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Bachmann: The XX Factor - Is sexism to blame for the MN Congresswoman's decline in popularity?
Al Jazeera ^ | January 6, 2012 | Cliff Schecter

Posted on 01/06/2012 5:17:57 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Have we lost ye, Michele Bachmann?

The answer would seem to be yes, as the sharp-tongued, googly-eyed Minnesota Congresswoman suspended her presidential campaign after receiving only five per cent of the Iowa Caucus vote in the state where she was born.

To put that in perspective, Michele Bachmann only got 6,000 more votes in Iowa than Johann Sebastian Bach. It was the culmination of a stunning turn of events over the past few months, after her candidacy surged when she won the Iowa straw poll in August.

Soon afterwards, however, her poll numbers went south faster than General William Tecumseh Sherman. Why did that happen? And what does it tell us about the vestiges of sexism still present in our political culture as a whole, and specifically on display among the far-right Christian conservatives currently dominating the Republican Party? A lot, actually.

As someone who looked upon the possibility of a Bachmann presidency with much the same anticipatory glee as I would walking barefoot up Mount Everest or drinking Liquid Drano, one might not expect me to possess even an ounce of sympathy for the Congresswoman.

Sure, I think she's a few kernels short of a corn dog, but then again I am of much the same opinion about Newt Gingrich and either of the Praying Ricks (Santorum and Perry). To base Republican voters, however, preemptively bombing Iran, giving Ryan Seacrest tax cuts on Ascot purchases and sowing firearms into one's forelimbs are likely a part of the panoply of "ideas".

So loony musings were not why Bachmann was kicked to the curb.

'Women's submission'

But I have a sneaking suspicion that gender - and, specifically, Bachmann's lack of a Y chromosome - had a lot to do with it. According to Taylor Marsh, author of The Hillary Effect: Politics, Sexism & The Destiny of Loss: "Once Rick Perry rode in, Bachmann was ignored. By virtue of his macho Texan maleness, he was automatically elevated, even as her debate performances remained stellar."

Or to put it the way writer Michelle Goldberg did in The Daily Beast: "She stumped as much as Santorum, had staff problems no worse than Gingrich’s and made lesser gaffes than Perry."

So how was it that the Texas Two Thought stole her thunder when he entered the race?

Many Christian Right leaders and the voters who dominate the primary in Iowa preach women's submission, so is it really a stretch to believe they thought a female politician should adopt the same role? The optics were certainly there, when during a debate on "family issues" in November, almost out of instinct or perhaps expectation, Bachmann got up to pour water for her male colleagues seated around a table on the stage with her.

There was plenty of other evidence, such as when the Union County, Iowa GOP Chair told an AP reporter, "I've noticed that when her name is mentioned sometimes that there's a lot of men that wouldn't vote for a woman."

Some of Bachmann's advisers agreed with this sentiment.

Comedian and fellow Minnesotan Lizz Winstead - who has toured for Planned Parenthood and is passionate about women's issues - went so far as to tell me, "when I put my tinfoil hat on, I almost think they push forward women of no substance like Bachmann and [Sarah] Palin, because [women such as] Olympia Snowe and Kay Bailey Hutchinson might actually succeed".

When I put my tinfoil hat on I also suspect similar things, but no "conspiracy theories" are even necessary for me to conclude that sexism still plays an active role in our politics - particularly on the extreme right of the GOP.

*******

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain, and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bachmann; elvis; feminism; iowa; obsolete; outofstyle; palin; perry
"Women of no substance?" or conservtive women versus RINOs? This guy runs a public relations company? Seriously?!
1 posted on 01/06/2012 5:18:04 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Is sexism to blame for the MN Congresswoman’s decline in popularity?”

No, her mouth is.


2 posted on 01/06/2012 5:19:41 PM PST by Grunthor (Mitt.....Obama without the tan.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Many Christian Right leaders and the voters who dominate the primary in Iowa preach women’s submission”

Really, Cliffy?

I mean, REALLY????


3 posted on 01/06/2012 5:28:02 PM PST by Walrus (Big government is the natural enemy of liberty)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Is sexism to blame for the MN Congresswoman's decline in popularity?

No, it was her gaffes. She was right on the issues, but embarrassments like her Elvis gaffe made it difficult to even defend, much less support her.

