Let’s Break That Glass Ceiling!

A Glass Ceiling (from mediabistro)

I never understood the whole “glass ceiling” thing.  Perhaps this is because I am not a woman, or perhaps I just don’t understand why anyone would want a glass ceiling.  A mirrored ceiling, on the other hand, I can understand.

I also can’t understand why women like to attack each other when it comes to politics.  They seem obsessed with the glass ceiling, yet when a woman has a chance at higher office, her biggest critics are of her own gender.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on gender politics (I don’t waste my time on “gender studies” because I take real classes), but something sinister is certainly at work here.

Enter Michele Bachmann to the Presidential arena.  Growing up in a Democrat family, she was inspired to become a Republican while reading Gore Vidal’s novel Burr, which mocked the Founding Fathers.  She explained in an interview that “he was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, ‘You know what? I don’t think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.”

This happened during her senior year of college, and after watching the Christian documentary How Should We Then Live?, she became a pro-life advocate.  Despite initially supporting Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a disenchanted Bachmann, converted to conservatism, worked on Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign and never looked back.

Now the Congresswoman is running for President, and the left wing media’s fangs are dripping with Bachmann’s blood.  CNN, the most sleepy name in news, turned to an associate professor of government at American University to bash Congresswoman Bachmann, and the results are predictably unperceptive.

Ms. Jennifer L. Lawless, an actual author of a book (co-author, actually, and with a man, no less), must be an expert on women in politics, because she is a woman who is involved in politics.  This makes her an expert on how all women feel, and her opinions represent the collective thoughts of all women, past, present, and future.  Except conservative women, because they aren’t real women until they renounce their unborn children and remove the government, like a fetus, from their uteri (yes, that’s the plural of uterus. And yes, I do some pretty weird google searches when researching for my blog posts).

That’s always been the contention of pro-abortion advocates, that the government should leave a woman’s uterus alone.  Trust me, feminists, until you shave off that mustache, no one is getting anywhere near your uterus.

So, let’s take a look at Ms. Lawless’ arguments from her CNN.com opinion piece, paragraph by paragraph:

On Monday morning, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann formally announced her candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

So far, so good.  Nothing objectionable there.  Just a plain, fact-based sentence.

Although most analysts consider Bachmann’s odds long at best, a Des Moines Register poll over the weekend placed her in a dead heat with front-runner Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses. She has lined up a cadre of well-respected political operatives to run the campaign. And with enthusiastic Tea Party support, Bachmann may well devise a strategy to outperform expectations.

This paragraph too, seems fine.  But this is setting up the rest of the piece.  Whenever a left winger brings up the Tea Party, you can expect some mud slinging to soon follow.

It will only be a matter of hours until pundits, journalists and strategists begin touting the historical significance of Bachmann’s candidacy. After all, she is the first female presidential candidate on the Republican side of the aisle with a shot at winning a primary or a caucus.

I’m not so sure about the “touting historical significance” part.  Pundits, journalists, and strategists did that for President Obama, but we’re more likely to see Bachmann compared to Sarah Palin than to Susan B. Anthony.

Whether this speaks to Bachmann’s impressive credentials or just says something about the self-imploding Republican bench is a question for another day. The fact is Bachmann’s candidacy will undoubtedly fuel months of speculation as to whether she can pick up where Hillary Clinton left off and shatter the glass ceiling once and for all.

A question for another day?  I’m pretty sure that’s a rhetorical question, and Ms. Lawless is implying not only that the field is weak, but that it is so weak that a woman with Michele Bachmann’s views and lack of experience can rise to the top.  This is in contrast to President Obama, who has many far-left views and had virtually no experience in anything before running for President.

As for “pick[ing] up where Hillary Clinton left off,” Bachmann has risen to the top on her own merits, not on her husband’s last name.  There is nothing to pick up, unless Ms. Lawless is referring to Hillary’s carpetbag.

