Of Bachmann and Obama

From Best of the Web:

Both are “diversity” pioneers. Obama was the first serious black candidate for president. Bachmann, assuming she does not fade before the nominating contests begin, will be the first serious female candidate (putting aside the nepotist Hillary Clinton). That brings both of them a certain amount of deference from guilty white males. Yesterday Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” opened an interview with Bachmann by offering a groveling apology for having asked her an unchivalrous question weeks ago.

Where the parallels get interesting, though, is in considering why her detractors regard Bachmann as “crazy.” Much of it comes down to religion. “Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians,” writes Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker. Lizza attributes to Bachmann “a set of beliefs more extreme than those of any American politician of her stature.”

He does not mention that the man she seeks to challenge had a “spiritual mentor” who described AIDS as a racist U.S. government plot, said of 9/11 that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” published Hamas propaganda in the church newsletter, and thundered from the pulpit: “God damn America!” Obama’s mentor’s beliefs might have seemed normal in the faculty lounge or the offices of The New Yorker, but they were not commonly known to Christians, or even most secular Americans.

Comparisons between Bachmann and Obama while there are several, e.g., both were inexperienced on seeking office and both opposed raising the debt limit, are an odd comparison. This comparison is one that will likely be made primarily by Bachmann oponents, especially in the light of the poor showing by Mr Obama. It is however, a criticism limited to being made on the right as Obama supporters will be less likely to be enthusiastic in drawing parallels between Obama and Bachmann.

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36 comments

  1. Jewishatheist says:

    I think the comparison to Wright is a fair one and in fact I would call him “crazy” too. The difference is that Obama never seemed to be a True Believer in the way that Bachmann does. That makes him perhaps dishonest and opportunistic but not crazy.

  2. Jewishatheist says:

    (Notification)

  3. Mark says:

    JA,
    You categorize an awful lot of people as crazy. Mr Wright, as Mr Schraub will instruct you, is preaching mainline Black Liberation theology.

    “Perhaps dishonest”?!!! LOL.

  4. Jewishatheist says:

    Yeah, I do consider a lot of people crazy. Just because a theology is mainline doesn’t mean it ain’t nuts. How do you feel about mainline Scientology or Mormonism?

  5. Boonton says:

    There is a difference between having a preacher with crazy beliefs and believing crazy beliefs…Bachmann, I suspect, is more of the latter while Obama is more of the former.

    As for “groveling apology for having asked her an unchivalrous question “, are they talking about her assertion that wives should be ‘submissive’? Why was that an unchivalrous question? She has asserted it on multiple occassions and has even gone on to point out that she has ‘submitted’ to her husband even when he asked her to make career decisions that she did not want at the time (i.e. becoming a tax lawyer). I think its more than fair to ask such a candidate how such an ideology would play out if you elected her to high office? What would be line be between her ‘submission’ and her husband having direct influence on Presidential policy? I find it rather irksome that when you’re talking about the highest elected position in the world’s most powerful country the press seems less concerned about asking serious questions of those who would take it and more concerned about offending potential candidates.

  6. Mark says:

    JA,
    It seems to me “having crazy beliefs” means that those ideas are out of the mainstream. This is why when you note those particular ideas as crazy my counter response has been to indicate that idea is widely held as an indication that “craziness” is not warranted.

    Believing something which I personally believe is wrong or unwarranted doesn’t make you crazy, at least in my view, especially if that viewpoint is held by many many others. After all that’s essentially the reason you believe in AGW, just because thousands of others do as well. You haven’t dealt with the data yourself. You haven’t come to an understanding through the data of how/why AGW is correct and any climate change we see is not instead primarily from other sources.

    My brother had a schizophrenic/nervous breakdown 25 years ago. That’s what “crazy” looks like. None of these people are remotely like that.

    BTW, I’d have to add that your “crazy eyes” = “she is crazy” and therefore is unsuited as a candidate is the just about the nuttiest thing I’ve heard in a quite a long time. As a political response, I’d put that alongside Mr Wright’s BLT preaching.

    Boonton,
    Mr Wright’s ideas were in my view wrong and theologically misguided but they are mainstream in the Black urban church community. Ms Bachmann’s religious views likewise are mainstream evangelical protestant as far as I’ve seen. JA had cited a YouTube public corporate prayer as evidence of her craziness … and I viewed much of it and it seemed, as I had noted, vanilla and ordinary fare. This is not “craziness”. It is far more crazy to assert on multiple locations and times that you believe things when you in fact don’t.

