It sucks when it happens to you.
That’s what happened to former Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, whose campaign advisers are blaming her campaign’s failure in part on rampant sexism within conservative ranks.
No, you read that correctly. Sexism; just like when Fox News selectively highlighted the rampant sexism in the media coverage of Head Mama Grizzly-in-charge Sarah Palin during the 2008 election, the ultra-conservative – and anti-feminist – Bachmann camp is making selective accusations of male dominance because they didn’t get what they want.
They point to an email by one of Rick Santorum’s advisers as a case in point:
“Rival presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director, Jamie Johnson, sent out an email saying that children’s lives would be harmed if the nation had a female president. […]
‘The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’ Johnson’s email said.”
Johnson’s views were what he called “reflections on over 25 years of formal, theological study [based in] classical Christian doctrine” or what less ridiculous people call “Christian supremacism,” which upholds patriarchy as a core principle. Christian supremacism is a dominant narrative of the Republican Party, a narrative as much the part of Bachmann’s campaign as any of the other clowns. Even as Bachmann’s advisers are complaining of this sexism, however, the irony here is that Bachmann once made a similar pronouncement on a woman’s place back in 2006:
“‘My husband said ‘Now you need to go and get a post-doctorate degree in tax law.’ Tax law! I hate taxes—why should I go and do something like that?’ she told the audience. ‘But the Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.'”
Her camp responded thus:
“After Bachmann left the race, several of her advisers pointed to sexism as a contributing factor. ‘We did believe that sexism — I use the stronger word misogyny — was at play,’ said Peter Waldron, her faith outreach coordinator.”
As a Christian supremacist and conservative Bachmann worked as hard to undermine women’s rights as the other male candidates her advisers now decry – no doubt reflecting her own sentiment; and she did so as part of her ideology and to get elected. Now that same sexism has turned around and bit her in the ass, leaving her supporters unable to do anything about it but whine because it cost her – and them – a shot at the White House.
People are free to make their own political and ideological choices, but this is what can happen when one works against one’s fundamental interests – i.e. race, class or in this case, gender – in order to advance one’s career; opportunism of which as a practitioner, Bachmann isn’t the first, nor will she be the last.
Be careful what you wish for …