Posts Tagged ‘Bachmann’

From God’s Lips to Michele’s Ears

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Michele Bachmann and ... God

By Bob Gaydos

Good lord, does Michele Bachmann really believe that God is taking sides in the American presidential campaign? More to the point, does the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota expect us to believe that she knows which side God is on because she can interpret the messages He sends us in the form of catastrophic natural events?

It would appear so. The tea party darling, who has repeatedly demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge of history or an understanding of science, has now offered American voters a glimpse of her evangelical Christian faith in which, apparently, God controls all natural events and directs them at certain people to deliver a message. Let the bodies fall where they may.

Speaking in Florida a few days ago, Bachmann said: “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

So God punished the East Coast, home to those dreaded Democrats and liberals, with a rare earthquake and then a hurricane that killed 45 people and caused billions of dollars in damage because Democrats in Congress and the Democratic president would not go along with her views on how to fix the country’s financial problems?

Really? That’s all God has to worry about these days? Poverty and sickness and hunger and bigotry and religious fanaticism have all been dealt with, so let’s balance America’s budget? This is frightening on so many levels, even for Bachmann and, I might add, an insult to God.

Of course, Bachmann, as is her wont (and her habit) reacted to criticism of her comment by having an aide say it was only a joke. Oh, OK. Hear that Vermont? She was only kidding. You farmers who lost all your crops and you people whose homes were made unlivable, stop griping. Can’t you take a joke?

The thing with Bachmann is that she always has to backtrack on some dumb statement and always excuses it in an offhand manner as a meaningless misstatement or a joke. Which means she’s either dangerously clueless or — the really dangerous option — absolutely convinced that anything she believes is right and true and those who disagree with her are wrong and false. And, one may then assume, deserving of a vengeful God’s wrath until they are converted.

But she’s even got this God thing wrong. Disclaimer: I do not believe, as did the Greeks and Romans, that God, or the gods, are sitting around controlling natural events to reward or punish humans. But if one did believe this, then it would appear that conservative Republicans in the Deep South and Midwest, home of many fundamentalist religious zealots who support Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have not been heeding God’s messages.

The worst natural disaster by far in America this year has been the record-setting drought that has engulfed 13 states, all but one in the South and Midwest. The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina — homes to so many Republicans and true tea party believers — have suffered for months with no relief in sight. Worst of all is Texas, where Gov. Perry has tried to out-God Bachmann in his presidential campaign. The outlying drought state? Alaska. How ya doin’, Sarah?

There’s more. Sixty-two tornadoes devastated Alabama on April 27. From May 22 to May 22, central and Southern states were hit by 180 tornadoes, with 177 killed, 160 in Joplin, Mo. alone. Cost: $4.9 billion. In all this year, Midwest and Southeastern states have been hit by about 750 tornadoes, causing more than 500 deaths and $16 billion in damage. There was also a hail storm that a did a billion dollars in damage in Oklahoma. God must have been really ticked at those Okies over something, no?

So, wasn’t anybody in these states listening to God when he told them to compromise on the debt crisis? Or was He telling them to take global warming seriously? I have to admit that, apparently along with Bachmann, I didn’t catch His meaning in these instances, but I did notice that all those states readily accepted help from the federal government to deal with the destruction of the natural disasters.

Actually, let’s keep this simple. If Michele Bachmann truly believes that God is punishing Democrats with lethal natural disasters for not agreeing with her on the budget, she hasn’t got the brains to be president. If she thinks this is a joking matter, she hasn’t got the heart.

Laughing It Up

Monday, August 29th, 2011

By Jeffrey Page
That Michele Bachmann is an ignoramus can no longer be in doubt. But now she has proven herself to be a merciless ignoramus.

Once, we would have laughed at the thought of a presidential candidate asking the press to investigate Congress to see which members were pro-American and which were anti-American. Once, we would have laughed if a candidate declared that not a single study existed to show that carbon dioxide is harmful.

It’s time to stop laughing. It’s also time for some of her Republican colleagues to call her out. More on this later.