    There are numerous blogs and sites (and books) devoted to the evangelical protestants disagreements about how marriage should be structured and what the church/Bible teaches in that regard. The question for a candidate (or a person) might be more usefully directed to how she makes decisions and so on … not how she/he feels about that in the abstract.

    How is that an “ideology”?

    Seems to me this is just about equivalent to asking a Catholic candidate if he’s going to be under direction of the Pope if elected. It’s a leading question and meant to push unwarranted and irrelevant fears into the public eye. Why don’t you see that for what it is?

  7. Boonton says:

    Well let’s keep in mind the numerous questions asked in 1992 whether or not Hillary was going to be a ‘co-President’. It’s IMO perfectly legitimate to ask just what exactly does Bachman mean by ‘submission’ and how would it come into play if her husband happened to assert that she should adopt a particular policy as President or even if he should happen to assert that she should make another sudden career change such as resigning mid-term as Palin did as governor.

    In terms of a Catholic candidate it was fair for JFK to be expected to lay out where the line between his faith and his duty as President would fall esp. since the Vatican is not merely a theological authority but a foreign entity in its own right with its own foreign policy and its own assertions in foreign policy.

  8. Jewishatheist says:

    I made it explicit in our last conversation that I am using the informal usage of crazy. Obviously legitimate mental illness is different.

    I don’t believe in AGE because a number of “people” do but because the overwhelming majority of experts do.

  9. Jewishatheist says:

    AGW

  10. Mark says:

    JA,
    How are “crazy eyes” a hint not to “informal crazy” but real mental illness?

    You’re dodging the point that if an idea is mainstream it does not fit the informal (or formal) definitions of crazy.

    Right. “Experts”

    You don’t believe in God, even though the overwhelming majority of experts (take for example Christian monastics) do, but have personally decided it doesn’t make sense because you have not had a personal contact or knowledge of God. You don’t have personal contact or knowledge of AGW but trust in experts, even if your personal intuition tells you that a firm claim in that direction is circumstantial at best.

    Let’s put it bluntly. You believe that the experts are right predicting and assuring that you a .5 to 1 degree rise in average global measurements of a variable which shows daily variations of up to 70 degrees and large global fluctuations of 10s or 20s of degrees over short, medium, and middle term timescales. But this particular long term fluctuation has human origins, even in the presence of similarly scaled (or larger) historical fluctuations which were not human caused. This temperature rise is, you believe, very dangerous and threatens human existence … even though as noted similar fluctuations have occurred in the past. Furthermore all of this data depends on any number of somewhat theoretical proxy data which are used because taking a real global measurement is not feasible. For the last decade and a half, oddly enough the rise in temperatures has stopped, but only in the last months has any report of this been acknowledged by those same experts.

    These are pretty much the same set of “green” experts that in the 70s predicted global cooling, every year for the past 30 years have predicted “peak oil”, and are against burning any petroleum products while at the same time are rabidly anti-nuclear. You wouldn’t give credence to the claims of the overwhelming majority of experts in astrology or palm reading or their claims, but you scoff at my personal estimation that climate science has a lot of second raters filling its ranks.

    You argue that these experts are different than religious experts, .e.g., monastics, because of the results of technology which surround us. So I riddle me this, what surprising results has climate science in its belt? What predictions has it made in the past, what developments has it to show, from which you derive your trust in them?

    How is this not just the same as that which you scorn in religious belief?

  11. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Hilary was asked the “co-president” questions because she and her husband indicated she would have an active role in the White House. Ms Bachmann has indicated no such thing regarding her husband.

    The questions asked of JFK I submit were indeed not fair. They were leading questions of a partisan nature. Just as these are now of Ms Bachmann. There is no indication that either the questioner (or for that matter Ms Bachmann) are really versed in the egalitarian/complementarian evangelical marriage role discussion. And for that matter I wouldn’t really expect it. But then again, I don’t think it’s a valid non-partisan question.

    (addendum: I should add, I have no knowledge that Ms Bachmann indicated her husband will take an active role in the White House affairs or that he’s actively stumping for her. Until the former, the question is partisan. Until the later, particulars of his personal life should be off the table. Right?)

