Santorum staffer: a female president would harm children’s lives

I saw this story on Think Progress and I visited the original article from the Des Moines Register, which referenced the staffer’s beliefs in a rundown on nine reasons why Michele Bachmann’s campaign imploded. Sexism among conservatives was listed as number 5:

Rival presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director, Jamie Johnson, sent out an email saying that children’s lives would be harmed if the nation had a female president. He wrote it in June, but it surfaced on the campaign trail in the fall.

The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’ ” Johnson’s email said.

Johnson said the email was meant to be a private message to a friend, that he sent it from his personal email account, not his campaign account, and that he hadn’t intended it to be read by anyone else. Did Iowa’s Christian conservatives hamper Bachmann’s campaign? Such accusations are counterbalanced by Iowans’ willingness to give her the straw poll crown, the first woman in history to claim that throne.

But in the final weeks of the campaign, as Bachmann’s poll numbers hovered in single digits, her national aides and evangelical organization team privately complained that sexism coursed through Iowa’s religious conservative community, even as the aides publicly rebuffed questions on the topic.

We did believe that sexism — I use the stronger word misogyny — was at play,” said Peter Waldron, Bachmann’s faith outreach coordinator.

Three influential pastors called for her to bow out of the race, and numerous others said “that a female could not be a civil magistrate,” said Waldron, who lives in Florida and has worked six presidential campaigns dating to Ronald Reagan’s in 1980. (SOURCE)

The Des Moines register did note the email was sent in June, but it wasn’t discovered until the fall.

One can’t be surprised at how much of a role sexism played in Bachmann’s campaign. It’s no secret that women, no matter which part of the political spectrum or political party they identify with, have all faced the question of whether their gender will somehow prevent them from making irrational decisions. They’ve all had to contend with their uteri, ovaries, breasts, cervices and vaginas will somehow transmit harmful hormones to our brains, thus limiting our ability to think and comprehend those big, scary, complicated issues only male presidential candidates are fit to deal with.

However, I wonder if the Bachmann campaign knew about the email and, if so, why did they neglect to bring the topic up for discussion? If these staffers and Bachmann were serious in their presidential bid, they could have used the email as an opportunity to possibly court male and female voters on the fence who were lukewarm to Bachmann’s campaign.

But, I guess it’s easier said than done to convince members of the good ol’ boys club that one’s gender doesn’t equate to having less of an ability to be an effective president. I guess it’s also easier for conservative female politicians to discuss sexism, misogyny and gender discrimination as some abstract concept rather than joining other women in the trenches and advocating for the destruction of these all-to-realistic and often violent ideologies.

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