Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann quickly jumped to the front of the pack after announcing her bid for the presidency. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the knives come out just as quickly to cut her down — in this case rumors that she suffers from “debilitating” medical episodes that frequently put her out for days at a time, and that she may be overly relying on, and potentially abusing, medication to keep her issues under control.
So claims an article in the Daily Caller, which sources three hospitalizations or urgent care visits over a period of nearly 5 years, copious quotes from one “adviser” (it is unclear if this is a current or former adviser), and a confirmation from “three people who have worked closely with Bachmann.” Allegedly, Bachmann has been suffering for years from severe migraines, which “occur once a week on average and can ‘incapacitate’ her for days at time.” These witnesses and former aides claim, “They level her. They put her down,” and that the episodes are stress induced. They even go as far as to imply she might be abusing drugs to cope with them.
“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”
Of particular concern to some around her is the significant amount of medication Bachmann takes to address her condition.
The former aide says Bachmann’s congressional staff is “constantly” in contact with her doctors to tweak the types and amounts of medicine she is taking. Marcus Bachmann helps her manage the episodes
Former campaign staff said they feel obligated to speak out, afraid that she won’t be able to handle the stress of the rest of the campaign, much less making decisions for the entire free world should she be elected president. “As president, when she’s in crisis management mode, is she going to have the physical ability to withstand the most difficult challenges facing America?”
I think I’ve made it clear that I care very little for Michele Bachmann’s politics. As a Minnesotan, I’ve watched her rise through the ranks first hand, and seen the divisive, hateful positions that she has come to power with. I’ve also watched her campaign ceaselessly, cycle to cycle, fundraising and organizing like mad. I started covering her as a writer back in 2005, and watched her win an endorsement no one thought she could get for the Minnesota 6th in early 2006, saw her squeak past a veteran heavy hitter in 2008, and pull off an even larger victory while simultaneously launching herself onto a national platform in 2010.
This is not a woman incapacitated for days at a time with weekly migraines.
The former aide who provided the majority of the source material was able to list May 13, 2010, July 30, 2010, October 19, 2010, and an “incident” of migraines in 2006 as complications after an appendicitis attack. Two of the occasions were mentioned in the media. The October “debilitating attack” Bachmann actually campaigned through, although the aide is quick to point out she was in great pain. If so, it wasn’t noticeable enough for the public to remark on.
If Bachmann was disappearing in a “non-functioning” medical state once a week on average, it would have been noticed long before a former aide felt he or she needed to warn the world of her impeding incapacitation. The reason Bachmann’s July 30th illness was mentioned in the media is because during 2010 she campaigned so tirelessly, both locally against opponent Tarryl Clark, and nationally, making copious appearances on talk radio and television as a spokeswoman for the new Tea Party movement.
So why is this story happening now, and why this story, exactly? Making Bachmann a victim of her own illnesses, incapable of having the physical and emotional strength to run the country? Why, of course she’s not strong enough to lead — she’s a woman! She can’t handle stress, she falls apart when the situation gets too complicated, and she’ll crumble under pressure. This is why women cannot be put in leadership positions, right?
The narrative plays into the idea of the weak woman who cannot run — run a business, run a country. It’s nothing but a vicious, sexist hit piece that is meant to stop the woman who is not only outperforming nearly every male presidential candidate in the race, but is steadily gaining on the only candidate believed to be untouchable.
But she’s also leading the religious right, and a lot of candidates want to play for those votes. And pointing out to a group of religious voters who don’t believe women should even lead their households that a woman may be unfit to lead the nation would be a good way to try to sway them. Is a current, or even potentially new GOP candidate behind the attacks on Bachmann? It’s too soon to say. But I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if, once you start going through everyone’s staff lists, you might find a former Bachmann adviser sitting on one of them.
Photo credit: fibonacciblue