Thoughts on Bachmann

Paul Nachman writes:

Andrew McCarthy is enthusiastic about Bachmann and her performance.

I think all our instincts—his, yours, and mine—are good. She’s the best out there. I also think she’s intrinsically good. But how does this fit with your general philosophy that political leaders shouldn’t be women?

LA replies:

First, I’m not sold on her yet. I still have questions about her intelligence and leadership abilities. Sometimes she is very impressive—during the debate last Thursday, I was cheering aloud at her comeback to Pawlenty. Other times she shows an inability to deal with issues. On Meet The Press yesterday, when David Gregory asked her why she absolutely opposed raising the debt ceiling when all the financial experts said it was the only way to avoid disaster, her only answer, which she repeated several times, was that that “the people” oppose raising the debt ceiling. She gave no substantive reason for her position. That was embarrassing.

Second, on woman leaders, it is my belief that a well ordered society would not have women in top leadership positions. But we’re living in the society we’re living in. If she is the best candidate this year, and, obviously if she is the GOP nominee against Obama, I would support her.

It’s also my view that a well ordered society would not give women the vote. But that’s not our actual society, and there’s no possibility of its becoming our actual society in the foreseeable future. So we deal with reality as it exists.

LA continues:

On McCarthy’s article, it is good, with good insights. But he’s not exactly breaking new ground when he says that Bachmann’s chances of winning should not be dismissed. Months ago, right after her winning performance in the first debate, I quoted a columnist saying that the GOP race would come down to her and Romney.

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James R. writes:

I’m curious what your arguments against women having the vote are.

In my well ordered world a lot of people wouldn’t have the vote, people obviously unqualified due to vapidity, but I have a hard time formulating a good rule on that except “limit it to owners of real property” (not all of whom would meet the criterion, it’s imperfect, but it’s reasonably serviceable). The only problem with such a rule seems to be that it’s unstable: we went rather rapidly from that to something else, and less rapidly but still coherently (again, across the whole of the West) to universal suffrage (women’s suffrage).

Anyhow I’m still and always learning, so I’d welcome seeing your arguments against women voting, even if it’s just providing a link.

LA replies:

See this collection, which is posted permanently on the main page:

On women’s equality: Several articles questioning whether women’s political equality, meaning women’s franchise and the presence of women in positions of political leadership, is good for society.

James R. continues:
Oh, a perhaps unnecessary extension: I also believe that not only should the vapid not vote, but anyone who is a net recipient of tax revenue, in whatever form, should not vote; only net tax payers should vote. Which btw means that I would be among the non-voters, since my income comes from military retirement, working as a contractor on a military base, and GI Bill for my university classes.

Anyone employed by, paid by, or otherwise receiving enough money from government should not be eligible to vote because it creates perverse incentives.

LA replies:

Your idea is contained in one of the articles in that collection.

An e-mail exchange yesterday about Bachmann

Jim C. wrote:

Bachmann just got creamed on Meet the Press re her opinions of gays. Pathetic response to questions.

LA replies:

Can you tell me more?

Jim C. replied:

It will definitely be up on YouTube, and since you have a different POV than mine on the gay issue I’d suggest viewing the exchange yourself. I came away from the interview thinking that her personal, religious views on gays would definitely cloud her judgment as chief executive.

I can no longer take her seriously as a candidate. Frankly, her responses were so lame that I was embarrassed for her. But do judge for yourself.

LA replied:

I wouldn’t say she embarrassed herself. Like all politicians she avoids questions that she doesn’t want to deal with. He asked her about a statement she made in 2004 about homosexuality, in which she said it was a form of slavery. In her answer to Gregory, she didn’t address that, she just said that “I am running for president,” meaning, as I take it, that she is running to be president of all the people and this puts her in a different situation than she was in 2004. She said, “I don’t judge anyone.” What else would you expect her to say?

I’m most concerned that she does not seem to have the smarts to handle questions well. On the debt ceiling, her whole position was that the people didn’t want the debt ceiling to be increased. She didn’t substantively defend her position. That was very poor.

LA continued:

You wrote:

“I came away from the interview thinking that her personal, religious views on gays would definitely cloud her judgment as chief executive.”

I don’t understand why, from your pro-homosexual point of view, you would say this. She completely got away from her views on homosexuality and all she said was that (a) she doesn’t judge anyone, (b) she would appoint officials on the basis of competence and agreement with her policies, and (c) she opposes homosexual marriage. She moved so far away from a condemnatory stance toward homosexuality that she wouldn’t even say that she wouldn’t appoint an openly gay person to her administration.

So I don’t see how, from your point of view, this shows that her views on homosexuality would cloud her judgment as president. She greatly downplayed her views on homosexuality. You should be pleased with that.

Here is the interview on Meet the Press. Unfortunately, it is stopped for commercials about once every few minutes.

Irv P. writes:

Michelle has to be very careful in what she says now. To explain in detail why she was against raising the debt ceiling could be very damaging to her campaign. How do you win an election calling for a freeze in spending with the federal workforce rising to unprecedented numbers, with “entitlements” an ever growing industry, and Democrats demagoguing the issue to seniors? It would be the crack in her armor that those she rankles have been looking for. By phrasing her answer the way she did, she shows a great deal of savvy without changing her views on our economic problems.

I was happy to see that Andrew McCarthy wrote the article he did.

As for your reluctance to endorse a female, I “get it.” I felt the same way. However, with this field, she is the best man for the job! If someone better comes along, great. That’s highly unlikely. I just sent my first campaign contribution.

LA replies:

I did not say I was reluctant to endorse a woman. I said that on general principles, I believe that women should not be political leaders, but that that was not a factor in our actual situation.

Sophia A. writes:

I am just dying to say this about Michele Bachmann. I think she is hauntingly beautiful. Much more so than Palin, who is very pretty, but not beautiful. She will drive the libs even crazier than Palin did. Let’s face it, there was (as you have pointed out) some substance to their ridicule of Palin, although most of it was reflexive and mean-spirited. What will this brainy stunning tax attorney to do them? Drive them batty.

LA replies:

I said something about Bachmann’s good looks, comparing their effect to that of Palin’s, a couple of months ago.

August 16

JC writes:

In response to your assertion that “it is my belief that a well ordered society would not have women in top leadership positions” I would offer to you the following:

Queen Elizabeth I

Catherine II (“the Great”) of Russia

Margaret Thatcher

Of perhaps lesser renown are:

Queen Anne (Stuart) of Great Britain

Catherine I of Russia

Elizabeth of Russia

All three, though not necessarily outstanding, were effective and conscientious rulers of their nations, and each did acquit herself well when their respective nations required strong leadership.

In contemporary times I believe Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, for all their obvious flaws, were certainly as competent as any other Pakistani or Indian Prime Ministers had been.

Golda Meir really must be mentioned as an outstanding leader of modern Israel.

I think Corazon Aquino deserves at least an honorable mention.

None are perfect, by any means, but would certainly qualifiy as leaders who sought and to a great extent achieved the goal of a well-ordered society.

Oh, and let us not forget Ste. Jeanne D’Arc!

LA replies:

You know what my answer is going to be. These are exceptions. We recognize and honor the exceptions, but we don’t treat them as representative of a rule.

JC replies:

Simply pointing out that Divine Providence sometimes favors a woman of strength, especially when there is no man available to lead. And sometimes she can be a truly exceptional person. As you said, exceptions.

This describes, frankly, the balance of the women I mentioned previously. They were thrust, if you will, into positions of leadership which were vacant due to the absence of male leadership.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 15, 2011 12:56 PM | Send

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