She gets headaches? I thought she was just a carrier!

From Andrew Levy:

(CNN) — First of all: Michele Bachmann will not be getting my vote for president.

But that is a political decision, not a medical one. Reading media reports that she suffers from a severe migraine condition, I feel for her.

As one of over 30 million Americans who gets migraines regularly, I suspect I’m not alone in feeling empathy here. Bachmann has the same problem, politically speaking, that millions of other “migraineurs” experience with their co-workers, bosses, and friends. If you’ve never had a migraine, you tend to assume that the blinding headaches and neurological disruptions mean that the migraineur is either very brave, or very fragile.

The truth is neither of these.

Original game box

As the story of Bachmann’s migraines unfolds, it is easy to see, through the prism of our politics, how migraine is viewed: It is almost like a scandal.

Her opponents search for veiled ways to score political points: Tim Pawlenty reminds an audience in Iowa that “All of the candidates … are going to have to demonstrate they can do all of the job, all of the time” — as if he never sleeps.

Political consultants like Karl Rove urge her to “get her doctors out there quickly” and beat the news cycle. Her brother reassures reporters that “she is not intellectually incapacitated.” Her campaign releases a letter from the congressional physician downplaying the condition, noting that she knows her “trigger factors” and can “control” her headaches with “as-needed” drugs like sumatriptan, the reliable, prosaic Model T of migraine drugs.

And in the shortened news cycle, analysis also comes fast: Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri argues that migraine, politically, might be “code” to remind voters that “Michele Bachmann is female” — given that 75% of all migraineurs are women, not a bad theory.


Migraine is more prevalent than depression, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Which means that you are almost certainly living with, or working alongside — or considering voting for — someone with migraine, and don’t know it.

And in the end, too, it is no disqualification. There is no personality type for migraineurs: If you show me someone whose work seems hampered by headaches, I can show you someone who puts your productivity and mine to shame.

Never mind the list of migraineur writers, artists and musicians, which is a mile long, and runs from Sigmund Freud to Elvis Presley: everyone expects creative types to have “nervous” conditions.

But migraines have been no disqualification for political or military leadership, either.

Thomas Jefferson suffered from severe headaches for several weeks in April and May 1776.


Ulysses S. Grant suffered from headaches so severe during the Civil War that his officers offered him a special ambulance for travel (which he refused).


If you think Michele Bachmann shouldn’t be president, her migraines ought to be the least of your reasons why. And if you think she should, her migraines are no reason to reconsider your vote.

From Jennifer Rubin at Right Turn at The Washington Post:

Tim Pawlenty has reached desperation time. The Republican presidential contender is in low double-digits heading into a straw poll in a must-do-well state for him. Without much luck, he’s tried to attack fellow candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on the grounds she has “a non-existent record.” So then along comes a story about Bachmann’s migraine headaches, fueled by ex-employees of Bachmann. (Post reporters spoke to three former aides about the headaches, two of whom said they “did not appear to interfere with her work”and one who said she disappeared frequently due to migraines.) Pawlenty’s reaction was, to say the least, strange.

First, he deferred to the doctors. “Tim Pawlenty demurred Tuesday when asked whether voters should take into account Michele Bachmann’s debilitating migraines when making their decision on who to nominate, saying he’d leave an assessment up doctors.” Then he needled her in a subsequent comment: “All of the candidates I think are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time. There’s no real time off in that job.” Well, that’s the point of those digging up the medical information on her, right?

And then, of course, Bachmann did release her doctor’s note debunking the more extreme aspects of the story […]


Pawlenty’s reaction to the story is even odder when you consider the reaction of every other campaign. Alexander Burns of Politico went from campaign to campaign, asking if each had any involvement in surfacing the story. A spokesman for Jon Huntsman said: “It’s a ‘minor medical condition’ that shouldn’t be ‘taken advantage of’ in advance of the Ames Straw Poll.” Spokesmen for Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney gave flat “no’s” when asked if their campaigns had any involvement in the headache story. […] Then there was this answer from Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant, which a Republican operative described as “massaged”: “We did not pitch or push the Daily Caller story and haven’t since.”

Okay, readers, which answer is not like the others?

I repeatedly asked the Pawlenty team yesterday a series of questions about the headache story, including whether Pawlenty or his staff had any knowledge of or involvement in the release of Bachmann’s medical records and whether the campaign would fire anyone found to be involved in the story. I also inquired about whether Pawlenty believed it was appropriate for an employee to leak medical information about his boss. There was no response.


Filed under Congress, humor, Iowa, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, parody, politics, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ronald Reagan, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

30 responses to “She gets headaches? I thought she was just a carrier!

  1. johncerickson

    This is NOT to be construed as support for BBB. Some people with migraines, taking any of the variety of “triptan” drugs, can work perfectly well. (They make me nauseous as all get-out, so they don’t work for me.) A person (well, a more normal person than me) should not be considered an invalid or handicapped by migraines.
    She’s still a goof. And unfortunately, my migraines (technically, “asymptomatic cluster headaches”) DO incapacitate me. But that’s no reason to go after her on the headache topic.
    There’s SO many more REAL points to attack her on! 😀

    • if she was 15 years younger, i wonder if they would have gone after her for having cramps once a month. the first thing i thought of when i heard the story was that migraines are usually associated with females, and rethugs love to smack down women. my second thought was that they’re scared shitless that bbb is going to win.

      there are so many reasons not to vote for this whackadoodle, but having migraines is not one of them.

  2. jeb

    Everything about her gives me a headache.

  3. Bachmann’s competitor’s are truly lowlifes making me feel compassion for her. 😯

    • i actually feel less compassion for her (if that’s possible). i want someone to ask her what an ordinary person who doesn’t have health insurance or a job or money should do when they’re incapacitated by migraines.

      • johncerickson

        Nonnie, have I told you lately you’re my hero? 😉

        • 🙂 i do what i can, john. this is what the dems should be focusing on. when things like this come up, don’t allow the bs to be the story. yes, pointing out that this was a pretty disgusting display of backstabbing and misogyny is a good thing. however, why not use it to the dems’ advantage and point out that most people who have bbb’s health problem do not have access to the medical care that she does at the expense of the taxpayer?

        • johncerickson

          “most people who have bbb’s health problem”.
          Now, where in the world (Ohio?) could we possibly find a goat-whispering former Chicagoan that could fit that description?
          Any ideas? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

  4. jean-philippe

    This is a biased story, it implies she CAN make decisions when her head doesn’t hurt.

  5. If Pawlenty is behind this, than he’s even more gutless than I thought. First he refuses to say anything nasty to Romney to his face, then he stages a sneak attack on Bachmann. I have no love for BBB, but this is such a transparent smear!

    • next, he’ll tell allen west to send bbb a nasty email about not saying things behind someone’s back. 🙄 timmeh is a gutless wonder. he doesn’t want to piss anyone off, because he’d settle for veep, but he’s had so many missteps, nobody would consider him for dog catcher.

  6. Like the boxart! When are these sufferers going to realize that burning a fattie would knock that condition down from unbearable to put on some Miles Davis. And how many tens of millions take those worthless godamn pills? And now advertising tells us to take an extra pill for an octane booster, one even showing what looks to be The Raisin with his arms and legs pulled off!

    • i’ve never had a migraine (knock wood), but i’m sure their miserable. i wonder if pot would help. i remember reading that caffeine helps, but i never read anything saying that pot helps.

      who is pulling the arms and legs off raisin? i’m going to organize a boycott of whoever is doing that, including the advertising agency. 😯

    • johncerickson

      Tex, I’d love to be able to put in a small patch of Acapulco Gold in my back yard. (I can’t smoke due to respiratory problems, but I know it can be consumed in other ways with full efficacy.) Problem is, much as I love military hardware, I’m not really interested in having DEA Blackhawks dropping onto the lawn, thanks all the same. If the Federal jack holes would legalise the stuff and tax it, we wouldn’t be in such severe financial straits.

  7. Snoring Dog Studio

    She doesn’t need the slur about migraines; her record speaks for itself. Let’s not get distracted from her true nature–it’s indictment of her leadership abilities enough.

    • ‘zactly, sds. like i said above, don’t allow bbb to be the victim. make other people who suffer with migraines and other ailments who don’t have health insurance or who have insurance and still can’t afford medicine the focus of this debate.

  8. she certainly does give ’em.

  9. Do you liberl Democrats realize that President Thomas Jefferson and President Abraham Lincoln suffered from migraines. They are two (2) of our greatest Presidents. They have Memorials in Washington, D.C. and their faces are on Mount Rushmore. Can Michele be far behind?