Byron York’s Insulting Bachmann Question
I usually like Byron York and his commentary, but the question he put forth to Michelle Bachmann was absolutely ridiculous. This is twice now that journalists on the Right have been just as unfair to Bachmann as we would expect from the Left.
The question put to her was,
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 husbands.”
‘As president, would you be submissive to your husband'”
To her great credit, Bachmann was dignified and respectful to such a dishonest question.
So what purpose did this question serve?
It seems to me there are 3 audiences for the debate. The first immediate and obvious audience is that which will be voting in the Ames straw poll. This marks the real beginning of the fight for the nomination. Now how many Iowans really care about Michelle Bachmann’s personal religious views on her relationship to her husband? Are any of them really worried that this would impair her decision making in the oval office?
The broader audience are those of the television and internet audience watching for the sake of deciding among the candidates in the primaries and caucuses. Again, who among the social conservatives considers this a problem? Bachmann is wildly popular with them, so they obviously don’t see this an obstacle. Have any fiscal conservatives worried that her husband would veto her strong anti-tax stance? How about the defense conservatives – has anything she said alarmed anyone about her husband keeping her from making the right defense decisions?
The larger audience is where we find the real goal of this question. This would be the moderates and the left. Most of those on the left are just as repulsed by Bachmann as they are by Sarah Palin. This just gives them another sound bite to ridicule the bible-believing Americans. Those ever precious moderates, likely not to have strong affinities for religion or against it, might be driven away by the intellectually vapid idea that her Christianity might impair her decision making. This is especially the case since it carries the air of misogyny about it.
So this in no way would help Bachmann and in every way helps the Democrats.
Now it should not be said that debate questions only be chosen on a pragmatically partisan basis. If there is a real issue to be brought up, it should be. In this case, however, it can only be characterized as “gotcha” question without any substance to it. At the risk of descending into the whiny morass that Newt Gingrich happily wallowed in, is there any intellectual validity to the question?
In implying that Bachmann would have problems making her own decisions in the oval office because of her Christian beliefs, York belies a cynical and intellectually dishonest understanding of modern Christianity. Aside from a small fringe, most Christians either don’t apply this rule, or use it in a manner perfectly respectful to the independent wisdom and decision-making ability of the wife. To imply otherwise is to lend credence to the worst caricatures of Christians by the faith-despising Left.
Finally, how is Byron York’s question any different than the ridiculous claim in the 1960 election that John F. Kennedy was going to be under the thrall of the Vatican as president? In many ways, it’s just as shameful and pointless, and Byron should have been above such childish antics.
I have not been a supporter of Michelle Bachmann, and I don’t usually give much credence to accusations of the media being anti-women. In this case, however, I have to wonder, with friends like these, who needs enemies?