Michele Bachmann: Upping the Political Motherhood Ante

If you thought Michele Bachmann was a conservative mom political superstar before the GOP debate on CNN, then you’re probably standing in line to get her autograph this week, as well as her special beauty secrets of how she still looks so young and fresh after 28 kids. I certainly don’t look that put together on most days and I only have one child!

I’m no fan of Bachmann’s political views or the fact that even though she’s a lawyer, her understanding of the Constitution leaves a little something to be desired.  But I have to hand it to her — she pretty much hit it out of the ballpark Monday night with her performance alongside all those GOP guys.  I find it interesting that most of the male pundits who weighed in after the debate thought Bachmann was just “exceeding low expectations” and that Mitt “I prefer hot wings to mild” Romney was the winner, even though he was just reciting from the same old Romney script we’ve heard for years.

For me, it sure seemed like Bachmann was the clear winner of the evening.

Bachmann was prepared, poised and made sure her answers incorporated two things that are crucial to her campaign — her Congressional experience and her motherhood.  Plus, she lucked out that she didn’t have any camera malfunctions or have to answer any questions about geography.

I have no doubt that she’s going to use the mom thing to her advantage wherever she can, because it worked pretty well for Sarah Palin when she was trying to whip GOP women into a political frenzy.  Being a mom isn’t a political qualification, but it is a lens through which more issues should be viewed on the political stage (did I mention I just wrote a book about that that’s for sale now?) And now that this high profile political mom is officially a GOP presidential candidate, she’s making sure to mention her five biological children and 23 foster children as much as she can so no one forgets her work/life balance story.  (Sarah, I’m afraid her 28 trump your five).

As Bachmann enters the 2012 presidential race, I have to wonder, though, if she’ll be able to maintain that cool, steely exterior once the sexist attacks on her resume?   They are bound to come from all sides.  Remember when former Republican Senator Arlen Specter told her she should be more ladylike as she was trying to discuss tax policy with him?  Or when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called her a “balloon head?”

While having to watch Bachmann move into the White House is unlikely, what would we get with a President Bachmann?  Taking a look back at her speech earlier this year at CPAC, she’s not just going with the usual Republican agenda — she wants to see extreme conservatism in America.   At the time that I covered the speech for Politics Daily, I wote:

In an emotional moment, Bachmann told the crowd that her mission to turn the country into a more conservative one is something she thinks about from the moment she awakes in the morning. And I believed her, as she declared that America is an “indispensable nation” fighting against socialism and “egregious moral wrongs.”

So watch out, Sarah Palin.  Michele Bachmann is horning in on your conservative mama grizzly territory, as well as your conservative themes, and it doesn’t appear that she cares if you’re the one who blazed a trail for uber-conservative women in the Republican Party.  She’s found that path and I think she’s having it paved for her own personal clear sailing.  She’s working on it 24/7.

Will Bachmann become president?  Probably not.  Will she become the GOP candidate?  I’m guessing no.  Will she shake up the GOP and show them that even for Republicans, things just aren’t the same as they used to be?  You betcha’.

Image via abcnews.com.

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2 Responses to “Michele Bachmann: Upping the Political Motherhood Ante”

  1. Lisse Says:

    Ah yes. And like a lot of what Bachmann says, the notion of her raising 28 children is a little light on the truth. Foster care kids tend to rotate in and out of their placements, few stay for very long. She could highlight that as a problem with the system, but the solutions would require (gasp) resources.

    She has one other thing in common with Palin (and others). She has touted her freakishly conservative agenda at the expense of family members. Not kids, this time, but siblings. Palin supported some other candidate over her own MIL, and Bachmann has sacrificed her half-sister at the altar of homophobia.

  2. Help4NewMoms Says:

    Great article, I agree with your analysis and felt Michele Bachmann did great against “the guys.” One question, though, why pit Bachman against Palin? Aren’t we supporting the stereotype of women NOT belonging in politics if we simply consider Palin as Bachman’s only competition? To compare their “motherhood” status, ie. Bachman is more of a Mother than Palin because she has 28 eight children versus Palin’s five, is trite in my opinion. Compare their experience, their records, where they stand on issues and then compare them to all the “father-candidates” that are on stage – both Palin and Bachman have earned the right to that comparison. Until we (women in the media) start seeing past their sex, their motherhood, their lipstick, we’ll never get a female candidate who will truly be able to compete – and that includes Hilary!


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