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A woman who knows her limits...or at least has reached them

Michele Bachmann (R.-MN) announced today (May 29) that she will not run for another term in Congress. Lucky us! Has she passed the prom queen baton and chaos creator to Ted Cruz (R.-TX)? Story at Politico.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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This is a good sign that Americans recognize people who blatantly lie to them and is not productive. Bob Dole just came out lambasting Tea Party types for bringing disgrace to the party. Nobody was more political than Dole. McCain has been berating this do nothing group for awhile. Dole knew when to stop the politicking and doing what is best for the country. Rubio and Co. are really damaging basic American values by waging constant opposition without accomplishing anything. Sounds like the American bishops. Tho they seem to know how to renovate Cathedrals for a whopping 187 million. 

Coming soon to Fox News Channel, no doubt.

May I say this?  She looks younger than 57 years old.  I'm sure that is considered a compliment.  And I don't doubt that being photogenic has been an asset in her political career.  But when a woman (or a man) has reached that age, a certain amount of gravitas should be expected in a public servant.  I don't think she projects that, and part of it, I think, is the youthfulness that (in my opinion) she works pretty hard to project.

Here is Google's photo gallery of her.  (I'm trying the Link feature, I hope it works).

Can a woman in her fifties in public life permit herself to have grey hair, or to wear spectacles, or sensible shoes?  Can she let herself be a little dowdy, maybe even frumpy?  Many women that age are grandmothers, and I don't think it detracts from one's public image to be that way.  I don't demand that women in public life be hot.  I do expect public servants to be bright and serious, and to come across as being comfortable in their own skin and with where they are in life.

JP: Your google link worked: an ageless beauty, no doubt about it. Though the shade of lipstick seemed to change from time to time.

Over fifty: feet especially wear out. What did Hillary Clinton wear in her round-the-world trips? I notice Angela Merkel seems to wear oxfords! Good for her. My own mother was a three-inch heel woman into her seventies and her feet were always killing her. Not so good for calf muscles either (shortens them). Forewarned, I took up frumpy shoes early in life. I thought one of the greatest achievements of the women's movement was comparing high heels to Chinese feet binding.

In the 19th century, some women also compared tightly laced corsets (to produce the wasp waist) as analogous to Chinese footbinding -- the wife of the great Methodist missionary, Timothy Richard, was one of them.

I wore heels to give an important talk a week ago, and still have blisters to show for it... it's a sensitive topic!

The real problem with high heels is not the discomfort: good Catholic women can always choose to accept it in a correct spirit of authentic penance. No, the real problem is the reduced mobility. If I am at risk of getting mugged or of missing my train, how will I run?

Take them off! and run for the train! OR take them off, turn around, and attack your pursuer.

One of NYC's more amazing and amusing sights is the four and five inch heels now so fashionable. Teetering seems to be the mode when standing still. Walking seems to involve coming down hard on the heel while tip-toeing forward. Anyone remember signs in Italian museums forbidding high heels--they dug into the wood floors.

"Can a woman in her fifties in public life permit herself to have grey hair, or to wear spectacles, or sensible shoes?"

Ask Barbara Mikulski.  Born 1936.  She has been serving in congress since 1987, or starting at age 51.  She's still the Energizer bunny @ age 76!

I don't ever remember her looking or acting like a Barbie doll.

nobody ever heard of Bachmann until Chris Matthews made fun of her.. her popularity soared. I think he learned his lesson. I hope..

I'll always remember Michele Bachmann as the person who inspired Bill Donohue to analyze perceived anti-Catholicism in a relatively reasonable manner:



I have the distinct feeling that Bachmann is getting out sooner rather than later because both the FEC and the FBI are investigating her political campaign financing.  Seems that Michele was a little loose with all that cash that was thrown at her - she probably thought that it was another "loaves and fishes" miracle from her "Jehovah God."

What is out now is that the Republican party does not want her because she will lose. They dried up her funds which gave a strong signal. In an area which is overwhelmingly Republican. She was behind by two points. 

Nice to see Donohue in a casuistic mode.

Without intending in any way to disparage Michele's unique contributions, I can say with confidence that we will still have an adequate number of prom queens and chaos creators in the next Congress.

How fitting that the woman who told so many whoppers--and even participated in the reading of the Constitution at the opening of the current Congress--bowed out with still another one.  I refer to her statement that presidents can't serve more than eight years.  No, a president can't serve more than TEN years.  John F. Kennedy had less than two years left in his term when he was assassinated.  Lyndon Johnson served out JFK's term, ran for and won a four-year term in 1964, and was gearing up to run for another four-year term in 1968 when he changed his mind.

That decision had nothing to do with term limits.  LBJ dropped out because he realized he couldn't win.

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