Until someone else wins the Republican nomination, or until Michele Bachmann drops out of the running—whichever comes first—there will be a relentless drumbeat to destroy her. This much I know.
The latest salvo is the allegation that she gets severe migraines ( a couple of which may have sent her to the hospital) and that she takes medication for them. Aha! Unfit!
Forget the fact that she seems to have a lot of energy and seems to show up for work reliably. Forget that presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant had migraines, too, and they seemed competent enough. Forget that JFK was nearly incapacitated by Addison’s disease and took far worse medications on a daily basis than Bachmann does.
One of my first thoughts on hearing about the migraine charge against Bachmann is that it’s an affliction far more likely to be suffered by women than men. Indeed, 18 to 25% of women get them. Does that disqualify all of them from office? Or just the Republican ones?
I’m not the only one who’s noticed the female angle here. I was surprised to see that NY Magazine has taken it up, with an article entitled, “Is the Daily Caller’s Bachmann migraine story sexist?” The piece notes that Bachmann has some unlikely defenders:
…[such] as Mother Jones editors Clara Jeffrey and Monica Bauerlein [who] have suggested on Twitter that, reading between the lines, the Daily Caller’s article might be a little gender-biased: ” 2 to 1 that Bachmann’s pill popping = advil and estrogen. It’s called menopause, people. Survived by powerful women all over the world,” and “I think some of it was on the order of ‘she’s a girl.'” It’s similar to the way “flake” isn’t strictly a sexist ding but was read as one when applied to Bachmann.
No doubt these editors can’t stand Bachmann. But the accusations that she’s unfit for the presidency because of her migraines isn’t sitting well with them.
I have migraines myself, although fortunately (at least so far) they are not severe. But I know quite a few women who have really bad migraines. My late mother-in-law was one of them. Somehow she managed to hold down a job and run a large household despite the occasional nasty migraine, and was more than competent at both, and extremely energetic. I have little doubt that it’s the same for Bachmann.
And I have little doubt that more hit pieces will follow if Bachmann continues to surge.