Posted on July 19, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 56 Comments
E-mail from folks asking if I have anything to say about the report that Michelle Bachmann suffers from migraines so painful she needs medication for them. Sure, I have something to say: Migraines really suck, and if Ms. Bachmann does indeed suffer from them, I’m sorry for her that she does. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.
As for whether they should somehow keep her from the presidency: I don’t think so. I think her apparent general ignorance and horrible political stances should keep her from the presidency. Her migraines aren’t even on my radar. That’s pretty much where I am on that.
Yeah, complete unsuitability for the position does kinda trump migraines.
Well said–er, writ.
I recall in the last presidential campaign that at one point there was concern that Obama was “too black,” and at another point that he was “not black enough.” I had a similar reaction to the “issue” of his race; I was much more interested in what he believes in and what he will do.
She’s a very, uh, interesting candidate, but like Mom always said, “Never give a nuclear arsenal to a crazy person.”
I agree. Remember, she has the cavalier attitude in politics that John Wayne had, because they are from the same town. No not that one, the serial killer. The one that raped boys and buried them under his house.
Also, our founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. /facepalm
Remember that this person said when Obama takes the presidency all our children would go to ‘education camps’ to brainwash them from the truth. Yet she clearly hasn’t opened a history book.
If she suffers from migraines, it is because something deep inside her cortex is punching the prison walls of ignorance in hope that a sane and rational statement might be formed.
All srs bzns, her migraines are a minor concern.
I believe the migraines are caused by nature’s continued attempts to rush in and fill the vacuum. Abhors, etc.
My kingdom for media who won’t get into a candidate’s family, chronic health problems or childhood. I don’t agree with Rep. Bachmann’s politics at all, and generally don’t want her elected on a local school board, let alone as part of the national government. Hell, I don’t think she’s qualified for either job, besides the basic ‘well, she was elected by a majority of her voting constituents’. But, since I’m not her nor her doctor, I honestly think her migraines are none of my business and that I’m not in a position to judge if they are debilitating enough to affect her job.
Ah, the election season…when people’s crazy hatred of the other side makes them hungry for reasons to hate candidates MOAR.
As a migraine sufferer, thank you. I’ve been disappointed to see people jumping on this, when there are so many more important reasons she shouldn’t be President.
Damn you jonh! As a migraine sufferer I now have a measure of sympathy for her. That I didn;t need. The MIgraine is a non-issue her bat crazy lacking of intelligence is an issue.
I think a president with migraines is a plus – kind of a deterrent. You f*ck with the USA on the president’s migraine day and she’ll be taking it out on you. Better play nice.
Well said. There’s a certain mentality, exhibited by people of all ideological stripes, that if you don’t like a politician, every possible criticism against them must be employed, including petty and ridiculous ones. That kind of thinking should be resisted.
“My kingdom for media who won’t get into a candidate’s family, chronic health problems or childhood. ”
a candidates health issues goes directly to their ability to do the job.
Reagan’s early Alzheimer’s clearly affect his ability to lead. His contra testimony alone, that he had no recollection of things that had happened in the recent past, was proof that he was already unfit for the job.
suffering debilitating migraines on a daily basis? well, they would be a problem for a job which requires you to be on call 24×7. sorry, but we need someone healthy.
brains, brains would help too.
It’s one l and two n’s.
Don’t worry. Even her own campaign staff would occasionally get it wrong.
#9 & #13: The allegations were leaked from Bachmann’s own staff to The Daily Caller, which is a website with a noticeable (and admitted) tilt to the right, so you can’t really blame this one on dem crazy librul agitators.
Also, this was a non-story, as it should be. The problem is how she responded. This is the kind of stupid BS every candidate has to go through, and even worse, she’s guilty of being on the other side of it more than almost any other candidate for president (see also: re-education camps, Obama is un-American, etc). And almost as if she wanted this to spin out of control, after she refused to answer a question about it from a ABC News correspondent, her staff thought it was an excellent idea to throw him on the ground while cameras were running.
#12: Right, because overblown agression from our presidents has worked out so well in the past. /rolleyes
Considering the clear line of succession I would have no problem voting for a presidential candidate who is may be temporarily disabled That is part of what the office of the vice president is for. That being said I’m definately voting against all of the candidate from my state
I can’t believe people are wasting their own and your time on something like this. Bachmann’s got so many important flaws to attack; her health issues aren’t be one of them.
