There are plenty legitimate criticisms of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), ranging from her stance on issues to her electability. But in the indiscriminate rush to pelt her with accusations, her critics and their media enablers reveal more about themselves and their biases than they do about the congresswoman and presidential candidate.
A case in point is a Wall Street Journal article that praises her retail political skills but then provides a laundry list of complaints about her. This is the most curious: “Some former aides bristled at what they called her intense focus on building her public image.” Despicable! Outrageous! A politician trying to build a public image? In a Congress with 435 House member and 100 feverishly trying to do the exact same thing the criticism is nonsensical.
The accusation of “self-promotion” (certainly one of the fundamental characteristics of all politicians) has now become a favorite dig of the left. This is never a criticism, of course, leveled at her male competitors. And one can’t help but think that this is one aspect of a double standard that has been in evidence since she was rumored to be interested in running for the presidency. Her candidacy was dismissed out of hand as a joke and a stunt, and now commonplace political qualities are transformed into flaws.
Don’t get me wrong. Her stance on issues, her position on the debt ceiling, her foreign policy credentials (far superior to then-Sen. Barack Obama, by the way) should and will be scrutinized. Her viability in Northern states is grounds for concern. But the implicit sexism (not serious! too pushy!) that is invariably heightened when a conservative woman is involved will no doubt be an ongoing feature of her coverage. Thankfully, she disdains the role of victim and has yet to complain about any aspect of coverage; still, it doesn’t make it right.