July 28th, 2011
"I'm running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business."
So says Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Which is simply amazing on two levels. The first and the most obvious is that she has led nothing less than a campaign of character assassination directed at the current First Lady.
When Michelle Obama voiced her support for an initiative aimed at improving public health, Bachmann did more than screech in contempt. She curried favor with the rabid Tea Party base by conflating the First Lady's position with some secret, extreme conspiracy:
"This is very consistent with where the hard left is coming from. For them, government is the answer to every problem..." "You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition."
When Michelle Obama issued a public call for Americans pitch in and help the families of our men and women in the service on the 4th of July, Rep. Bachmann dismissed the utterly non-partisan act as "calculated" and "political." If anything needs to be said at that time every year it is the reminder that Independence Day means more than fireworks and cookouts. It was a message that every American should support outright.
Instead, Bachmann saw yet another opportunity to attack the administration by proxy. She once again used the First Lady as a substitute for the President. She attacked her.
Which brings us to today. As scrutiny continues to intensify over her Presidential bid, she now is offended and has declared that spouses and families and businesses are off limits.
The personal family argument will, of course, get a lot of play. However, I believe it's the second part of her message that should raise more eyebrows. Her stipulation that her family's "business" dealings are above examination is worse than dubious. The "business" Rep. Bachmann referred to this afternoon is her husband's "clinic" and it's program of prayer-based "reparative" therapy for homosexuals. This is a "business" which receives a staggering amount of tax payer money while dealing in junk-psychology.
Where a candidate makes money in the private sector is arguably one of the most germane electoral subjects about which the media has a duty to report. It provides a window into personal philosophy and ethics that no other activity can equally reveal.
Sorry Michele, the "business" is decidedly not off limits. And neither is your husband, Marcus. If, for no other reason than the fact that you lowered the bar.