I've given birth to five babies, and I've taken 23 foster children into my home," Michele Bachmann explained from the stage of the first major Republican presidential primary debate of the 2012 season.
Jon Stewart would joke the next day that Bachmann was the winner of the primary "baby-off." Imagining himself as the moderator, "The Daily Show" host added: "And I just wanna ask everyone else here up on the dais, have you ever had to divide a birthday cake into 28 equal pieces?"
The Minnesota congresswoman was answering a question about abortion and brandishing her most authentic credentials as an embodiment of those God-given rights that America was established to protect. She also underscored one of the ways she is a formidable challenge to conventional media narratives about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the brutalized versions of those ideals reflected in President Obama's policies. She represents a continuing, promising threat to the prevailing view of what exactly social justice (see www.seeksocialjustice.com) and even feminism is.
The entrance of Sarah Palin on the national political scene in 2008 marked a milestone: No longer could the mainstream media pretend that women in politics were all about liberalism, wedded to the so-called "women's issue" of legal abortion. With her campaign for the presidency, Bachmann drives that point home.
"Michele Bachmann's commanding presence and performance in the debate sealed a political evolution that has been fomenting for some time: the diminution of feminism and the evolution of femininity," Kellyanne Conway, president of the polling company, says.
And it's about time. Polls consistently show that the majority of the country leans toward a pro-life position -- it's why advocates of legal abortion will talk about making it "rare." We're a country that knows that abortion is not a good thing. And even 57 percent of "pro-choice" women in New York City think the 41 percent abortion rate there is outrageous, according to a recent McLaughlin & Associates poll.
Bachmann's prominence makes it "harder for liberals to insist that women cannot advance without abortion," Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women of America says. "Sandra Day O'Connor's basis for the Casey decision -- that women rely on abortion, even build their lives and careers around the availability of abortion -- is shot. Bachmann proves that 'woman's issues' are not limited to abortion and government-enforced privileges for women in the workplace. Nor that a woman needs either to succeed."
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