  12. What a collection of bullshit.

    “This temperature rise is, you believe, very dangerous and threatens human existence”

    REALLY??

    “These are pretty much the same set of “green” experts that in the 70s predicted global cooling,”

    SERIOUSLY???

    “are against burning any petroleum products while at the same time are rabidly anti-nuclear.”

    STRAW MAN MUCH???

    Forget this. Learn to be honest and we can talk.

  13. Mark says:

    JA,
    Which of those statements do you think is not true?

    If AGW is not threatening, why spend 10-100 trillion on combating it? If there is no threat then why do anything at all? More warmth and more CO2 would leave to more viable land and faster gowth of plants … right? How is that not a good thing?

    And yes, I grew up in the effing 70s. The prediction was that if we didn’t get emissions and pollution under control an ice age would be the result. This is true. I was there and remember it.

    The green party is not anti-petroleum burning and not anti-nuclear? News to me. And do they not comprise a majority of AGW activists?

  14. Which of those statements do you think is not true?

    All three, and those are just the ones that jumped out at me.

    If AGW is not threatening

    You said that I believe it threatens HUMAN EXISTENCE, not that I believe it threatens ANYTHING. Obviously there is an enormous scope of things that it does threaten that fall preposterously short of your ludicrous straw man.

    And yes, I grew up in the effing 70s. The prediction was

    Nice passive voice there, buddy. Before you said it was “the same set of green experts.” In reality, it was the media and maybe a couple of scientists speculating, nothing remotely like the consensus there is today. But you know that because it’s come up half a dozen times in our conversations. Is your memory that bad?

    The green party is not anti-petroleum burning and not anti-nuclear?

    Now we’re talking about the green party! WTF. You move the goalposts more than an assembly line of goalposts.

    And do they not comprise a majority of AGW activists?

    And how did we get to “activists?” Were we not talking about “experts?”

    You’re really infuriating sometimes.

  15. Boonton says:

    Hilary was asked the “co-president” questions because she and her husband indicated she would have an active role in the White House. Ms Bachmann has indicated no such thing regarding her husband.

    On the contrary, she asserts that her philosophy is that wives should submit to their husbands choices even in career decisions. It seems perfectly fair to ask then how this would work should her husband want her to do something when she is President such as resign or implement a particular policy. Does she reserve the right to make these decisions herself or not? If not then we indeed again have a ‘co-president’ situation and that’s fair game to question in a Presidential candidate.

    The questions asked of JFK I submit were indeed not fair. They were leading questions of a partisan nature.

    You seem to think people are entitled to the job of President rather than the people of the US being entitled to choose the best President possible. I would advise you to consider that unlike most other jobs, the President is an exceptional job which therefore merits exceptional qualifications. Questions that might be unfair to ask a person interviewing for, say, receptionist or even Senator are a different matter when the person is seeking the office of President.

  16. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    “In career decisions” does not equal “decisions made in your career”. A career decision means a decision over which career not micro-management of day-to-day decisions made within that decision. Lots of male politicians consult their wives and families prior to running for office and in fact we don’t blink if a pol defers to her objection. Yet you pretend this is a game changer.

    I’m not offering that the question is unfair in that sense. It is a leading question which is intended for partisan effect (added: this is in reference to the JFK remarks). Go ahead and ask it. But don’t pretend you’re not stumping for the other guy when you do. To restate, by asking that question in that way you are dropping all pretenses of neutrality or objectivity. That isn’t illegal or morally wrong … unless you think journalistic ethics imply one should not be partisan.

  17. Mark says:

    JA,

    . But you know that because it’s come up half a dozen times in our conversations. Is your memory that bad?

    Yes, I realize it is your contention that it was “the media and a few scientists”. That however is not what I recall. The climate threat was that we might prematurely trigger an ice age. It’s was the only climate threat that was discussed.

    Now we’re talking about the green party!

    Sorry the ecological concerns of the green party and the majority of your climate scientists in my view have enough overlap for equivalence.

    You’re really infuriating sometimes.

    You mean like when you say I’m dishonest when I’m writing what I believe? I don’t think you understand what the term honest means.

    You said that I believe it threatens HUMAN EXISTENCE

    Yes that was a bit of an exaggeration. So, then, what does it threaten?

    Oddly enough the real concerns that this is an uncertain statistical measurement of a difficult data set is ignored by you. Basically what you object to is the politics in/of my statement not the science.