Bachmann now is hinting that God himself caused Hurricane Irene and the earthquake the week before in order to catch the attention of free-spending politicians. Here’s her full quote, uttered on a campaign stop in Sarasota, Fla.: “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake. We’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here? Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.’ ”

How dare she blaspheme by suggesting that God is an American? (“We’ve got to rein in spending?”). How dare she suggest that God is a fiscal conservative thus hinting that if you happen not to be a fiscal conservative, you’re somehow on the wrong side of the Almighty?

But wait. With Bachmann, the story never ends, and this one reveals her dark side. When she was finally challenged, she issued an “explanation” that insults the intelligence of anyone reading it.

“Of course she was saying it in jest,” Bachmann had her campaign press secretary say.

Jest? With 43 people dead in Hurricane Irene?

Jest? With billions in property damage resulting from the storm and the quake? With countless lives ruined? With pictures of people, their hands over their mouths, wondering how to re-start, where to start first, where to get the cash needed to re-make their lives? With millions of people still without electricity days after the winds subsided?


A fair question now, about one year before the Republican nominating convention, is whether any of the other GOP candidates or possible candidates will label Bachmann’s crazy assertions for the trash that they are.

Mitt Romney seems like an obvious choice since Massachusetts took a beating at the hands of Hurricane Irene. Maybe John Huntsman, who sounds pretty smart much of the time. Of course there’s Newt Gingrich who fancies himself the GOP intellectual in residence. How about Giuliani, the self-styled patron saint of New York? Or how about the in-again, out-again George Pataki who doesn’t seem to have much to lose at this point.

I doubt any will.

But until one says what has to be said, Bachmann will continue her one-woman freak show. Think back, it was Michele Bachmann who famously stated that she found it “interesting” that the great swine flu epidemic of the Seventies occurred when the Democrat Jimmy Carter was president. What’s really interesting is that the flu outbreak occurred when the president was the un-Democrat Gerald Ford.

It’s None of My Business … but

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Neither is viable.

By Bob Gaydos

Time for my occasional stroll through the headlines, a la Jimmy Cannon:

Maybe it’s none of my business, but when did TV reporters start interviewing caddies at the end of major golf tournaments? Last week, Australian Adam Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational tournament, for his first World Golf Championship victory. Yet the post-tournament focus on CBS was on Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams.

For those who understandably don’t follow golf on TV (zzzzzzzzz), Williams was the caddie for Tiger Woods for many years. Carrying the bags for a dozen years and 13 major championships. Yet on Sunday, Williams was declaring Scott’s victory “the most satisfying win I’ve ever had, there’s no two ways about it. The fans have been unbelievable. It’s the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that.”

Well, gee, Stevie, that’s nice, but wasn’t Scott the one hitting the ball and putting it in the hole and weren’t you the one carrying the bag?

Williams is ticked off at Woods for firing him. The caddie says he wasted a couple of years of his life waiting for Woods to get his life and game on track again. Fine. But Williams has made a fortune carrying bags for Woods and earned more than Woods did on Sunday caddying for Scott, whom he never mentioned in the TV interview.

A word to CBS and Williams: The story is never about the caddie.

* * *

Speaking of ratings, maybe it’s none of my business, but doesn’t anyone think it’s odd that stock markets around the world are thrown into chaos because a credit rating company blamed for playing a large part in creating the worldwide economic recession issued a downgrade in the rating of the United States from AAA to AAplus? That downgrade, by the way, included a $2 trillion error and seemed to lean more on politics than economics in its conclusion.

Standard and Poor’s, which has nothing good to say about the ability of the U.S. to cover its debts, is the company that had nothing bad to say about all those worthless sub-prime mortgages that sent the same stock markets reeling when banks realized they were stuck with worthless paper, and lots of houses. Of course, if the checks on such ratings companies that were included in legislation passed by Congress in the wake of the recession had actually been put in place, we might have a clearer, more objective idea of what is really going on. But hey, who needs regulation? It’s only money.

* * *

I know this is really none of my business, but sometimes rioters are just hoodlums and thieves looking for an excuse to do damage. Which seems to be what much of the rioting in London and other British cities is about. It may have begun with anger over the shooting of a citizen by police, but the mobs of young people looting and burning businesses and attacking police have no apparent connection whatsoever with that incident.