4 posted on 01/06/2012 5:28:28 PM PST by TwelveOfTwenty (Compassionate Conservatism? Promoting self reliance is compassionate. Promoting dependency is not.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Sharp mouth; googly-eyed?"

Why even raise the question?

How does Cliff describe/reference Michelle Obama? Oh; to find those quotes. . . no doubt they w.ill not resemble anything found in this story

5 posted on 01/06/2012 5:28:39 PM PST by cricket (/get the 'Occupier out of o;ur White House!/ vote Newt 'in'. . .and it is NOT just the economy!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This from Al Jazeera.

Hilarious.

6 posted on 01/06/2012 5:32:40 PM PST by skeeter
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Lost Your Check Too?

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Become A Monthly Donor


7 posted on 01/06/2012 5:33:11 PM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Al Jazeera?????

Really, dude?


8 posted on 01/06/2012 5:35:08 PM PST by CainConservative (Newt/Santorum 2012 with Cain, Huck, Bolton, Perry, Watts, Duncan, & Bachmann in Newt's Cabinet)
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To: TwelveOfTwenty

Her gaffes were minor compared to those of B. Obama and the members of his administration. M. Bachmann did well in debates.


9 posted on 01/06/2012 5:39:51 PM PST by apocalypto
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Looks like Al Jazz has hired a liberal journalism grad to explain the reasons why the GOP is sexist. Seems to me it wasn’t gender, but a spectrum of other issues...


10 posted on 01/06/2012 5:41:53 PM PST by majormaturity
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It doesn’t matter. She left with poise and respect. I think now we need to support her on the reelection to the House. One thing is for sure. We need her badly in the House. It would be a shame to lose her in the House because she wasn’t great at running for President.....she is great in the House.


11 posted on 01/06/2012 5:50:21 PM PST by napscoordinator (Go Rick! Go Rick! Go Newt! Let's get 'er done.)
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To: majormaturity

Not only that, but Islam and the Left both have such good records on sexism.


12 posted on 01/06/2012 5:52:47 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.~Admiral Yamamoto)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Show me one male politician EVER referred to as “googly-eyed”. EVER. Makes me so mad I could spit.


13 posted on 01/06/2012 5:55:06 PM PST by VA40
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To: napscoordinator
She is great in the house. Sometimes I felt like she was the only one with cajones there. During the cap and trade and obamacare fiasco, she made me want to drive to DC and shake her hand. She gave it all she had. Googly-eyes. KMA!
14 posted on 01/06/2012 5:59:39 PM PST by VA40
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This author had a website in 2008 dedicated to showing what a radical right wing extremist John McCain was. That should tell you where he’s coming from.


15 posted on 01/06/2012 6:05:45 PM PST by C. Edmund Wright
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I love Michele Bachmann. I agree with almost every position she has expressed and I sincerely hopes she has a long political career. We desperately need people with her talent, intellect, "titanium spine" and her passion. I do not believe her gaffes were what did her in.

There are two things that I believe worked to her disadvantage.

First, I think the electorate is very suspicious of people in politics who say, repeatedly, ad infinitum, over and over, and then say it again, that "I am not a politician." It sounds very disingenuous to tell people that you are not a politician when that is precisely what you seem to have been called to do. Own it. We don't dislike politicians per se. We despise those who practice on the dark side of that art.

Second, speaking of art, every politician has a stump speech. They have a message that they or their advisors have determined is what they need to get out. So, they repeat things over and over, hoping that the message will stick. The best at the political arts are able to get that message across without sounding like they have a few programmed response lines recorded in their voice box. For whatever reason, that is what she sounded like. A Chatty Cathy doll with a string you pull and pre-recorded sentences come out.

That probably sounds unfair, especially since I firmly believe that she is a person with serious depth and intellect, but, for whatever reason--fatigue, bad advice, who knows-- her language seldom rose above the level of platitude. Thus her speeches and her response to questions sounded more like robo-calls than live language.

One of the reasons I was glad Sarah Palin did not run is because she has the same platitude problem (with some syntactical disorder thrown in.) Like Michele she is very smart, very passionate and I would happily vote for her if she were the nominee. Frankly, Romney and Perry suffer from the same malady.

The only two candidates (IMHO) who don't seem to speak in perpetual platitudes are Gingrich and Santorum. They do say the same things over and over but it does not always seems so. (Happily Newt has gotten over his "Callista and I" verbal tick.)

