Minnesota Congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is destroying the left's definition of feminism. The modern feminist movement’s evolution into nothing more than liberal activist organizations is being exposed by the lack of enthusiasm for Bachmann's success. As Post blogger Jennifer Rubin recently noted, the congresswoman "may be the first GOP woman to ever win a caucus or a primary." It is not shocking that Democrat-leaning, mostly pro-abortion rights "feminist" leaders do no agree with Bachmann’s political philosophy. Yet, why are liberal feminists not in the least bit satisfied that a woman can be a serious contender in the Republican presidential race?
It is simple. Bachmann 2012 hurts their cause. Attorneys know that bad facts make bad law. Factually, Bachmann is highly educated former tax attorney, a successful politician, and tough as nails (she says she has a "titanium spine" ). But, she also happens to be an ardently pro-life, evangelical, conservative, tea party-leaning, mother of five (foster mom to 23) who demonstrates that you can be a successful woman in politics without being a moderate or a liberal.
Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison gave a speech this month to a liberal student organization and had the audacity to claim that, "These same people who want to shrink government until you can drown it in a bathtub also want mom to get back in the kitchen and take her shoes off and get pregnant. They're offended by strong, powerful women. Here’s the sad part: some of them are women themselves – Michele Bachmann could be an example."
Maybe Mr. Ellison should spend more time lecturing his fellow Muslims about women's rights and give up the partisan attack on a "strong, powerful" woman. Honestly, this kind of rhetoric is helping conservatives. Plenty of women see motherhood as a full-time job and are proud about taking an active role in their children's development. Furthermore, motherhood is no longer a barrier to a career, as evidenced by Bachmann.
Today, evangelical women are toggling between modern and traditional gender roles. Bachmann is proof that you can blend both without sacrificing one or the other.
To make matters worse for the liberal feminist groups, Bachmann is not trying to make her campaign into a referendum on women's liberation.
As her spokesman recently told the Washington Post, "Congresswoman Bachmann doesn't make it about gender or herself. The election is about the need for a constitutional conservative in the White House. The best candidate happens to be a woman."
Two of the most prominent conservatives in America happen to be evangelical woman and that seriously irks the "nation's largest feminist organization," the National Organization for Women, because they have to choose when to defend these women from gender-based character assaults. Many of these groups buy into the narrative that Bachmann and Palin are an identical phenomenon, a view that is degrading to all women.
Bachmann is ruffling the feathers of the old guard of the religious right, too, but in a very different way. Although some national social conservative leaders may not be as comfortable with a President Bachmann as they are with a President Perry, they will defend her from the vicious attacks on her faith, ideology, and competency to lead. She, like Governor Perry, is one of us and her success is a direct reflection of our ability to continue growing as a movement.
Congresswoman Bachmann is shattering stereotypes and that is a good thing for the religious right as we continue reaching out to younger Americans and exposing liberal hypocrisy.
This article is crossposted at Jordan's "Religious Right Now" blog on the Washington Post. Please keep the conversation going by registering to comment on the Washington Post site to engage this debate about the future of the the conservative movement.