::gah:: …”aren’t one of them.”
Migraines are indeed awful, and no-one deserves them. But it’s not like she’d be an absolute ruler – doesn’t the veep step in if the President is incapacitated? At any rate, it’s not a reason to exclude her. The fact that she’s nuttier than a fruit cake, and her strings are being pulled by people who are similarly doo-lally; that there is a reason to see that she isn’t ever elected to any official position. Although, I have to admit, seeing her campaign would be a laugh-riot, judging from what we’ve seen so far. From over here in Australia. Not so funny up close, maybe.
The fact that she may have migraines is not something I’ll consider. The fact that she gives me migraines disqualifies her ass.
You’re really equating severe migraine headaches which are (I assume) being successfully managed with medication to dementia? M’kay…
25th Amendment, all the president has to do is say “I can’t do my job right now” & the VP is Acting Prez till the president says “I can do my job again.” They do it every time the president has surgery. After the Haig confusion during the Hinckley attempted assassination, the Reagan people got careful about handoffs and handbacks to avoid more embarrassment (looking like a coup d’etat is embarrassing), and everybody since has copied their procedures.
Unfortunately if Michele Bachmann handed off power (most likely they’d give her a pre-signed document she could just hand to any of the staff around her), she’d eventually recover from the migraine and be president again. Conceivably this could mean Bachmann becoming president 10 or more times in one year. How much can one nation take?
So, was FDR the exception to the rule?
Then again, in today’s media, FDR wouldn’t make it out of the primaries.
In my admittedly limited data sample, the vast majority of the people who realize that she’d make a horrible president also think the migraines are a non-issue … and most of the people who think she’d make a great president are fiercely critical of *all* of her opponents for *all* making a big deal of it.
Andrew @ 25:
In today’s Democratic Party, FDR wouldn’t make it *into* the primaries.
“I don’t think so. I think her apparent general ignorance and horrible political stances should keep her from the presidency.”
This. Right here.
I dunno…There are lots of reasons she should I think she shouldn’t be president, so I agree with you there. But even if she meshed with my politics 100% and I thought she’d be a great leader, the idea of a President who has “incapacitating” migraines as a response to stress seems like a really bad idea.
If true, I think this is a really important issue regardless of how you’d feel about a President Bachmann.
Am I the only person who is really thankful Bachmann wasn’t suffering from severe dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia — ’cause that might have turned the discussion to face the strange.
Is this like the grown-up version of “Women can’t be president because what happens when they have PMS?” Oh, no! She has migraines (probably tied to her hormones). We certainly can’t trust her with the button!
I feel like this is a situation where her camp has leaked the info so the resulting media attention can be construed as being bullying and sexist toward her. Clever, and sadly, probably accurate.
I think the fact that she blames the migraines on high heels is the real issue here. If my migraines (which I do have) were caused by high heels, I’d be thrilled, b/c I could just stop wearing them and not have any more migraines.
Jesse@16: I didn’t mean to blame this on “dem crazy librul agitators.” I’m a solidly liberal guy myself. My point is that we (people on the left) don’t need to join in on this migraine thing.
How is this even under discussion? I mean, really?
If we were to assume this is the Bizarro world and Bachmann were actually qualified to be president on the normal factors, what would be the ramifications of migraines? Presumably a sane, thinking person would be able to evaluate their own ability to function with their condition. Being president is one of the more stressful jobs on the planet, and presumably a sane person with stress-induced migraines would take that into consideration before applying for the job. If Bizarro Bachmann, sane and levelheaded paragon of political virtue, decided it was something she could deal with, that would be her business.
Nathan @ #21. Me too.
Democrats should talk Bachman up and vote for her in open primaries. She is a much easier competitor than many of the other republicans running.
on the flip side, if he headaches incapacitate her that much, it does disqualify her. If she can’t function, she can’t be president. I would say that about any candidate. That includes Obama, bush, clinton, etc… It isn’t her fault. I am not blaming her. I would not stop me from hiring a competent person from a normal job. This is the chief executive. You can’t choose when a crises occurs. The chief executives schedule is so book, it takes a team to organize it.
I agree with Scalzi’s point, but wanted to, as a migraine sufferer myself, make a few of my own–they say her migraines are related to stress, but not if they are from the onset of stress or the relief from it–either is possible. I used to get migraines every saturday morning, because it was the first time during the week I was not stressed from work. So this does not necessarily disqualify her from a stressful position. She has held a position as a congresswoman, and that can also be a stressful position.
