Meet The Woman Rep. Bachmann 'Hopes To Be Someday'

September 12, 2011 9:53 am ET

GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) recently praised anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly as her "lifeline to what was happening in the world" when she was "a young bride and a young mother." Calling the woman who says paper diapers did more for women than feminism "the mother of the modern conservative movement," Bachmann insisted Schlafly is "there on every issue, on every front." Schlafly's major claim to fame is her role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment; today she warns against encroaching socialism as a result of President Obama's policies. A closer look at the woman Bachmann calls "my dear mentor and the person that I hope to be some day" reveals the type of president Bachmann intends to be.

Bachmann: Schlafly Is "The Person That I Hope To Be Someday"

Bachmann Praised Schlafly As "Our Hero, Our Heroine, Our Stalwart." During a July 2011 "Tea Party Cyber-Town Hall and Webcast," Bachmann said:

If I could just say a couple of words about Phyllis Schlafly, she is my heroine and my example as a forerunner. As a young bride and a young mother, I read faithfully "The Phyllis Schlafly Report;" she was my lifeline to what was happening in the world.

She truly is the mother of the modern conservative movement ... I think she is the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years.

Whatever Phyllis Schlafly says, it's important that we listen because she's there on every issue, on every front. She is our hero, our heroine, our stalwart and I absolutely adore her. So God bless you, my dear mentor and the person that I hope to be some day. So thank you very much, Phyllis. ["Tea Party Cyber-Town Hall and Webcast," 7/13/11, via Right Wing Watch]

Schlafly's Anti-Equal Rights Amendment Crusade

"Single-Handedly Defeating The Equal Rights Amendment" Is Schlafly's Greatest Political Achievement. From a 2009 interview with Schlafly in Time:

[Question] You're credited with single-handedly defeating the Equal Rights Amendment. Is that your greatest achievement?

[Answer] In the political field, yes. [Time, 4/7/09]

Schlafly: The Equal Rights Amendment Did Not Reasonably "Respect Differences" Between Men And Women. In a 2007 op-ed titled "'Equal rights' for women: wrong then, wrong now," Schlafly wrote: "In 1971, the women's liberation movement burst on the scene and became the darling of the media. Its leaders demanded a gender-neutral society in which men and women would be treated exactly the same, no matter how reasonable it might be to respect differences between them. The amendment, which states that 'equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,' was the chosen vehicle to achieve this goal." [Los Angeles Times, 4/8/07]

Schlafly: Equal Rights Amendment Would Eliminate Men's "Sole Obligation" Of Financial Support. In an interview with NPR, Schlafly said: "Since the women are the ones who bear the babies and there's nothing we can do about that, our laws and customs then make it the financial obligation of the husband to provide the support. It is his obligation and his sole obligation. And this is exactly and precisely what we will lose if the Equal Rights Amendment is passed." [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly: "If The Equal Rights Amendment Had Passed, We Would Have Had Same-Sex Marriage 25 Years Ago." From a 2009 interview with Schlafly in Time:

[Question] What would have happened, do you suppose, if the amendment had passed? What would we be living with now?

[Answer] It would have given vast new powers to the federal courts because the Equal Rights Amendment did not define the operative words, which were sex and equality. So what does sex mean? Is it the sex you are, or the sex you do? What does equality mean? Does it mean equality of individual people like the Fourteenth Amendment, or does it mean the equality of a group? In America we really don't believe in group rights. I think it's pretty clear that if the Equal Rights Amendment had passed, we would have had same-sex marriage 25 years ago. [Time, 4/7/09]

Schlafly Decries Feminism

Schlafly: Feminists "Have Given Us Divorce, Millions Of Fatherless Children...Idealization Of Single Motherhood." In a 2009 interview with Time, Schlafly said: "[Feminists] have given us divorce, millions of fatherless children and the idea that it's O.K. to be a single mom. I'm not talking about women who lose a husband for one reason or another. We're talking about the idealization of a single mom." [Time, 4/7/09]

