The word “homophobic” used to bother me. I felt like the “phobic” part of it somehow lent a small bit of justification to queer-hating individuals, in that fear cannot be helped. Thanks to Michele Bachmann, I do not have this problem anymore.
What fascinates me about Bachmann is that she is literally afraid of gay people. Yes she’s full of distain and pity, but she’s also terrified of…I don’t know what…contamination? Many conservative populists and evangelicals claim this fear as a fear for their children, or a fear for the future of the institution of marriage. But not good ol’ Michele; her fear reaches far beyond that. When she sees/smells/hears/is-glitterbombed-by the threat, she runs for her life.
Recall the April 2005 incident. You know the one. Bachmann rushed out of a town hall meeting. Two constituents (a lesbian and a former nun, to be descriptive) followed and attempted to discuss issues with her in the bathroom. Bachmann screamed, “Help! I’m being held against my will!” and fled, later telling the police she was “absolutely terrified” and “had no idea what those two women were going to do.”
I shared this story with a family member who, in turn, accused me of being Bachmannphobic. Um, duh. She is a terrifying tornado of ambition and fundraising and I don’t need you or any sexist Newsweek cover to help me realize that.
This same family member then said, “You just don’t like women politicians. It was the same with Palin. You didn’t like her because she was pretty.”
Good looks were the last thing I ever held against Palin. The thing is, gender aside, I never took her seriously. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. She was constantly spouting pre-rehearsed statements about “the Heartland” and “shoring up” stuff. She had been (perhaps unfortunately) groomed into a parody of herself.
But Bachmann…she’s not a puppet. Sure, she sounds crazy and misinformed to us liberal folks, but to the conservative populist ear, Bachmann’s talking points are heartfelt, morally motivated, and make absolute sense. As Michelle Goldberg warns us, Bachmann’s “ideological radicalism should not be mistaken for stupidity.”
Watch what’s happening now: she’s recoaching herself—something Palin never successfully pulled off. Suddenly, when asked about gay marriage or openly gay people, “All of these kinds of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned right now.”
Pardon me, Congresswoman?
“I am running for the presidency of the United States, I’m not running to be anyone’s judge.”
Oh…but I thought in 2004 you called gay marriage “the defining political issue of our time.”
“Look, Rick Perry’s hair just moved.”
*looks* *Bachmann flees the scene*
Oh…Michele, you sly trickster you!