N. K. Jemisin @18/19, wasting time it may be, but as people are doing so (on the left AND the right) this being an issue is damaging to all migraineurs, painting us as delicate/useless drug seekers. So I’d rather more people like John speak up to the ridiculousness of the issue.
@37 – Democrats should talk Bachman up and vote for her in open primaries. She is a much easier competitor than many of the other republicans running.
If the economy is doing badly then Obama is going to have an uphill battle whoever is running.
CLP @ 34:
As far as I can tell, most of the Left *isn’t* joining in on it. In my still limited data sample, there are more people critical of the Dems and/or the Left for supposedly jumping on it than there are people who actually *are* jumping on it. As far as I can tell, John’s reaction is actually the most common one.
(Oh, and FWIW there seems to be general speculation that this information was put out there by the Pawlenty campaign.)
I have mixed emotions about the migraine issue. I suffered with them for decades, until the cause was discovered, and my mother still gets them frequently, because she won’t make the necessary dietary & lifestyle changes.
Bachmann’s job and schedule are such that she probably wouldn’t have been elected to a national office in the first place, if she took significant, long-term preventative measures–imagine a candidate that can’t have a burger and a coke at a stump stop, or who admitted to being unable to eat wheat or dairy or meat, or has to get 8-9 uninterrupted Z’s every night: it’s a total non-starter. So I have some sympathy for her, despite believing that she’s bat-shit crazy. Also, I have sympathy in re her meds, because DUDE, the meds for chronic migraines SUCK. Some common prescriptions are known hallucinogens, while others actually worsen chronic conditions over time, cause organ damage, etc.
On the other hand, if she really does have weekly episodes that can incapacitate her for days, that’s a problem for a position as demanding as the presidency. It could disqualify her from being an astronaut, fighter pilot, long-haul truck driver, or air-traffic controller, so why shouldn’t the public be allowed to decide that her condition disqualifies her for the role of Commander in Chief?
Both age and health have been public issues for candidates since John Adams, who suffered recurring episodes of severe, stress-related illness, at least one of which led to a 5-day coma; severe tremors; boils; also, he was nearly blind by the end of his presidency. Adams was frequently and publicly criticized for abdicating his governing responsibilities for months at a time to deal with his health issues.
IMO, anyone who chooses a life in the public eye should expect intense scrutiny and be prepared to respond appropriately, whether she is J-Lo or M-Bach. If the coverage begins to read as misogynist–i.e. she’s a hysterical, hormone-bedeviled, flower of fragile femininity, who should get back in the kitchen before her ovaries fall out–I will get pissed. Until then, M-Bach’s migraines are as pertinent to her candidacy as any other aspect of her life, and as subject to commentary, criticism, and trolling.
Also, I think that if her condition is as severe as described in the linked article, then Bachmann won’t make it through the campaign season. This isn’t 1797: a candidate that disappears for days at a time, cancels events, slurs her words, and/or can’t deal with bright lights, stress, loud noises, and bad press will get kicked to the curb in short order. A presidential campaign is at least 50 times more complex and stressful than a congressional run, or so those who’ve experienced both (Obama, H. Clinton, McCain) have reported, and I believe them. The logistics alone are enough to give me a sympathetic twinge or two.
Diana Peterfreund @#32:
Is this like the grown-up version of “Women can’t be president because what happens when they have PMS?”
Sadly, some of the comments I’ve read on line are precisely that – and, depressingly, often on self-professed liberal/progressive sites that would never (nor should they) tolerate sexist and demeaning comments directed at Hillary Clinton or Nancy Perlosi. As a feminist friend of mine puts it: There’s nothing “progressive” about being a Rush Limbaugh clone.
on the flip side, if he headaches incapacitate her that much, it does disqualify her. If she can’t function, she can’t be president. I would say that about any candidate. That includes Obama, bush, clinton, etc…
Well, since the United States has a secret ballot we will never know how many people decided at the last election that McCain’s age or Obama’s cigarette habit (and admitted historical cocaine & marijuana use) disqualified them from the Presidency. Hey, using your logic both men were (and are) statistically in high risk groups for heart attacks, stroke and various cancers. Do you really want to take that risk?
