In their apparent effort to ban pornography, GOP presidential frontrunner Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and competitor Rick Santorum simultaneously signed a pledge declaring that African-American children had better family structures under slavery than under President Obama. After furious backlash from the African-American community, the FAMiLY LEADER stripped the “misconstrued” language from the pledge. The language, however, was the first bullet point in the pledge’s preamble when the candidates signed. Failing to explain why he supported such a statement in the first place, Santorum’s campaign simply stated he “believed it was the right thing for the Iowa Family Leader to remove the language.”
But Bachmann apparently has an affinity for slavery references. First intimating that Bachmann somehow missed the slavery passage and signed only the 14-point, gay-bashing, anti-porn vow, Bachmann’s campaign later offered what it apparently thinks is a more appropriate slavery metaphor:
Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart, who confirmed the Minnesota congresswoman signed the pledge, said Sunday “In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believe[s] that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible.”
As Forbes’ Osha Gray Davidson notes, it appears that Bachmann has “reduced the horrors of historical slavery to a talking point on her presidential quest.” Apparently, the slavery analogies are a frequent stop on her political path:
— Health Reform: In a 2009 speech in Colorado, Bachmann railed against health care reform. “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass.” Claiming that many Americans already pay half their income to taxes, she said, “This is slavery…It’s nothing more than slavery.”
— National Debt: In January, Bachmann offered her now infamous take on American colonial history in which she declared that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Bachmann then framed her speech as an argument against the “slavery” of the national debt. “It is a slavery, it is a slavery that is a bondage to debt and a bondage to decline,” she said. “It is a subservience of a sovereign people to a failed, self-selected elite.”
Before launching into the national debt comparison, Bachmann prefaced the analogy with, “The media might twist what I’m about to say but it doesn’t bother me at all. Because it is a slavery.” Most Americans who possess a cursory understanding of life under slavery can say that whatever “it” Bachmann is pointing to, it most certainly is not slavery.
In 2004, Bachmann found another opportunity to contrive a slavery comparison, this time in regards to homosexuality. “If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement,” she said at the EdWatch National Education Conference.