We don't need platitudes. We need serious solutions from serious candidates with their brains fully engaged. Obama speaks in platitudes but as the last election demonstrated, he is so good at it that too many people failed to notice they were hearing empty phrases.

16 posted on 01/06/2012 6:07:35 PM PST by newheart (When does policy become treason?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Al Jazeera combating sexism has as much credibility as Planned Parenthood combating abortion.


17 posted on 01/06/2012 6:09:04 PM PST by istandwithsarah (Game on!)
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To: VA40
Show me one male politician EVER referred to as “googly-eyed”. EVER. Makes me so mad I could spit.

I couldn't believe it myself...pathetic

18 posted on 01/06/2012 6:21:26 PM PST by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

i’m depressed she didn’t work out.

She has some good ideas and i like her positions on a lot of things.


19 posted on 01/06/2012 6:33:26 PM PST by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: newheart

Also, we haven’t elected ANYONE with just “House member” on their government resume since 1860. Everyone else has been a governor, general, senator or vice president or combination of those things.


20 posted on 01/06/2012 7:56:57 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.~Admiral Yamamoto)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Her campaign was built on the false premise of a win in the Iowa straw poll. When you’re willing to pay more for people to vote for it falls flat.


21 posted on 01/06/2012 8:21:56 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: VA40

She did a great job. Plus, the more she was in the picture, the more polished she got. And she’s beautiful too. So was Palin and they had to take her down. Makes all the drabs currently serving in Washington look worse than ever, I guess.

She left the campaign with great class and dignity. Hope to vote for her someday.


22 posted on 01/06/2012 8:29:26 PM PST by miss marmelstein
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I voted in the Iowa Caucus, and there is no way I was going to vote for her. While I may agree with some of her stated opinions, it is also my opinion that she is a giant phony.

What bothers me is she came in to Iowa claiming to be an Iowan, and trying to suck up to Iowa voters. Ok she lived here until she was 13. Fine. But she always seemed to tout that. Fine.

But when she was in Waterloo, and mentioned how she was happy to be in the hometown of John Wayne. Fail. Every good Iowan knows that is Winterset. And Waterloo was the hometown of John Wayne GACY. Ok, everybody gets an oops.

But then she was in Ames, and said she was happy to be at the University of Iowa. No. It is Iowa State University. And anybody from Iowa knows that.

Candidates go from town to town, and probably forget where the heck they even are. I get that. Newt could make that mistake. Romney, Perry, Paul, whoever. But when you continuously claim to be an Iowan, and you make that mistake, you are either a moron or a phony. I don't think she is a moron, and I'm sure not gonna vote for a phony.

Seeya Michelle, thanks for playing.

23 posted on 01/06/2012 8:43:49 PM PST by Pappy Smear (Support the presidency, end the policies.)
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To: Pappy Smear

She lost me when I heard her bellow for the 5000th time “Make Obama a one term president”. If she had stopped at 4999 she would have still had me.


24 posted on 01/06/2012 8:52:28 PM PST by roostercogburn
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Once Rick Perry rode in, Bachmann was ignored. By virtue of his macho Texan maleness, he was automatically elevated, even as her debate performances remained stellar."

This is absolutely right. Perry's entrance started Bachmann's downward slide.

It's not the only reason Michelle went downhill. She was hurt by some statements she made that got wildly distorted by the MSM.

But Perry was the proximate cause.

Then he shot himself in the foot.

25 posted on 01/06/2012 9:54:52 PM PST by shhrubbery!
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Cliff Schecter: “...STRAW-MEN!! GET YER’ STRAW-MEN RIGHT HERE!!...”

That’s completely unfounded, yellow journalism. I didn’t care for Bachmann, but it was because she failed to convince me she was capable of leading; didn’t inspire, motivate or put forth a compelling argument for my vote. That pretty much goes for the rest of the GOP candidates.

Contrast her with Palin who couldn’t shake the media off her with pepper-spray and who also has a proven track record of drawing HYOOGE crowds and motivating folks to open their check-books in spite of the mountains of unfounded, undeserved mud slung at her.

Sexism he says? Sounds more like Schecter’s wishful thinking, projection, or whatever his hang-up is.


26 posted on 01/07/2012 8:27:35 AM PST by jaydee770
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Good grief.

(That’s my best Linus Van Pelt impression.)


27 posted on 01/07/2012 8:43:42 AM PST by 2111USMC (Not a hard man to track. Leaves dead men wherever he goes.)
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