An Arab View of Bachmann

Jihad el-Khazen

Six months separate us from the first primary elections to choose the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. The contenders for the nomination are many. However, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, remains at their forefront, with 33 percent of Republican voters supporting him, trailed by Michelle Bachmann with 19 percent.

Today’s article’s focus is on Bachmann. I wrote about her in the past along with Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate. However, she was much more prominently in the limelight in the past month, coming ahead of other contenders like Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, John Huntsman, former governor of Utah and former ambassador to China, and the former Senator Rick Santorum. Then recently, there was talk about the possibility of the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, entering the race; however, he remains as of yet undecided.

Given all these names and more, Bachmann’s chances to wrest the Republican nomination must be considered seriously. My interest in her began when her star was rising within the Tea Party in the last midterm elections, and then when the focus shifted to the presidential elections next year. But I admit that everything I found about her so far is disturbing for me as an Arab political observer.

Bachmann belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, i.e. to George W. Bush’s electoral base. While the influence of Christian Zionists declined greatly in recent years, they continue to be active, and are able to mobilize their supporters to vote in great numbers.

I don’t know whether Bachmann’s religiousness is out of conviction or self-interest. However, I read that she denies the theory of evolution, and has strong positions against homosexuals, although her half-sister is lesbian. When she ran for Congress in 2006, she said during her campaign that God told her to run in the elections and focused his laser beam on her. In addition, it seems that her husband Marcus is like her, and runs a ‘clinic’ to cure homosexuals, and had even showcased people at a conference once whom he said had been ‘cured’.

Such stances may be seen by the Arab reader as odd or reprehensible, and perhaps even funny. However, they are in the United States extremely controversial, because gays and their supporters are a major force there, and we saw recently how the state of New York legalized same-sex marriages. Hence, the gay groups’ leaders will no doubt stand against Bachmann’s nomination for their own reasons, just like Arab Americans will do, also for their own reasons.

Bachmann is an ardent pro-Israeli and suffers from a lethal combination of ignorance and extremism. When she visited Iraq, all she had to say about it was that it resembled a ‘mall’ in America, with marble everywhere, and this means that she did not visit Sadr City in Baghdad.

Bachmann said she went to Israel after graduating from high school, and worked in a kibbutz near Beersheba in 1974. After she became a member of the House of Representatives, she visited Israel three times.

Her ‘famous’ sayings include: “I loved Israel, from the moment I first landed”; “I am honored to be in a position where I can help Israel. I have a tremendous love for Israel, and great admiration for the Israeli people. I am a Christian, but I consider my heritage Jewish, because it is the foundation, the roots of my faith as a Christian”.

But I am not sure whether the reason she admires Israel and the Israelis is that they stole the Palestinians’ lands, and killed them and forcibly dispossessed those they did not kill, or whether it is because her Jewish heritage is rife with genocide and biblical prostitutes.

I also read that Bachmann is a revised and improved version of Sarah Palin. She is a tax lawyer who once claimed that, in addition to being a mother of five (two boys and three girls), she adopted or fostered 23 children. However, officials in the state of Minnesota soon stated that the alleged ‘adoption’ did not involve more than sometimes looking after some children during the weekend.

While I am trying to be objective, I find that Bachmann is as ignorant as Palin when it comes to history and public affairs. She hardly opens her mouth without exposing her ignorance. She said that the American Revolution started in a town she was visiting, before she was told that it started in a neighboring town. She also claimed that the founding fathers had abolished slavery, only to be told that this happened around a hundred years after the independence. In fact, there is a website that monitors the contenders, which said that out of 23 statements by Bachmann on Obama, only one was entirely accurate, and that was not her claim that Barack Obama was not honest when he denied he is a Muslim.

I fear, given all the above, that while her gaffes affect America, her political sins shall affect our own countries.

0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    If there are people who think (not that there are here of cosure) that that article or that photo damages her chances of becoming President of the Biggest Nuclear Arsenal on Earth they’d be wrong. If banning same-sex marriages etc, didn’t have a receptive audience she wouldn’t be on the cover of Newsweek (or NewsWEAK as I’ve heard it called in the Mid-West of the US which, funny enough, is not in the middle or in the west).