Absurd

"Still, like passive and hysterical , flaky is a term that strikes a chord when levied against a woman, particularly when she is vying for a position of authority. Male candidates may often be critiqued as unrealistic, incompetent, or unappealing, but they are rarely framed as unserious or child-like, as the word flaky implies."

Does Katie Henderson remember the Bush administration?  Entire careers have been made from characterizing President Bush as unserious, child-like and flaky (Bill Maher, Frank Calliendo, Keith Olberman, Joy Behar, Chris Matthews).  Does she remember the Clinton administration and if she does, is she going to try and argue with a straight face that the right never accused Bill of being "unserious?"  The left's defense of Clinton was equally unserious.  Basically, it was:  "Come on, he's just a big kid who liked to pull his pants down at odd times!"  Cecil Spring Rice once remarked about President Theodore Roosevelt, "You must always remember that the President is about six."  If Michele Bachmann wants to be president, she's going to need a thicker skin.

Entire books have been written about the manchild and his utter inferiority to the all-knowing, all-responsible woman.  Memo to Katie Henderson:  the 50's ended 50 years ago.  Women are perfectly free to pursue whatever political career they choose in this country - and with that freedom comes the cross of criticism that they must bear.  Whining about how it's not fair or that they're being treated differently than men is just that - whining. If you can't take it, you don't belong in the White House.

Besides, Chris Wallace didnt' call Bachmann a flake.  He asked her if she was a flake.  And guess what?  Michele Bachmann is a flake.  She thinks John Quincy Adams was a founding father.  She thinks the Revolutionary war was started in New Hampshire.  She makes comments you would expect from a 5 year old: "We no longer have slavery. That’s a good thing."  Much like Sarah Palin, she's imprecise, simplistic and she speaks either without thinking or without researching what she's talking about. Is it sexist to point out two women and call them flaky if it also happens to be true?

The worst part of this Bachmann mess is that she's taking legitimate or intelligent points that she's heard or read and making them sound utterly insane.  Either she doesn't fully understand the issues she talks about or she's doing an abominable job of articulating her position.  Either way, it's flaky behavior.  Let's take Stephanopoulos' almost equally absurd response to her founding fathers comment as an example:

"Now with respect Congresswoman, that’s just not true. Many of them including Jefferson and Washington were actually slave holders and slavery didn’t end until the Civil War."

This is ridiculous.  Washington certainly and Jefferson perhaps to a lesser extent made efforts to end slavery.  They definitely owned slaves but they weren't exactly in a position to simply wave a magic wand and free them all because they thought it was wrong.  There are many reasons why this is true and we can get into a very long and complicated discussion about it.  As a generation, the glaring failure of the founders was their inability to end slavery.  Unfortunately, their shining achievement (the Constitution) would have been impossible without their compromise with the devil.  The irony is, the end of slavery in America came about precisely because of the document that enshrined it.  Without the Union and without the Constitution, there is no Civil War.  Perhaps this is what Bachmann is trying to say.  If it is, she did an abyssmal job:

"But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

This is simply a stupid comment and it is abundantly clear that Bachmann should not speak about history for much the same reason this blog will never publish articles about about nuclear physics:  because she doesn't inspire any confidence that she understands it.  Does she know the Civil War occurred nearly 100 years after the Revolution?  If the answer to that question is "I'm not quite sure," we had all better earnestly hope there's a better candidate avaiable.  I'm a fairly conservative Republican and I cringe every time I watch Michele Bachmann speak.  Quite frankly, I AM surprised to find out she graduated law school.  That isn't sexism, it's critical judgment.

The thin gruel Republicans have put up so far this primary season is downright frightening.  We have a very real opportunity (and a solemn duty if you ask me) to unseat this historically terrible president.  There are some candidates (I'm talking to you Chris Christie) who could rescue the Republican party from its ugly outlook for 2012.  Far more disconcerting though is the possibility that we might elevate someone like Michele Bachmann to the White House.  If the President of the United States has difficulty grasping the difference between the Civil War and the American Revolution, we're in big trouble.  As a serious journalist, it's Chris Wallace's job to make sure we're aware of this.  Why should he apologize for it?