Like many Americans, I am excited by the prospect of a woman in the White House. Dozens of other nations have elected female heads of state while the United States continues to lag. But shattering the glass ceiling with a candidate like Michele Bachmann might carry too high a price for mainstream Americans.

Yes, “mainstream” Americans, like the ones who violently protested in Wisconsin, threatened Chris Christie with death, and insulted Sarah Palin by calling her “Caribou Barbie.”  Those are the “mainstream” Americans that Ms. Lawless speaks of.  And please, Ms. Lawless, stop pretending that you are “excited by the prospect of a woman in the White House.”  I pretty sure you meant to say “I am exciting with the prospect of a liberal woman in the White House.”  Because, you know, conservative women don’t count.

As further proof of Ms. Lawless’ anti-Republican bias, look no further than another CNN.com piece, in which she claims that she doesn’t want to minimize the elections of Republican women, yet devotes just one paragraph to them in an article all about women and the midterm election.

Like many politicians, Bachmann has already made a series of verbal gaffes.

Not sure who she’s talking about when she says “like many politicians.”  She must be referring to President Obama, who thinks there are 57 states, asthmatics use a breathalyzer, corpsman is pronounced “corpse man” and a dead Medal Of Honor recipient is still alive.  Or perhaps Joe Biden, who has too many gaffes to mention, despite the NY Times insisting otherwise.

If she had it to do all over again, for example, I am not sure that she or her advisers would accuse the Obama administration of “turning our country into a nation of slaves.” It seems likely that she would not refer to national community service and volunteer programs as “re-education camps for young people.”

Ever heard of hyperbole?

And I would not be surprised if Bachmann regrets — while trying to draw similarities to movie star John Wayne — comparing her spirit to that of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Okay, this one will take me a while.  Let’s let Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher explain it for us:

OMG, Michele Bachmann loves John Wayne Gacy, u guyz!!! — No, not really. It’s been a slow news day, as the Washington Times reports: “Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo’s own John Wayne. The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo’s John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: ‘Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.’” Holy crap, a candidate for president loves serial killers? Well, no. As Dave Weigel explains, John Wayne was actually born in Winterset, IA, but his parents met in Waterloo. So she mixed up the name of the town where John Wayne was born with the name of the town where his parents lived. Wow. Trying to make something out of this is a bit like saying Obama believes in zombies because he thinks a Navy medic is pronounced “corpse man.” And it might not be a gaffe on a level with Obama mortifying the survivors of a Medal of Honor recipient by saying he’s still alive. But go ahead and run with the “John Wayne Gacy” thing if you like, guys. If you’re going to cry wolf, might as well make it a really scary wolf.

Hell, if lefty blogger Dave Weigel is defending Bachmann, you know this John Wayne attack is unfounded.  Meanwhile, she’s still getting attacked by the lefty media over the Founding Fathers (since when did libs care about them?) and getting subsidies for her family dairy farm (although it appears it was her father-in-law who got the subsidies).

Meanwhile, Obama was involved in a crooked land deal, attended an anti-American church, and refuses to disclose parts of his background.  Who exactly should the media be grilling, a long-shot Presidential contender, or the guy who already is President?  Perhaps I am being unfair.  After all, you can’t expect Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos (of Good Morning America) to go after a member of his own political party.

Now more of the Lawless piece:

Far more problematic than these errors, however, is that Bachmann is out of step with core American values. Her political career is rife with examples of ideological extremism and blatant disregard for civil liberties, civil rights and science.

Her extreme positions?  Standing up for traditional values that have been around for centuries, like the sanctity of marriage, the dignity of life, and freedom of opportunity.  Somehow, standing up against big government intrusion makes you an extremist.

Consider, for instance, her views on abortion.

Like many conservative Republicans, she is ardently anti-choice. But unlike many of her conservative anti-choice colleagues, and unlike roughly 80% of Americans, Bachmann is so extreme that she does not support allowing women to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy even when that pregnancy results from rape or incest, or when carrying the pregnancy to term threatens the life of the mother.

