Bachmann gives a thumbs-down to the women’s history museum that honored her


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said of the museum would “enshrine the radical feminist movement that stands against the pro-life movement, the pro-family movement, and pro-traditional marriage movement.” (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Three years ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was happy, even “humbled,” to be included in the National Women’s History Museum’s online exhibit “Profiles in Motherhood.”

But it turns out she doesn’t support the institution that recognized her.

The House voted Wednesday to appoint a bipartisan commission to conduct a feasibility study for the nearly two-decades-in-the-making National Women’s History Museum. Thirty-three House members, and just two women, voted against the measure. It’s safe territory for Republicans because the plan is to fund the museum with private money. Right now the museum exists only as an idea, with an active Web site.

Bachmann, who ran for president but said recently that many in the country aren’t ready for a female president, bashed the idea of the museum, which she said would “enshrine the radical feminist movement that stands against the pro-life movement, the pro-family movement and pro-traditional marriage movement.”

On the House floor, Bachmann acknowledged cooperating with the museum for a feature on her role as a foster mother. Though “honored,” she said, “I’m deeply concerned that any worthy exhibits are clearly the exception and not the rule.”

Joan Wages , the museum’s president and chief executive, called Bachmann’s opposition “troubling” because it reduces women’s history “down to one issue, which is abortion or pro-life.”

“It’s like they are totally lacking an understanding of the breadth of women’s history,” Wages said.

Guess Bachmann wasn’t quite humbled enough.

The battle of the envoys is costly, too

The Pacific island nation of Palau will commemorate the 70th anniversary in September of the Battle of Peleliu, one of the bloodiest engagements of World War II. The battle ended with nearly 10,000 Marines and soldiers killed or wounded.

Island tourism promoters are touting the planned ceremony, saying it will feature the country’s president and the U.S. ambassador.

One problem: As of now, there is no U.S. ambassador.

The nominee, Amy Jane Hyatt , a 28-year career Foreign Service officer who was first nominated nearly a year ago, is still awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

Her nomination, like that of 18 other career diplomats awaiting a vote by the full Senate floor, is merely collateral damage in the partisan battle over nominations that intensified after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the “nuclear option” and limited the ability of the Republican minority to block nominees by filibuster.

The career nominees have waited for Senate action about 250 days so far on average, even though they are nonpartisan and their hostage value is thus pretty close to nil. The only things damaged by this situation are the country’s national security, its economic well-being, its ability to get solid trade, food and energy deals, and its capacity to foster U.S. human rights and other values.

Nine of those career folks stranded on the Senate floor are nominated to serve in mineral- and energy-rich Africa. It’s obviously hard to lead there (either from behind or in front) when trained diplomats aren’t in place. In contrast, does anyone think the Chinese are not fully staffed there, locking up deals for raw materials, oil, food and such? Yet one out of every five U.S. ambassadorial posts in Africa is empty.

Fighting over political appointees is one thing. But at this rate, people might start thinking this country is on a path from indispensable nation to failed state.

Perhaps it’s too late to go back to the days when most career diplomats were confirmed in groups by unanimous consent. At this point, common sense would suffice.

Another MIA nominee

Speaking of nominations, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a U.N. organization that deals with air safety and security and coordinates international aviation standards, is meeting next week in Montreal to talk about improving tracking technology — something that would help locate flights that vanish, like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

But there is no confirmed U.S. official to lead the U.S. delegation to the organization — although U.S. officials, folks from the Federal Aviation Administration and so on, will be there. The nominee to be U.S. representative is Obama mega-bundler Michael Lawson , a former head of the Los Angeles board of airports commissioners who was nominated last year.

In this case, he’s not a hostage in the partisan standoff in the Senate on nominees. He’s still awaiting a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We’re hearing that he’ll be confirmed but that there were some policy questions raised in committee that needed to be addressed.

The ICAO has also been discussing how to boost the odds of finding those black (really orange) boxes, through extending battery power and the range of the pings they emit. There is also talk of having the boxes float after a crash. (A source says Air Force One apparently has that technology. The White House did not confirm.)

Two who got through

The Senate unanimously confirmed President Obama’s grade-school friend from Hawaii, Pamela Hamamoto, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

A former investment banker, Hamamoto was a campaign bundler for Obama and introduced him at a California fundraiser ahead of the 2012 election.

“I still remember the first time I saw him on the playground when a classmate pointed at him and asked me, ‘Do you know Barry? Because he’s a new kid, too.’ And so I looked at him and I remember, I must confess, that it didn’t cross my mind at the time that this young boy with bare feet and chubby cheeks would grow up to be president of the United States,” Hamamoto said, according to an October 2012 story in Politico.

The Senate on Thursday also unanimously confirmed Ted Mitchell to be undersecretary of education. Mitchell is chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, which raises private dollars to invest in innovative public education, including charter schools.

— With Colby Itkowitz

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics