The Republican Party’s outreach to women and minorities is continuing full-steam ahead: On Thursday, Representative Michele Bachmann said that Americans “aren’t ready” for a female president. Furthermore, the only reason America ever elected a black president was “because of guilt.” As you may have forgotten, Bachmann’s own presidential run failed spectacularly before the first primary, which is presumably why she’s concluded that Americans aren’t ready for a woman in the Oval Office.
“I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” Bachmann explained. “People don’t hold guilt for a woman.” She added that there isn’t “a pent-up desire” for a female president.
So, to recap: Americans elected Barack Obama to the presidency because they felt guilty, presumably about the country’s disgraceful treatment of black people throughout the last three hundred or so years. (This guilt apparently didn’t manifest until after 1988, which is why Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid wasn’t a success.) But because American women have always been treated fairly, there’s never been any corresponding “guilt for a woman,” as Bachmann artfully phrased it. And that’s why Bachmann — and Hillary Clinton, whom Bachmann was discussing when she made the comments — never became president.
While that’s obviously an airtight explanation, here’s an alternate theory: Clinton’s 2008 campaign failed because it was a poorly-run operation filled with internal conflict and backstabbing, while Bachmann’s failed because she kept saying crazy things, like her suggestion that herpes vaccines cause mental retardation.
Or maybe Bachmann’s right, and it all comes down to guilt. Guess we’ll find out in 2016.