Bachmann: Anti-Gay Bullying “Not A Federal Issue” — What About Her Own Congressional District

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2011

Bachmann in Costa Mesa: "Don't bother me. I'm running for President."

CBS News reports that while on the campaign trail in Costa Mesa, California, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann quickly dismissed anti-gay bullying as an important issue yesterday:

Alex Limon says he came to a Michele Bachmann rally here for one reason: To ask the Republican presidential candidate what she intends to do about school bullying in her district that reportedly targets gays.

He got to ask his question, but he didn’t get a lengthy answer.

“That’s not a federal issue,” Bachmann said, before moving on to the shake the hand of the next person waiting to speak to her.

Tammy Aaberg, mother of the Justin Aaberg who hanged himself after the Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota school district failed to intervene against persistent anti-gay bullying, met for an hour Thursday with Bachmann’s congressional staffer to talk about problems with anti-gay bullying in Bachmann’s district. The staffer promised to take Aaberg’s concerns to the congresswoman, and Aaberg expressed hope that Bachmann would “come up with a positive response for the country.” I think we now have an answer for her.


September 17th, 2011

When I see Bachmann avoiding the issue by claiming that bullying in schools is not a federal issue, my instinctive reaction is to view the excuse she uses as somewhat irrelevant: any good political representative should take an active interest in problems within his/her constituency.

Admittedly this may just be due to my British perspective – in the UK, we judge our MPs based not only on how effectively they represent us in Parliament, but also on how active they are in relation to local issues outside their remit as a national-level politician.

Nevertheless, for a national-level political representative to be so dismissive of a social problem of this magnitude within their district – one so serious that people are dying – should raise alarm bells irrespective of your political persuasion. For that person to be running for the presidency makes it even more disturbing.


September 18th, 2011

The woman is reprehensible.


September 18th, 2011

Her personal motives and my dislike for her aside, I have to say that she is right: this isn’t a Federal issue.

Priya Lynn

September 18th, 2011

John, it may not be but that’s a damn cheap excuse to avoid adressing the topic. She’s acting like a twelve year old, she knows her true beliefs will make her look bad so she desperately clings to a technicality to pretend she doesn’t have a moral obligation to respond.


September 18th, 2011

How is it not a federal issue? Do you think that anti-gay bullying isn’t a widespread phenomenon in the US?


September 18th, 2011

It’s people like Bachmann who’d have left people like me (disabled) to rot away in institutions.

On that principle ALONE, I feel that I am morally obligated to oppose this … person.


September 18th, 2011

Priya: Agreed. As I said, I do not care for the woman and her attitude about gays is certainly part of the reason why.

Lucrece: So are murder, rape and theft yet in most cases those are state issues and not Federal. Well, unless they take place on Federal property of course. Public schools are run by the states and it is at that level that matters such as bullying should be addressed, not the Feds.

Donny D.

September 18th, 2011

Anti-LGBT bullying is a federal issue if federal officials choose to make it one.

Bachmann claims it isn’t a federal issue partially so she can wrap it in states’ rights rhetoric, but mostly because she’s a hardcore fundamentalist who probably believes that anti-LGBT bullying should flourish because it “discourages homosexuality”.

The Department of Education has its hands in all kinds of things. Anti-LGBT bullying is something it may have a responsibility to address. And indeed, I think it’s done so under Obama, through Kevin Jennings’ office when he was there.

Legally, I don’t see why Congress couldn’t pass and the president sign a law requiring schools to address anti-LGBT bullying.

Donny D.

September 19th, 2011

This article talks about some ways that anti-LGBT bullying is at present “a federal issue”:

I don’t think she’s stupid, but she may be as weird and crazy as some people say. It may be that she just doesn’t think on her feet very well. She already has a reputation for making more off the cuff erroneous statements than other politicians. This one wasn’t a random mental vagarie, though, it clearly has an ideological motivation.

As to responsibility to help one’s constituents, isn’t that referred to as constituent services? There’s nothing wrong with a congressperson intervening appropriately in a state or local matter to help constituents.

But the constituents she is helping here are the bullies, and bigoted parents and school officials.

Donny D.

September 19th, 2011

This is so depressingly typical of what passes for political discourse these days. The conservatives, of course, take the initiative, and spew out some surprising, new false claim about reality. And everyone else reflexively spends time and effort debunking it. The mainstream media treat it seriously, as though there really is some real question or debate.

In a way, though, I’d like to see this debated. I’m sure there are some conservatives that will try to push this as an issue. But it might not be a winning issue for them.


September 19th, 2011

Her platform is “hate the gay away”. Twinkle toes hubby’s is “pray the gay away”. As some stats would have it, they’re both very sick, and very gay.

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