Schlafly: The Feminist Movement Is About "Treating Women As Victims." In a 2009 interview with Time, Schlafly said: "The feminist movement is not about success for women. It is about treating women as victims and about telling women that you can't succeed because society is unfair to you, and I think that's a very unfortunate idea to put in the minds of young women because I believe women can do whatever they want." [Time, 4/7/09]

Schlafly: Feminists Are "A Bunch Of Bitter Women Seeking A Constitutional Cure For Their Personal Problems." From a 1978 profile of Schlafly in Time: "Flying from state capital to state capital, the savvy, disarming Schlafly matches the feminists' rhetoric phrase for phrase. She bluntly proclaims that 'all sensible people are against ERA,' and dismisses the liberationists as 'a bunch of bitter women seeking a constitutional cure for their personal problems.'" [Time, 7/3/78]

Schlafly: Paper Diapers, Men, And Technology Have "Made The Home Such A Pleasant Place For Women To Be." In an interview with NPR, Schlafly said: "I would say, don't be taken in by feminism. Just remember American women are so fortunate. When I got married, all I wanted in the world was a dryer so I didn't have to hang up my diapers. And now women have paper diapers and all sorts of conveniences in the home. And it is the men and the technology that has made the home such a pleasant place for women to be. So I hope they will use that pleasant place to raise their children." [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly: Feminists Are "Always Crying" And "In A Fight With Human Nature." In an interview with NPR, Schlafly said: "A lot of people don't understand what feminism is. They think it is about advance and success for women, but it's not that at all. It is about power for the female left. And they have this, I think, ridiculous idea that American women are oppressed by the patriarchy and we need laws and government to solve our problems for us. They have made their close alliance with the Obama administration. And they're always crying around about things like the differences between men and women are just a social construct. So they're really in a fight with human nature." [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly: Feminists Are "Anti-Men," Elementary Schools Are "Very Unfair To Little Boys," And Colleges Are Trying To "Ban Boys' Sports." In an interview with NPR, Schlafly said: "I think the feminists are anti-men and anti-masculine. I think it starts in grade school. I have illustrations in the book of how elementary school is frequently very unfair to little boys, such as building new schools without recess or playgrounds. Boys are different from girls and they need to run around and work off some of that energy so they can come in and sit down and learn something. Then the way the feminists have tried to ban boys' sports in college. They have made the colleges ban 450 wrestling teams." [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly: "Radical Feminists In The Education Department" Have "Chased So Many Men Out Of College." From an NPR interview with Schlafly:

MARTIN: Why do you blame feminists for the decline in some of these college sports? Because there are number of people would argue that it's really the expense of a few sports deprive others, like swimming, for example. You know, you have to have a physical plant, you have to have a pool, you have to have insurance. Why do you think it's feminists?

Ms. SCHLAFLY: Well, I reject that notion. It's feminism because it is the radical feminists in the education department, first in the Carter administration and then in the Clinton administration, who've been dogging the life out of the colleges to cut the men's sports and do a bean counting operation to make sure just as many women as men are on sports teams, and in fact, they want it to be proportional, so that now we know they've chased so many men out of college - colleges are now 60/40 female to male - so they want 60 percent of the sports teams and scholarships to be female and that is absolutely ridiculous and unfair. [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly Blames Progressives For The Deterioration Of Male Relevance

Schlafly: Liberals Made The Father And Husband "Irrelevant." In a 2009 interview with Time, Schlafly said: "I believe that the worst thing the liberals did in this country was the Lyndon Johnson welfare system, which broke up millions of marriages by funneling taxpayers' money solely to the woman. That made the father and husband irrelevant." [Time, 4/7/09]

Schlafly: Liberals' "Lavish Welfare...Made The Father Irrelevant." From an NPR interview with Schlafly:

MARTIN: I'm just curious why you think that is. In 1959, for example, African Americans were more likely to be married than whites were, but now it's the reverse and I'm just wondering if you have an opinion about that.

