Michele Bachmann's Nuttiness Is No Reason for Sexism

Criticize Michele Bachmann on her politics but don't belittle her on her gender.

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Rep. Michele Bachman is nothing if not a colorful and provocative candidate. She was one of the original "birthers" on Capitol Hill, raising absurd questions about President Obama's U.S. citizenship. She has said "all cultures are not equal." She pointed out the strange "coincidence" that swine flu broke out during both the Carter and Obama administrations.

So why do people keep going back to the old standby of gender-related insults the describe her? Or, in the case of NBC, just introducing her when she agreed to be a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?

When Bachmann was on the show recently, she was greeted with a portion of the 1985 song "Lying Ass Bitch." It's offensive enough that someone would hate women so much as to write or purchase a song with that title, but to offer it as an intro to a female presidential candidate is much worse. NBC apologized, and Bachmann, rightly, is not satisfied.

[See photos of Michele Bachmann.]

The leader of the show's band the Roots called the insulting song choice a "tongue-in-cheek and spur-of-the-moment decision."

Said Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in a tweet:

The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention.

Apologies don't get much lamer than that. Anytime someone says he or she is sorry "if" you were offended, count that as one of the apologies someone forced that person to make. It's not sincere.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the GOP hopefuls.]

Bachmann has endured a lot of sexism this campaign, as did Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other female candidates in their campaigns. Her photo on the cover of a major newsweekly was unflattering, making her look a tad crazed. But the sexism was not in the publication of a less-than attractive photo of a startlingly attractive woman. The sexism was in the outcry from conservatives who accused the so-called "liberal" media of deliberately putting Bachmann in a bad physical light, a defense that just makes the U.S. congresswoman loom like some insecure little girl more concerned with her appearance than her platform. Bachmann, to her credit, ignored the made-up controversy. Greeting a female candidate with such an overtly woman-hating song is on another level, and Bachmann was right to stand her ground.

Bachmann's an easy enough target on other, policy-related matters. Belittling her for her gender is not just offensive, it's lazy.