The controversy surrounding the clinic owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, is getting more personal, and conservatives don’t seem to be doing much about it. On his show on Wednesday, Jon Stewart not only mocked Bachmann and her husband for their views on homosexuality, he also suggested that Marcus himself might be repressing his true sexual orientation, something that Jon Stewart deduced from Marcus’s dancing skills vocal intonations:
It’s not only Stewart, Gawker has a round up of celebrities who are questioning Marcus’s orientation. The Second City have released a comedic video showing the strain this puts on the Bachmann’s married life, and one LGBT blogger even suggested that Marcus would be “a fine First Lady if nothing else.”
Despite the damage this could do to Bachmann, conservatives are avoiding the meme and are not attacking liberals or Jon Stewart. The right will defend Bachmann taking money from Medicaid and argue that her old Church calling the Pope the Anti-Christ is not a controversy, but there has been a curious radio silence from the right on the questions about Marcus’s orientation.
Since a discussion about Marcus’s treatment in the media on this issue seems largely absent from the conservative blogosphere, he has had to fend for himself in interviews about his clinic. At the time of this posting, FrumForum was only able to find one blog post at The Blaze which raised concerns over the “The mean-spirited commentary” which this meme was developing. The only other sites which are discussing this and wondering if it might be crossing a line are Slate and Outside the Beltway.
That lack of conservative damage control is strange because this line of questioning could do a lot of damage to Bachmann’s campaign. It’s one thing to have a husband who runs a clinic that “treats” homosexuality. It raises the stakes to suggest that he is running the clinic as a way of dealing with his own repressed urges.
It adds to the impression that social conservatives are homophobic because of their inability to admit their own sexuality.
The silence about Marcus is especially surprising since the conservative movement attacked Jon Stewart for many lesser offenses in the past, (see, Andrew Klavan calling Stewart a bully, or one Breitbart’s bloggers calling Stewart “a left wing hatchet man disguised as a satirist”)
The conservative movement might be choosing to ignore the issue because they think there is no good way to spin this: they had pinned their hopes on Bachmann being able to overcome any social conservative baggage she may have and win the Republicans nomination with her fiscal conservative Tea Party credentials. Now it seems that her husband’s activities look set to drag her back into the religious culture war territory that conservatives would prefer not to campaign on.
While I agree with fellow FrumForum contributor Ron Hill that “reparative” therapy is harmful and that there are serious ethical questions that Marcus Bachmann must answer, the silence of the conservative movement suggests a lack of imagination of ways they can defend Bachmann’s campaign.
Why not say that Marcus might have once been gay but now has put those urges under control through reparative treatment and his clinic is a testament to how he wants others to have the same opportunities he has had? Sure it would appear bizarre to a large segment of the population but perhaps that message would resonate with social conservatives who don’t see what the fuss about Bachmann’s clinic is about. If nothing else, that defense would at least force conservatives who supported Bachmann because of her fiscal issues to wonder exactly what they signed up for when they decided to support her and give her the cover-magazine treatment on both National Review and the Weekly Standard.