* * *

The wide-eyed photo of Michelle Bachmann on the cover of Newsweek says a lot more about the steep, sudden decline of the magazine, with its new owner and editor, as a viable news weekly than of Bachmann as a viable presidential candidate. Neither is. Viable, that is. Of course, since I have canceled my subscription to Newsweek, this is none of my business.

* * *

I really wish no ill will of Jorge Posada and I appreciate those years of occasional key hits and trying to call games as a catcher, but when he strikes out looking every other at bat, I feel like it’s really my business, as a fan, to say swing or get off the bench.

* * *

OK, maybe this is nothing for me to be sticking my nose into, but he is my president, so I have to ask: Has anybody seen Barack Obama’s spine lately? (I wasn’t sure how to spell cojones, although I understand Sarah Palin apparently knows how and was wondering the same thing about Obama.)

* * *

By the way, happy 50th birthday, Mr. President. For all your difficulty dealing with Republicans in Congress, it looks like Republicans themselves are having as much trouble dealing with their new friends, the tea party people. If I were you, I’d keep encouraging every one of them to declare their candidacies for president. It may not be the most impressive way to get elected, beating a God-fearing, science-fearing, Muslim-fearing, education-fearing, Mexican-fearing, logically challenged, contraception-fearing, homophobic gun worshiper who loves the death penalty and hates Medicare and Social Security, but if you don’t mind, then I don’t either.

* * *

And finally, a report tells us that  NASA-funded researchers have found DNA elements — the building blocks for life — in meteorites. Which suggests, strongly I guess, that the components for life on Earth may have originated in outer space. I guess that’s kind of everybody’s business. Even the tea party people.

Until next time.

Put on Your High-Heel Sneakers …

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Michele Bachmann's strappy sandals

By Bob Gaydos

Can high heels really cause migraines? Apparently, Michele Bachmann thinks the answer is yes. She also continues to do well in polls of possible Republican presidential candidates. And so, we will once more sit in on Professor Bachmann’s class. The subject this time is health, not history.

Let’s start with a statement of fact: There is no scientific or biological evidence that wearing high-heel shoes can trigger migraine episodes. There’s not much anecdotal testimony on any cause and effect either. This is not in any way to belittle the sometimes debilitating effect such headaches can have on those who get them (women are three times more susceptible). Indeed, if the issue were merely migraines and how they affect Bachmann’s ability to handle her job as a congresswoman from Minnesota — or potentially, president of the United States — there probably wouldn’t be much of an issue.

Some ex-Bachmann aides (of which there are a lot) gave out the information on the migraines and said she took a bunch of pills to deal with them. They said she was sometimes incapacitated for a day by the headaches. Bachmann herself confirmed the migraines, but said she was always able to function. She said she takes prescribed medications for the headaches and side effects.

This is not unusual. Several presidents had to deal with painful health issues, but managed to fulfill the stressful duties of the Oval Office. John Kennedy and Thomas Jefferson suffered from migraines, to name two. So, assuming she is being forthright on the issue, doubting Bachmann’s ability to serve as president simply because she’s a woman who suffers migraines would be patently unfair.

But Bachmann’s the one who brought up the high heels, immediately making it a gender issue as well as a possible health issue. Her son, who is a doctor, said his mother noticed “a correlation” between the headaches and days when she is wearing heels. “The truth is she wears high heels all the time and she doesn’t get migraines” all the time, he said. “But she has found a correlation, though a correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It’s an unknown cause.” He pointed out she was wearing high heels during stressful situations.

Bachmann says she started wearing high heels as a little girl, when she wore her mother’s, and has always loved wearing them. In fact, high heels are a critical component of a certain type of modern powerful-woman package: Well-tailored expensive suit, stylish hair, high heels. I can be feminine and effective. Do not doubt me.

Fine. But high heels and migraines?

I decided to check with Orange County’s most famous female high-heel wearing politician — Mary McPhillips — to see if she ever had a problem with shoe-related migraines.

“No, never,” she said with a chuckle. “And I walked in a lot of parades wearing high heels. In fact, if I changed the color of the shoes, people asked me why.”

McPhillips, a funeral director who served as a county coroner, a member of the state Assembly and as Orange County executive, said the only physical problem she ever had because of wearing high heels was when she switched to wearing flats or low heels. “Your calf muscles have to change,” she said. “My legs would ache.”

