns of serial killer John Wayne Gacy and John Wayne.
But these don’t compare to the flubs and faux pas of our gaffe machine vice president, Joe Biden. Nor are her slipups any worse than those Barack Obama made while campaigning for President four years ago.
Obama’s verbal stumbles included claiming he had visited 57 states, asserting that a Kansas tornado had killed 10,000 people when only 12 had died, and mistaking when the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Ala., took place.
We’ve seen this movie before. When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen as Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign, she was vilified from Day One. While ignoring Biden and Obama’s records and missteps, the media obsessed over every Palin flaw and manufactured others.
Bachmann is receiving the same treatment, and it will only get worse in the year ahead. As with Palin, the media loath Bachmann’s unapologetic conservatism, her evangelical Christianity, her folksy manner and, perhaps most of all, her “new feminism.”
But, when added to her strong debating skills, command of the issues, ability to connect with voters and fund-raising prowess, these qualities make Bachmann a formidable presidential candidate.