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Let me put it this way, if a male pol was to note that he was consulting his wife over whether to run for office (a career decision) you would not then assume or ask him on that basis what decisions within the office he would consult her in making.

    She’s been a House member for a number of years, do you have any indication that she’s been consulting her husband on a daily basis to help her decide how to vote? If not … why can’t you admit the question is really just a partisan tactic?

  19. Boonton says:

    “In career decisions” does not equal “decisions made in your career”. A career decision means a decision over which career not micro-management of day-to-day decisions made within that decision.

    Then that’s how she should answer the question. There is nothing wrong with asking the question though.

    And that’s not how she answered the question. She answered the question with dishonesty, saying ‘submission’ was just another word for ‘respect’. It isn’t. Given what she has said before and by not really answering the question she has not addressed whether or not she brings a ‘co-presidency’ issue to the table.

    Even with your attempt to speak for Mrs. Bachman rather than letter her own words on the matter hold sway, it’s still a legitimate question. What happens halfway through a Presidency when her husband decides that she should make a ‘career decision’ to get out of politics and resign?

    Re JFK:

    It is a leading question which is intended for partisan effect (added: this is in reference to the JFK remarks). Go ahead and ask it. But don’t pretend you’re not stumping for the other guy when you do. To restate, by asking that question in that way you are dropping all pretenses of neutrality or objectivity. That isn’t illegal or morally wrong … unless you think journalistic ethics imply one should not be partisan.

    First, I wasn’t aware that Fox News commentators were known for stumping against conservative candidates.

    Second, the question is not partisan even when it was asked of JFK (and I’m not sure JFK was ever actually directly asked about it or did he just address the issue?). The question may be posed in a partisan manner (“Hey aren’t you just going to be the Pope’s puppet if you win?”) but it may also be posed in a respectful manner (“How would you reconcile a conflict between your faith and your oath of office?” or more directly “How would you handle, say, the Vaitcan supporting a Palestinian state when you’ve come out against it?”). Your claim here seems to be that objective journalism means not asking relevant questions.

    Let me put it this way, if a male pol was to note that he was consulting his wife over whether to run for office (a career decision) you would not then assume or ask him on that basis what decisions within the office he would consult her in making.

    Actually male and female politicians all the time say they consult their family on the question of whether or not to run. Bachmann, though, has more than once asserted a Christian idea (granted a minority of Christians) that wives should submit to their husbands decisions and even cited an example where she opted to study for a career that had no interest for her not based on her evaluation of the situation but on her husband’s orders. In fact, subscribers to this religious idea have had extensive debates and discussions over what exactly submission means and whether it means a woman can take a job of authority without ‘sharing’ it with her husband. Some have said yes, other have said no. Some go as far as to say a woman cannot even vote for a candidate her husband disapproves of let alone run for office herself. Why do you pretend that these people do not believe what they say they believe? Why do you pretend that these people who take their religious beliefs in this matter very seriously are no different from a secular family debating whether or not a move to DC would be a good thing? In your quest to excuse Bachmann no matter what, you actually end up degrading her religion more than any secualar Christopher Hitchens type would.

  20. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    First, I wasn’t aware that Fox News commentators were known for stumping against conservative candidates.

    I’m not aware that Fox news commentators were asking questions of JFK.

    First of all, I’m not defending or excusing Bachmann in this instance and I don’t give a rats ass whether the question came from a centrist (Fox) or liberal (CNN/MSNBC) source. The point is the question to JFK whether asked respectfully or not is not the issue. Look, asking Mr Obama whether he’s going to “defer to African national interests because of his Kenyan father” is a leading question. There is no indication from his history (Senate/State or prior career) that this is the case. The only reason to ask the question is partisan, it’s to plant suspicions in the mind of the listeners and not to inform or inquire as to the state of mind of the interviewee.

    Now this puts a little burden on the interviewer. Prior to asking such a question it behooves the questioner to find out if, say, when Ms Bachmann chose her tax law career did her husband influence how she dealt with her job, i.e., did he impact day to day decisions or not. If there is indication that is the case, then the question of how his views might impact her Presidency are relevant. But that is different than just poking out leading questions to raise fears of evangelical marital theology and praxis in the minds of voters.