Why did she even wear high heels all the time in the first place? Did it make her feel more powerful?

“When you’re 5-4, the heels at least put you on eye level with your constituents,” she said. “Now, when I wear flats, say to go to the store, people say, ‘You’re so short. Where are your heels?’ ”

Would she have any shoe advice for Bachmann, whose politics are 180 degrees from those of McPhillips?

“Try a pair of sneaks.”

Which brings me to my real problem with this whole issue. If Bachmann, who presents herself as a serious candidate for the highest office in this land, really believes that wearing high heels can occasionally trigger debilitating migraine headaches, why in the world does she continue to wear high heels? After all, she is willing to ignore scientific evidence on a host of other issues and speak and act based on her beliefs. So to me, this is not a gender issue, but a judgment issue. I suspect that if the equally style-conscious Mitt Romney thought tight, Italian leather shoes caused him headaches, he wouldn’t wear them.

I can admire a pair of shapely legs fitted out in high-heel shoes as well as the next heterosexual guy (that’s another Bachmann column and an admittedly sexist comment). But if a woman who wants to be president thinks the shoes are triggering serious migraines and continues to wear them anyway, she’s merely reinforcing the suspicion that there’s more style than substance at work. She’s also flirting with being relegated to Bimbo Land and Sarah’s got that constituency all sewed up.

Sarah vs. Michele: Let ’em Rumble

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, Tea Party divas, and possible presidential candidates.

By Bob Gaydos

There’s a movement afoot, apparently started by conscientious, well-meaning citizens of the liberal political persuasion to convince the mainstream media to stop covering Sarah Palin as if she is a serious political candidate. They want people to write to major network news shows to stop their “wall-to-wall coverage” of Palin and “report on issues that actually effect(sic) us.”*

Sorry friends, I couldn’t disagree more. Ignoring Palin in favor of reporting on the debt ceiling and the relative merits of Tim Pawlenty and that guy who used to be ambassador to China would not only put America to sleep, it would deprive Americans of what promises to be the top reality TV show of the summer: Female Mud Wrestling, starring the two divas of the Tea Party/Republican Party, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. This hope alone makes the whole GOP primary mess worthwhile.

Some people would pay big money to see and hear these darlings of conservative ideology (sorry Mr. Will and Mr. Krauthammer, but I didn’t pick them) go mujer a mujer in a series of debates on “the issues.” But if they’re both candidates, we won’t have to pay a dime. It will be free and in living color, with great hair and enough great quotes to spawn a hundred more web sites.

And on a practical note, as long as Palin and Bachmann are treated as serious candidates, by the media as well as followers within the Republican Party, they will generate headlines and TV coverage and make it harder for any other Republican candidate to get his views more widely known. All of which will make it more difficult for Republicans to continue to blame President Obama for the Bush recession and the two Bush wars and easier for Obama to organize his re-election campaign under the “I Got Osama” banners. And isn’t re-electing Obama what the “serious issues” people really want?

Bottom line here is that the Republicans either hate the few serious candidates they have or won’t let them venture anywhere near the truth on the budget, health care, taxes, etc. That leaves Michele and Sarah as easily the best show in town. Even Republican commentators are speculating on the showdown. Who will prevail?

Will it be the Iowa congresswoman who proclaimed that the shot heard ‘round the world was fired in Concord, New Hampshire, not Concord, Massachusetts? Or will it be the half-term Alaska governor who volunteered that Paul Revere went riding through Boston firing warning shots and ringin’ bells, warning the British that the Americans were not about to give up their guns?

Folks, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Palin, 47, and Bachmann, 55, are both attractive, family values, Christian conservatives, whose free-wheeling verbal styles resonate with Tea Party faithful. Of course, there have already been the usual charges of sexism for anyone even suggesting a GOP catfight and denials among aides in both women’s camps that there is any rivalry here. The web site Politico reported that “Publicly, Palin, Bachmann, and their top staffers have nothing but praise for one another. Palin campaigned for Bachmann last spring in Minnesota, where Palin said the women were “buddies” and Bachmann called Palin “so much one of us” and “absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.”