That she neither recognizes nor respects women’s inherent right to make personal, private decisions about their physical autonomy, safety or health, by the way, is not incidental.

Bachmann contends that the “life of the unborn is not a sidebar issue … It is the issue that impacts more than any other how you view other issues.” If that is the case, then Michele Bachmann, using her own test, falls far out of the mainstream.

Shame on Ms. Bachmann for not letting a woman vacuum out her uterus!  For anti-life Democrats, liberalism is the religion, and abortion is the most sacred sacrament.

Bachmann also believes in restricting the civil rights and civil liberties of gays and lesbians. Like most conservative Republicans, Bachmann opposes same-sex marriage. But again, her views extend beyond and into the extreme. She opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for a business to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation.

And despite her ardent support for states’ rights, she would support a constitutional amendment that would void the marriage equality law that passed in New York last week. Perhaps her position stems from Bachmann’s belief that “if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.”

I’m not sure what to say about the bondage thing, but don’t you love when Democrats wrap themselves in the rainbow flag?  Kind of like when they wrap themselves in the white flag of surrender in the War on Terror.  To bad so many gays and lesbians vote Democrat, because the liberal ideology hurts them and all Americans by destroying the family and reducing individual freedom.

Bachmann also supports teaching creationism in public schools because it’s important to “put all science on the table and then let the students decide.” She opposes stem-cell research, even when the majority of Americans recognizes its potential to cure debilitating diseases.

And she is not convinced of the perils of global warming, perhaps because she does not buy the claim that humans contributed to it. Indeed, man-made global warming “doesn’t make any sense” because, she says “carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature.” Apparently Michele Bachmann knows better than does the scientific community on issues of evolution, medical research and the environment.

Creationism should be taught in schools, just not in science class.  Otherwise, the education system is waging war on religion and not giving students the full picture.  When it comes to stem cell research, embryonic stem cells have shown virtually no promise, yet adult stem cells have already been used in many applications.  In opposing public funding for embryonic research, Congresswoman Bachmann is standing up for unborn human life.

And when it comes to global warming, Ms. Bachmann is right in opposing a big government power grab that would put the federal government in change of regulating carbon dioxide emissions, as this would greatly harm the economy but do little to reduce anthropogenic climate change.

And when Ms. Lawless quips that “Michele Bachmann knows better than does the scientific community on issues of evolution, medical research and the environment,” she is revealing her disregard for the facts.  Michele Bachmann has never claimed that she knows better.  She is simply acting as an elected official and taking stands on important issues.  This is no different than Democrats taking positions against the troop surge or enhanced interrogation.  Do Democrats think they know better than the U.S. Military or the CIA?

I have long studied, published and worried about women’s numeric under-representation in the political sphere. When the 112th Congress convened in January 2011, 83% of its members were men. Men occupy governor’s mansions in 44 of the 50 states. They run City Hall in 93 of the 100 largest cities across the country.

There is no question that something seems fundamentally wrong with a political system in which women hold so few positions of political power.

But if shattering the glass ceiling means supporting Michele Bachmann’s presidential bid and the candidacy of a woman who is dramatically out of step with mainstream America, then I’d prefer to keep the ceiling intact. We can’t afford to make that kind of history.

Women haven’t made it far in American politics because it’s a blood sport, and most women don’t want to subject themselves to the sort of brutal attacks that women like Sarah Palin have endured simply because they are conservative women.

When it comes to Ms. Lawless, her bio mentions that “she ran in the 2006 Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.”

She ran, but she lost, meaning that she is most likely jealous of Ms. Bachmann’s political success.  Having failed to win elected office, Professor Lawless spends her days in academia, critiquing women who have succeeded.  Yes, I’m being harsh, but politics is a bloodsport.  I would treat a man the same way.  How progressive of me.

About Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib, a junior at American University, is President of AU College Republicans.
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