This exchange between GOP debate host Byron York yesterday and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has stirred up some controversy:
YORK: In 2006, when you were running for Congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea, and then you explained: “But the Lord said, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husband.” As president, would you be submissive to your husband?
BACHMANN: What submission means to us, if that’s what your question is, it means respect. I respect my husband, he’s a wonderful, godly man and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That’s how we operate our marriage. We respect each other, we love each other.
Bachmann supporters are feigning outrage that the question should have been asked. That indignation is unwarranted. She said it and should be asked about it.
Moreover, her answer was a home run, not only in substance but in delivery. First was the dramatic pause. Then the smile — no offense taken — and then the conservative feminist grand slam. Whether her answer is scripturally accurate, I have no idea; what matters is this is how she thinks and how she expresses her religious views.
Now the question seemed more absurd than it was because, of course, Bachmann submits to no one. She spent the debate boxing Tim Pawlenty about the ears. She defied her party leadership on everything from TARP to the debt-ceiling. Who can doubt she marches to her own drummer?
If anything York asked a question that was revealing of Bachmann’s personality. That is sort of the point of these debates, right? No doubt it would be equally, if not more, interesting to ask her not whether she is too submissive but how she could work with Congress since she disagrees so fundamentally even with her own leadership. But that’s for another time.