But this is politics, after all, and Bachmann can’t be happy that Palin launched a bus tour on the eve of Bachmann’s anticipated entrance into the campaign. And “friendship” notwithstanding, Bachmann has told an interviewer she is reading the political gossip book, “Game Change,” an insider’s look at the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign.

“Game Change’ is a book that is very difficult to put down,” Bachmann said. “At least I found it difficult to put down, and it gives a person pause. But the other thing that it does, I think, is it informed me of what I don’t want to do.”

In case you’re curious, “Game Change,” which relied heavily on interviews with McCain’s campaign manager, portrayed Palin as ignorant of world events, including World Wars I and II, the Cold War, the history of Iraq and Saddam Hussein and prone to wild mood swings.

It was so friendly of Bachmann to point out that she doesn’t want to follow in those Palin footsteps. And so nice of her supporters to note that Bachman is a three-term member of Congress, former Minnesota state legislator, a trained tax law attorney and foster mother to 23 children, and Palin is not.

What Palin is is a savvy self-promoter and fund-raiser, who will have a say in Republican politics, as a candidate or not, as long as other, more knowledgeable, more qualified potential candidates allow her to parade around as if she speaks for them or their party. And so long as she does that, Bachmann, her semi-clone, will also be afforded the same, undeserved status. You want to talk abut issues? Ask them about issues. After all, their party says they are serious candidates. Or at least it doesn’t say they aren’t serious candidates. Same difference in politics.

Which is why I’m salivating at the thought of a Palin/Bachmann oratorical mud-wrestling match. Will we get more of the quotable Bachmann:

  • ”I think there is a point where you say enough is enough to government intrusion. … Does the federal government really need to know our phone numbers?”
  • “I don’t know where they’re going to get all this money because we’re running out of rich people in this country.”
  • “There is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact … hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel prizes, believe in intelligent design.”

Or more of the incomparable Sarah:

  • “Well, let’s see. There’s of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ?” — Sarah Palin, unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008.
  • “I haven’t heard the president state that we’re at war. That’s why I too am not knowing — do we use the term intervention? Do we use war? Do we use squirmish? What is it?” — On the U.S. and NATO bombing of Libya, March 29, 2011.
  • “It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: ‘Sit down and shut up,’ but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out.” — Announcing her resignation as governor, July 3, 2009, midway through her term.

I strongly suspect that none of the people who want the press to ignore Sarah Palin as a serious candidate, has much respect for the opinions of other Republican candidates on “serious” issues either. And network news executives gave up covering news in favor of entertainment years ago. Better to use your energy listening to Obama and trying to influence his opinions, if you wish, and praying like the dickens that Sarah and Michele wind up on the same stage in the same debate over and over again.

Which one do you think looks better in red?

(* OK, major gripe: If you want to rally smart liberals to your cause, use the right words. It should be issues that “affect” us, not “effect.” Look it up. Even network news execs might catch the error.)

Gerry and Sarah, Blazing the Trail

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

— Napoleon

By Bob Gaydos

The last time I saw Geraldine Ferraro, it was one of those hot, humid, mid-August afternoons when pressing the flesh and asking people to vote for you was not at the top of the list of favorite things to do for most politicians. It was at the Ulster County Fair and I had just reminisced my way through an hour of the current edition of the Drifters singing their collection of timeless hits and was in search of something cold to drink.

I turned a corner and there she was, standing virtually alone, the sun beating down on her, yet looking amazingly cool in her crisp, white, tailored blouse. Why wasn’t anyone talking to her, I wondered. Don’t they know who she is? She ran for vice president of the United States. She could have been — should have been — elected senator from New York six years ago.

It was 1998 and I was writing editorials for the Times Herald-Record and so I introduced myself to the Senate candidate. We shook hands, she smiled and politely said, oh yes, nice to see you again, Bob. I noticed she wasn’t quite the cool customer I had thought as she, too, had sweat beads on her forehead. We chatted briefly and I seem to recall an air of calm resignation about her, although how much of that is real and how much the product of history, I can’t be sure. At any rate, she answered my questions graciously and moved on as, eventually, some of the other fair-goers began to recognize her.