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Actually “wives should submit” is not a minority Christian view. Eastern Orthodoxy comprises worldwide about half of Christian populations and that is doctrine. However, as is pointed out in most marriage ceremonies, “wives should submit” is immediately juxtaposed with “husbands should be head of the family as Christ is head of the church” (and pointed examples of his service (foot washing) and laying down of his life for the church). He who is first should be last and so on. Granted the practice and theological arguments in the East differ from the West, but egalitarianism (as the primary Protestant alternative marital model) is not held.

  22. Boonton says:

    Look, asking Mr Obama whether he’s going to “defer to African national interests because of his Kenyan father” is a leading question.

    I’m not clear how this would even be a sensible question. Bachman’s beliefs are her own so why not ask her about them. If Obama expressed a belief that paternal bloodlines should determine all policies, it would be perfectly within bounds to ask him the above question. Your analogy here breaks down at that critical point. If someone asked Bachmann a question about something she has never expressed any belief about, not even in a roundabout manner, say burning heretics at the stake, I suppose your criticism would be valid.

    There is no indication from his history (Senate/State or prior career) that this is the case.

    Doesn’t matter. Maybe her husband would only opt to be a co-president rather than a co-representative. The fact is if she feels that she should yield decision making authority to her husband then its just to ask how this would apply to her holding office. If Obama says he should submit to the interest of blood or tribal links then I would say he should be asked how that would impact his actions as President.

    Actually “wives should submit” is not a minority Christian view.

    The idea that this means that wives should obey in the sense that the husband is a type of commander is a minority view these days, but one that has been forcefully articulated by the crowd that Bachmann is known to hang with. I suggest reviewing http://www.slate.com/id/2297931/. While the Orthodox Church has no real issue here with women running for high office that I’m aware of, you are certainly aware that a minority of Americans even know there is such a thing as the Orthodox Church.

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Let me back up a bit. Do you admit or not that there is such a thing as a leading question? That is, one that is partisan and akin to adverts that suggest (our product is 100% free of petroleum products … to hint that perhaps your competitor’s isn’t.). It seems to me you’re in denial that any such line of questioning even exists.

  24. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    The SLATE author quotes Mr Mohler a Southern Baptist. Ms Bachmann is/was a Lutheran (she recently changed church … but I’m not remembering to which church she moved), but the SLATE doesn’t note that connections between the two as authority are weak. Sounds like grist for the “GetReligion” website.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I should clarify, I’m not saying that leading questions should be “illegal” or out of bounds. Just that they are partisan and should be recognized for what they are.

  26. Boonton says:

    Do you admit or not that there is such a thing as a leading question?

    By which you define as one whose intended purpose is not to solicit an actual response as opposed to communicate some type of negative accusation? Examples might be “when did you stop beating your wife?” or “if the Mormon Church, which you’re a member of, decided to mandate polygamy again would you force that into the law of hte land?” Sure.

    But you seem to be aiming at not objecting to a ‘leading question’ but instead defining an entire topic as ‘leading’. Here’s where we depart. JFK’s relationship to his faith and his policies is not a ‘leading topic’ IMO. It’s perfectly possible to have asked him a question about that topic and that question may or may not be leading depending on how it is phrased, the purpose of the questioner and the way the audience takes the question. I would say its almost impossible to define an entire topic as leading. For example, even Hillary Clinton was asked about her husband’s infidelities in the debates when she ran for Senate.

    The SLATE author quotes Mr Mohler a Southern Baptist. Ms Bachmann is/was a Lutheran (she recently changed church … but I’m not remembering to which church she moved), but the SLATE doesn’t note that connections between….

    So which is it? Is Ms. Bachmann more of the Southern Baptist via Mr. Mohler view here or Lutheran? As you note you don’t even know if she walked away from the Lutheran Church or not? How to answer the question? Why its easy, someone should just ask! Problem. Solution.

  27. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Let’s look first at the JFK example. You likely know some American catholics. Do you know any who would likely be directly influenced by the Pope on government policy positions? Do you know any time in which the Pope has put in a direct personal appeal to individual catholics in the American (or for that matter any) government for individual policy reasons? American Catholic Bishops get in controversial grounds when hint at denying the sacraments to, say, American catholic Congress or Senatorial members. Have you ever hear the Pope make such appeals or threats? If that isn’t the case, why is not the question of whether the Pope would influence policy making not be a leading question.

