Feature

Bachmann’s husband: The whisper campaign

Websites and blogs favored by the Left are speculating that Michele Bachmann's husband is gay.

“Hear that snickering?” said Michelle Cottle in TheDailyBeast.com. That’s the sound of liberals having a wonderful time spreading the rumor that GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann—“one of the most aggressive anti-gay-marriage crusaders in politics”—may herself be married to a “closeted gay man.” Speculation about Marcus Bachmann’s sexuality has been swirling for months, propelled by YouTube clips of the burly Christian counselor dancing, walking, and speaking in an “effeminate manner.” But in recent weeks, the whispers have been openly aired on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and in prominent websites and blogs favored by the Left. Those doing the mocking say the issue is hypocrisy, said Luke Broadwater in BaltimoreSun.com. Marcus Bachmann runs a Christian therapy business that allegedly encourages tortured homosexuals to “pray away the gay” and become straight. But with zero evidence that Bachmann is gay, does he really “deserve all the ridicule he’s getting?”

When you get involved in national politics, said Tim Murphy in MotherJones.com, you can expect attacks of every kind—fair or not. Remember when right-wing news outlets published photos of Elena Kagan playing softball to suggest that the then–Supreme Court nominee was a lesbian? (She was forced to say she wasn’t.) Marcus Bachmann is his wife’s “top adviser,” according to the candidate herself, and that makes him “fair game for criticism,” as does his own on-the-record use of “fiercely anti-gay language.” In one audio clip, he can be heard describing gay teenagers as “barbarians” who “need to be educated” and “disciplined.” Given Bachmann’s vehement rhetoric about the need to suppress homosexual feelings, it was inevitable that his political enemies would suggest he was inadvertently revealing some internal struggle.

“That doesn’t justify bullying,” said June Thomas in Slate.com. And that’s what any fair-minded person would call mocking a man because he has a slight lisp. What an irony that among those engaging in “smear-the-queer” tactics against Bachmann are blogger Andrew Sullivan, a champion of gay rights, and the nationally known sex columnist Dan Savage, who began the “It Gets Better” project to help gay teens accept themselves. Both Sullivan and Savage are insisting that their “gaydar” goes off every time they see Bachmann speak or move. “There’s nothing new about calling somebody gay based on a lisp or a girlish gait,” said William Saletan, also in Slate.com. “What’s unusual is seeing grownup gays and liberals do it in 2011 with such open ridicule.”

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