For all intents and purposes, Ferraro faded into political obscurity soon after that. She had started the campaign a heavy favorite to win, because of her name recognition, but was drubbed in the Democratic primary by then-Congressman Charles Schumer, a guy who knows how to work a county fair crowd and who had millions more than Ferraro to spend on his campaign. Schumer went on to become the ubiquitous Senator Chuck. Ferraro went on to a battle with cancer that lasted the rest of her life.

Ferraro died Saturday, at age 75, of a form of blood cancer. She was diagnosed with the disease in November 1998, shortly after the Senate campaign, but did not reveal her illness until more than two years later. She more than doubled the survival rate for her cancer, which may have had as much to do with her toughness as with the bone marrow transplant and drug therapies she received. During those years she became an energetic advocate for research and education on blood cancer as well as for opportunities for women in politics and in professional careers. In sum, the Italian-American daughter of Newburgh was well-deserving of the tributes paid to her as a pioneer for women’s equality.

Which brings me to that quote at the top of this column. No, it does not refer to Ferraro. She was feisty. (In 1984, when she was Walter Mondale’s running mate on the Democratic Party presidential ticket, she had this to say in answer to a question about her debate with George H.W. Bush: “I readily admit I was not an expert on foreign policy but I was knowledgeable and I didn’t need a man who was the Vice President of the United States and my opponent turning around and putting me down.”) She was intelligent; she was well-informed and well-spoken; she was curious. She was, in sum, a serious political candidate.

But Napoleon, bless his egotistical little heart, was right. None of those attributes is necessary for success in politics.

Consider, as Rod Serling used to say, the curious case of Michelle Bachmann. She has been elected to Congress four times in Minnesota and is regularly mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012. You may have heard that, on a recent fund-raising visit to New Hampshire, Bachmann said, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.”

Uh huh. She is also famous for saying, “Death panels are the bureaucracies that President Obama is establishing where bureaucrats will make the decision on who gets health care and how much.” The founder of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives also believes: “Carbon dioxide is natural, it is not harmful, it is a part of Earth’s lifecycle. And yet we’re being told that we have to reduce this natural substance, reduce the American standard of living, to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in Earth.”

And what the heck, one more from Bachmann: ”I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

The last Senate campaign also gave us Christine O’Donnell as a Tea Party Republican candidate in Delaware. O‘Donnell had perhaps the most intriguing campaign theme of all time: “I’m not a witch.”

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Sharron Angle ran for the Senate as a Tea Party Republican offering this bit of political strategy: ”I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” Sweet.

But of course, the godmother of Tea Party Republicans is Sarah (Half-term) Palin. Palin is to the Republican Party as Ferraro was to the Democrats. Sort of. Palin was the first female to run for vice president on the Republican ticket. She also could be described (in fact, insists on being described) as feisty. There, the similarities end. Entire web sites now exist devoted to the utterings of Palin: A small sampling:

  • ”If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?” (In her book, ”Going Rogue”)
  • My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars. Never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”
  • “Another big question that has to be answered, Greta, is are we at war? I haven’t heard the president state that we’re at war. That’s why I too am not knowing — do we use the term intervention? Do we use war? Do we use squirmish? What is it?” (On the U.S. and NATO bombing of Libya, March 29.)
  • In New Delhi, India, on March 19, she was asked why the Republicans did not win in 2008. “I was not the top of the ticket,” was her reply.

Having thus thrown John McCain — the man who made her career possible — under the bus, Palin showed herself to be as capable of cutthroat politics as any man and, like Ferraro, a trailblazer for women in her own right. I can sense some female readers getting a bit restless about now, so let me offer one more Palinism: “Who hijacked term: ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it’s ironic (& passé)” (In a Twitter message, Aug. 18, 2010).

You may argue that Palin is not in Ferraro’s league as a qualified, well-informed, competent and coherent politician, and you would be right, but you cannot deny that Palin was the first woman to be part of a GOP presidential ticket. You can also not deny that being smart, serious and substantive were not always regarded as necessary in males who ran for the same office (just go back as far as Dan Quayle and Spiro Agnew and I can’t help it if these are all Republicans).

No, Napoleon was on to something. You can be dumb and succeed in politics. Geraldine Ferraro may have blazed the trail for them, but thanks to Sarah, Michelle, et al, women in America have finally achieved political equality with men.

I for one wish they had aimed a bit higher.

Bob can be reached at