Ms. SCHLAFLY: Yes. And you realize it's not poverty that's caused that, because all during the Great Depression the black family was intact and together and they didn't have these handouts. I think when Lyndon Johnson instituted lavish welfare, they gave the money only to the woman and that made the father irrelevant. He lacked his role, his duty as a provider so he took off. And that is just simply so unfortunate. The illegitimacy rate is now getting very large even across the board, among the white people. And it's too bad because we know that most of the social ills come out of mother-headed households. So if you're asking me for the cause, it doesn't really have anything to do with race. It has to do with the financial subsidies that were given to women making the father provider irrelevant. [NPR, 3/30/11]

Schlafly's Warns President Obama's Policies Will Make Men "Irrelevant," And Cause "Socialism"

Schlafly: "The Next Cause Is To Keep Obama From Taking This Country Into Socialism." From a 2009 Time interview with Schlafly:

[Question] So what's the next cause?

[Answer] Well, I guess the next cause is to keep Obama from taking this country into socialism - which means the government running everything, which means having everybody believe that the government can solve their problems. And of course I grew up during the Depression. We didn't have any of the handouts and we grew up to be the greatest generation. [Time, 4/7/09, emphasis original]

Schlafly: The Obama Administration Is Committed To Sex-Based Affirmative Action That Makes Men Irrelevant. In a column on September 7, 2011, Schlafly wrote: "The Obama Administration is committed to finding jobs for women, not men, a goal that is steadily pursued by sex-based affirmative action, grants to feminist organizations and for feminist projects, and means-tested welfare that subsidizes non-marriage and makes husbands and fathers irrelevant. The U.S. now has 41 percent illegitimacy, which means taxpayers rather than husbands are supporting the kids." [Eagle Forum, 9/7/11]

Schlafly's Stay-At-Home Hypocrisy

Time: Schlafly Is "Hardly A Typical Housewife." From a 1978 profile of Schlafly in Time:

In many of her speeches, she continues to insist that "women find their greatest fulfillment at home with their family."

Schlafly, however, is hardly a typical housewife. Author of nine books, a three-time candidate for the U.S. Congress, full-time law student at Washington University in St. Louis, editor of a monthly newsletter, twice-a-week syndicated newspaper columnist and regular speaker at anti-ERA rallies, she acts very much like a liberated woman. By her own reckoning, she is away from her family at least once a week. She employs a full-time housekeeper to care for her six-bedroom Tudor-style mansion overlooking the Mississippi River in Alton, 111. [Time, 7/3/1978]

Schlafly Justifies Career With Stay-At-Home Dogma: "My Husband Lets Me Do What I Want to Do." From a 1978 profile of Schlafly in Time: "How does Schlafly reconcile her career with her stay-at-home dogma? 'My husband lets me do what I want to do,' she says. 'I have canceled speeches whenever my husband thought that I had been away from home too much.' Besides, she adds, 'when I fill out applications, I put down 'mother' as my occupation.' She boasts that she breast-fed every one of her six children and later taught each of them how to read. Says she: 'I work all the time. I'm organized. I've learned to budget every minute.'" [Time, 7/3/78]

Schlafly "Did Not Consider Her Political Work A Career, But Rather 'A Hobby.'" According to a New York Times profile of Schlafly:

At the time, though, she did not consider her political work a career, but rather "a hobby," as she put it. She cared for her children without the assistance of a nanny, but employed a housekeeper 40 hours a week. She breast-fed each child for six months, and home-schooled her four sons and two daughters through age 7.

"I was never gone overnight," she said. "I'd drive out to give a speech, and sometimes I'd bring a nursing baby with me. There was always someone outside willing to take care of a baby rather than listen to a long lecture." [New York Times, 3/30/06]

Schlafly: Providing "Care In The Early Life" Of Her Children Excuses Her From Hypocrisy. From an NPR interview with Schlafly:

MARTIN: Many look at your career and they say I just want what you had, which is you had a very rich, you still have, very rich public life and you had a family, and so what's so terrible?

Ms. SCHLAFLY: Well, I've had a very full and very happy life. But in the common parlance, I am a sequential woman. I did it at different times in my life. When I had a baby, I didn't leave the second floor for six months. I nursed my babies. I was a full-time homemaker. I taught them all how to read before I let them go to school. So I gave them that care in the early life that somehow feminists have been led to believe is demeaning and is not worth the time of an educated woman. [NPR, 3/30/11]

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