    The topic is not a priori leading if there is secondary evidence indicating the question is valid. There is not. So the questions are leading.

    For example, even Hillary Clinton was asked about her husband’s infidelities in the debates when she ran for Senate.

    And that might have in turn been a partisan/leading question. What were the specifics of the question? Of what relevance to her office might that be?

  28. Boonton says:

    Your entire first paragraph is irrelevant. Do you not think that perhaps the reason for this was influenced by the precedent that JFK set? The precedent set out a grand bargain of sorts. American Catholics were able to enter the political culture of a largely non-Catholic nation on the premise that there was a wall of separation between their faith (over which the Pope is very influential) and their political policies (over which the Pope has next to no influence). This works for both since any alternative would likely have made it impossible for many Catholics to have ever won office thereby making the Pope’s influence moot.

    The topic is not a priori leading if there is secondary evidence indicating the question is valid

    Your definition of leading depends on the motive of the questioner as well as the understanding(s) of the audience. Therefore there is no such thing as an ‘a priori’ leading question let alone topic. As for secondary evidence, Bachmann’s use of the word ‘submission’ carries with it the everyday meaning not of ‘mutual respect’ but of command or authority*. Her example of becoming a tax lawyer at her husband’s command reiforces the issue. Its perfectly fair to ask her then how the dynamics of this submission would work in an administration where she was a President.

    * Imagine this hypothetical, on a diplomatic trip to China, Obama says “The US has great respect for China”. No one would bat an eyebrow. Now imagine he says “The US shows submission to China’s will”. ….the blogsphere would ignite. Now if Bachmann’s response is that the world ‘submission’ has a meaning in her theology that is different from its everyday meaning, then that’s fine. But the general public is not expected to know the nuances of how various Christian denominations utilize specialized definitions for ‘submission’ . (And even if they are, the fact is there are denominations for whom ‘submission’ means exactly what it sounds like it means!) She should explain its meaning to us and if she should do that then its fair for us to ask her about it!

  29. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    JFK did not set a precedent. He was not the first Catholic politician, just the first Presidential candidate. This is an important point for the validity of the question as the questioner has not just Mr Kennedy’s history as background but hundreds of other Catholic office holders across the country and in Washington.

    Her example of becoming a tax lawyer at her husband’s command reiforces the issue. Its perfectly fair to ask her then how the dynamics of this submission would work in an administration where she was a President.

    No it doesn’t. Only if her practice in the tax law profession was influenced by her husband’s “commands.”

    Is your footnote a reference to the kerfuffle over Mr Obama’s submissive bows to Saudi and Chinese officials?

  30. Boonton says:

    No it doesn’t. Only if her practice in the tax law profession was influenced by her husband’s “commands.”

    What if her husband ‘commands’ her to give up politics and become a writer? Will she suddenly resign halfway through her office? Has she said that as a tax lawyer, she did not consider ‘submission’ to include allowing her husband to supercede her opinions on her practice (for example, what cases to take, what theories to argue for?)?

    Is your footnote a reference to the kerfuffle over Mr Obama’s submissive bows to Saudi and Chinese officials?

    Submissive? Bows are customary in Asian culture and are somewhat protocol when meeting royalty.

    BTW, Al Smith I believe was the first Catholic Presidential candidate.

  31. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    If you recall, the Obama/Bow kerfuffle was not that he bowed, but that he bowed “lower”or in a more submissive fashion to the foreign potentate. The suggestion was that his bow should have been to similar or the same (or even less) than the other. Bowing lower was seen as being submissive.

    Will she suddenly resign halfway through her office? Has she said that as a tax lawyer, she did not consider ‘submission’ to include allowing her husband to supercede her opinions on her practice (for example, what cases to take, what theories to argue for?)?

    OK. So if you’re going to ask this question honestly, wouldn’t for some little indication from past performance be mandatory prior to thinking it is a non-leading question.

  32. Boonton says:

    If you recall, the Obama/Bow kerfuffle was not that he bowed, but that he bowed “lower”or in a more submissive fashion to the foreign potentate.

    This is the kerfuffle of the anti-Obamaites who will scrutinize anything and everything to provide reasons not to support Obama to people who would never support Obama and be of no relevance to anyone else.

    OK. So if you’re going to ask this question honestly, wouldn’t for some little indication from past performance be mandatory prior to thinking it is a non-leading question.