Constance @ #41:
It could disqualify her from being an astronaut, fighter pilot, long-haul truck driver, or air-traffic controller,
I call false equation bingo on that – you’re citing jobs where there are legitimate health and safety concerns. For that matter, I wouldn’t be qualified for any of the above jobs. Not because I have severe migraines that are treatable with medication but because I’m legally blind without corrective lenses.
so why shouldn’t the public be allowed to decide that her condition disqualifies her for the role of Commander in Chief?
And now you’re just being silly. As I said, as long as the United States has a secret ballot people can vote for whoever they like using whatever combination of factors they like — even if I think they’re utter bullshit.
If GOP primary voters think this is a deal-breaker for Bachman that’s their call. If she wins the nomination, then the general electorate get to make their call. Just as the folks who are on the Birther/Secret Muslim crack get to pass their judgement on the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Even people I think are blthering idiots get to vote, and that’s a good thing.
Bearpaw@34: That’s my impression, too. It seems to be a part of an internecine conflict within the GOP. I’ll be happy if it stays that way.
Guess@37: Elections are unpredictable. We have no idea what unforeseen developments might torpedo the Obama campaign. Helping an unqualified person be nominated by the GOP is a bit reckless.
Besides, I believe Americans always deserve (at least) two viable good options in an election. It’s not fair for anyone to deprive them of this choice by deliberately sabotaging primaries.
Craig@44 Now that you bring it up, who was the last president who openly wore glasses on a regular basis? Harry S Truman?
Laura Roslin. :)
I have multiple migraines a week. They’re debilitating. I don’t even wish them on the likes of Michele Bachmann.
Saying she gets headaches because nature abhors a vacuum is like saying that if a person’s in a wheelchair, it’s because of karma. In short, it’s ableist, and insults not the person, but everyone with that disability.
Michele Bachmann is clearly not very bright, or very well-spoken, or very likely to make a good president. None of those have anything to do with her having a disability.
Meh. I’d want to know, not having migraines, how debilitating her attacks are and what kind of medication she takes and what the side effects are for her. If they’re minor (as I suspect they are), all well and good. A non-answer is not acceptable.
Treatment of the reporter is also not acceptable. Period.
I have severe, chronic migraines. While there are some drugs you can take for migraines that affect mental functioning, no one is forced to take them. Many people with jobs requiring intellectual ability refuse these medications. It means you get more migraines, which sucks because they are extremely painful, but the headache itself does not adversely affect brain function. I write perfectly good C++ code while in the throes of a migraine. I would never in a million years vote for Bachmann, but this is no legitimate reason to prevent her from running.
CLP @45, Besides, I believe Americans always deserve (at least) two viable good options in an election. It’s not fair for anyone to deprive them of this choice by deliberately sabotaging primaries.
Someone needs to tell that to the Republicans in Wisconsin, who’ve been caught red-handed running fake candidates in recent, Democratic primaries (for upcoming recall elections).
As to the matter at hand, Bachmann’s health issues don’t disqualify her. What does is the fact that she’s a loon of the first water…
And here was me thinking that it was just the side effects of a crude attempt at implementing the plot of Interface for real ;D
It bothers me a lot more that she says that her husband makes all her important decisions because he’s the ruler of the family the way God says he’s supposed to be. (e.g she said in 2006 “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands.”) So if we elect her, then he’s really the President? Or what? How does that work?
Clearly, it is possible for people to have illnesses that make it impossible for them to do the job of President of the USA. To think otherwise is to be just as bat-shit crazy as Bachmann herself is. I could see how untreated, daily, horrible (are there any other kind?), persistent migraines could possibly fall into that category. I would think it’s EXTREMELY unlikely that Bachmann’s migraines are of such a severity, or else that fact would have already manifested itself. In any case, the stress, hours, etc. of just running a serious campaign for the presidency should answer the question. So yeah, being bat-shit crazy probably ranks well ahead of having migraines…..
Well said. She’s a psycho hose beast, and makes Minnesotans look bad. I can’t believe she has supporters. At least the gay activists got their attack in at her ‘pray them straight’ organization.
As someone who has dealt with debilitating migraines (at one point I was getting them 5 days a week) and still gets hormonally induced migraines… I can’t help but feel for her. I can’t stand her as a person nor as a political figure, but I wouldn’t wish that hell on my worst freaking enemy.
Also the pills used for migraine prevention are usually not narcotic (narcotics don’t tend to work very well for migraines), and would not impede functionality. Now, her opinions and actions, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. The idea that she’s not suited for candidacy because of a treatable health issue is just pure ableism, and not cool at all.