At times, Michele Bachmann’s freewheeling campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has seemed like a one-woman media circus. It’s easy to treat her various gaffes - flubbing where the Battles of Lexington and Concord took place, confusing actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy - as entertainment. But the controversy over her migraine headaches isn’t just grist for the carnival sideshow of cable news.
This medical issue certainly shouldn’t end her quest for the White House, but her headaches are a serious matter that she needs to fully address. Bachmann acknowledged the condition earlier this week after media reports that she had missed a number of House votes due to stress-induced migraines. But she has declined to answer more detailed questions, release her medical records, or respond to a report that she was hospitalized several times.
Bachmann’s supporters argue that the scrutiny carries a whiff of misogyny, playing into stereotypes of women as mentally weak. But voters have a right to know about the health of would-be presidents. If anything, when it comes to sharing medical information, it would be sexist to hold Bachmann to lower expectations.