    Why do we have to guess whether any legal theories she argued for were of her own opinion or her husbands? Even if we could undertake such a study (which we probably couldn’t since very little of a lawyer’s work consists of public legal argument, probably even less of a tax lawyer’s work), that doesn’t really address the question of what does ‘submission’ mean when Bachmann herself feels policy A is best but Mr. Bachmann feels policy B is best? It very well maybe that such a case never came up in her brief career as a tax lawyer so studying her performance will yield few insights. Why not just ask her point blank rather than trying to read tea leaves? Again we are entitled to elect the best President possible more than Ms. Bachmman is entitled to the office.

  33. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So … bringing up the “depth of Mr Obama’s” bow would be a leading/partisan sort of question … (especially without research into Presidential/foreign customs and practices in the past).

    Why do we have to guess whether any legal theories she argued for were of her own opinion or her husbands?

    Gosh. Seems to me the question is getting irrelevant. Just find out if she was a good tax attorney. Who cares if her husband offered input or not? Why should you care?

  34. Boonton says:

    Let us now turn to another question, why is Mark producing so much sophistry to justify Bachmann dodging such a simple and relatively innocent question? No doube he knows a Bachmann candidacy would require him to produce quite a bit, so why waste precious production capacity with this?

    Here is what is happening. There are two camps on this. The minority camp takes ‘submission’ to mean what it sounds like. The majority camp takes it to be much more fuzzy a concept. Mark is almost certainly in that majority camp, which is why he pushes an interpretation of Bachmann’s fuzzy response that fits the majority camp.

    To win, however, Bachmann would likely need the support of the ardent minority camp. Hence her answer is crafted to leave open the possibility that she is in their camp without really saying it (which would, of course, offend the majority camp). She is doing what all politicians have to do, play two both sides of an issue….

    But for the interested Republican and general citizen, this raises two other legitimate reasons to ask this question:

    1. While there may be little harm in Bachmann belonging to the majority view while playing to the minority view, there would be a lot of harm in her being in the minority but playing to the majority. The GOP would be in a very bad position if a month after the nomination it learns that no ‘submission’ for Bachmann means exactly what it sounds like and her husband is the ‘co-candidate’ vetting or even changing her policy positions. The country will be in even worse shape. Hence its in the public’s interest to iron this thing out now and determine which camp Bachmann really belongs too. Hence her evasive ‘respect’ answer is an attempt to preserve her interests while thrwarting the publics’.

    2. While its natural for politicians to try to aim to be all things to all people, its in the public’s interest to nail them down as much as possible. An interested Republican in the majority camp will want to know if Bachmann can manage as a candidate without her fringe support. If she can’t then she isn’t a good candidate for the GOP. Ditto in the national election.

  35. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Uhm, no. I was abstracting the current issue to a more general one. To the question of leading/partisan questions being posed, like “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The Catholic question posted to Kennedy seems of this nature, given our prior discussion. I’m convinced that the Bachmann question is similar, in that it seems pretty clear that the question was in the main rhetorical, no answer was expected (and support for that was that her response engendered no follow up discussion).

    Perhaps that’s a clue. No reporter asking Kennedy didn’t already know the gist of his reply to the question. Likewise for Ms Bachmann. Perhaps that’s the hint, a question asked, which raises doubts in the minds of the listeners but for which there is no real doubt as to the reply is a partisan ploy. Nothing more.

  36. Boonton says:

    I’m convinced that the Bachmann question is similar, in that it seems pretty clear that the question was in the main rhetorical, no answer was expected (and support for that was that her response engendered no follow up discussion).

    Perhaps because she and her supporters pulled the Palin card and claimed media victimization. No answer was expected? How about a direct, honest one?

    “No submission does not mean that the way I do my job, whatever it is, is directed by or ordered around by my husband”

    or

    “Submission means that I use my judgement except when my husband asserts his authority as my husband and I will yield to his calls then whether it applies to whatever my current job is or in any other aspect of our life”

    The former would have ended the issue directly. The latter would have generated a lot of discussion but even you, I think would agree if Mrs. Bachmann feels this way she should share it….do you not?

    Note that Kennedy did answer the Catholic question clearly in the majority camp. (BTW, Kennedy never was actually asked the ‘Catholic question’ by any reporter, he took it upon himself to address the question that was never actually asked to him)