Michele Bachmann’s loud gay voice

I’ve hestitated to write anything about current US Republican presidential front-runner Michele Bachmann because
a) that very phrase is fucking terrifying, and
b) what can I say about this fundamentalist loon that hasn’t already been said?

I know full well that in the three-ring circus that is American politics now, flamboyantly dreadful gasbags like Bachmann and Donald Trump are just there to move the goal posts to the right, to make lesser evils like Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty look statesmanlike. Hell, even Sarah Palin looks like a leader next to Bachmann.

But as the race to the White House in 2012 begins, it has turned frightening early on, with Huckabee and Pawlenty dropping out of the race already and more attention being paid to Bachmann and Rick Perry, a dim-bulb Governor from Texas who seems awfully similar to…..oh whatever, you see the train wreck coming.

So I watched Bachmann’s interview with David Gregory (tearing into her with teeth I haven’t seen him display towards Republicans for quite some time) but found myself looking at her in a new, perhaps kinder way. Her rhetoric here enrages me, of course, but not for the reasons you’ll think:


I don’t hate Michele Bachmann for working hard to keep people second-class citizens or for being a fundamentalist nutjob trying to turn America into a theocracy but here, I really hate her for not just answering the fucking question. Seriously, it’s incredibly annoying watching a candidate for the highest office in, let’s face it, the world have to duck and weave around her own past statements. Just give us the full Anita Bryant and let’s move on! But that’s when I suddenly begin to feel a weird empathy towards her. She’s trapped.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” That’s the party line on homosexuality from most mainstream churches and it is, of course, ridiculous. My sexuality is an intrinsic part of my personality and, even if it was something more easily compartmentalized or divested, that line would still read as silly as, “Love the football fan, hate the football game.” As a distinction, let alone a way to live one’s life, it’s just goofy.

Michele Bachmann, however, swears by it. When she talks of treating gay people with “honour and dignity,” I believe her to be utterly sincere. What she’s struggling with in this interview is the knowledge that Gregory is trying to paint her as a hatemonger when she sees her past statements as sympathetic statements in trying to warn people away from sin. She truly believes she’ll help LGBT people by leading them to her husband’s “ex-gay” reparative therapy centres. It’s kind of like a friend asking her for a lift to the beer store so Michele drives them down to the Betty Ford clinic. Thanks, but no.

This is, of course, the kindest possible interpretation of Bachmann’s stance here. One could also note that fighting the Great and Powerful Homosexual Agenda has long been an easy way for right-wing politicians to whip up their base and rake in campaign contributions. In Bachmann’s case, she’d also be supporting her hubby’s business. Ah, but about that hubby…

Marcus Bachmann can only remind me of the famous quip from Tallulah Bankhead when asked if Montgomery Clift was gay: “Well, I don’t know, darling–he’s never sucked my cock.” It’s an uncomfortable situation–if there’s such a thing as “gay voice,” then Marcus is its Morgan Freeman but it’s just too damn easy to make homophobic jokes at his expense and join in with the chorus assuming Bachmann’s gay just because he’s a bit…flouncy. It’s unpleasant when high-school bullies do it, arguably moreso when Jon Stewart‘s doing it. I will, however, make an exception for Arrested Development‘s David Cross, whose brilliant take on “the gay voice” makes me cry with laughter:


Assuming that Marcus Bachmann is gay, however, goes back to my point on sympathy because, if true, it would neatly explain Michele Bachmann’s entire stance on homosexuality. Of course she would call being gay “personal bondage…personal enslavement” if she’s watching her own husband struggle with what they regard as desires sent from Satan, an evil impulse directly opposed to the faith they’ve grown up in.

Sure, you or I might think their Bible is just a dusty book of ancient prejudices but Michele and Marcus live by it and will never admit that parts of it may be outdated or even wrong, lest the entire belief system come crashing down. They’re trapped, insisting that 2000 years of superstition trumps a mere 100 years of psychological, biological and cultural science.

“Love the zealot, hate their religion,” I quip but that’s too easy for one who’s never had to struggle with such a huge gap between spiritual and sexual desires. Whether he is or isn’t heterosexual, Marcus Bachmann would desperately want to be and his loving wife Michele will eliminate all temptation–for him and for all of America. Why, God even told her to Himself!

Whoa.  I just stopped feeling sorry for her.

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About Scott Dagostino

An arts & culture journalist who's the bastard love child of Van Morrison and Jessica Mitford
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