Dear Dr. Marcus Bachmann, clinical therapist and husband of candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 US presidential election, Michele Bachmann,
I was prompted to write this little note of advice upon reading the recent announcement of your plans for life once Michele has been elected the first female president of the United States in 2012.
At that time, when Michele takes the Oath of Office and starts to lead one of the most powerful countries on Earth, you will assume the awesome mantle of ‘First Man of the United States’, the first First Man ever.
As someone who has studied a little of your country’s culture and political history, I hope you won’t mind me offering you a little advice about how best to conduct yourself in this exalted position. Please don’t think me patronising or to be speaking out of turn, as, after all, I am a man and have been first on a number of occasions in my life (first prize in the Nottinghamshire Libraries Young Writer competition – 1994; regularly first in line for lunch at work) and so I consider myself supremely qualified to offer you a few words of wisdom about being a ‘First Man’. I do this solely out of love and a desire to prevent you making a total idiot of yourself.
Here starteth the advice:
1. Be the First Man – By which I mean, live the role and do not shrink into the background. Your wife may have become the most important woman on Earth, but don’t let that make you feel inadequate. You are a successful therapist within your own right and have only been criticised, ridiculed and shamed a few times by national organisations and the media for running a clinic that offers ‘pray the gay away’ services to vulnerable homosexual men and women. You have strong opinions, and in your role as First Man you will be in the unique position to be able to disseminate your views to every citizen of your country, arguably, the world. Don’t squander this opportunity to let the whole world know what you believe in and to influence it for the better. It’ll be a bit like the sidewalk counselling that you and your wife used to offer, out of the kindness of your hearts, to pregnant women entering abortion clinics – but on a grander scale!
2. Champion a cause – Hillary had her healthcare scheme, Eleanor had the civil rights movement, Lady Bird had the beautification of Washington DC, Nancy had her anti-drugs campaign, Rossalyn had the President’s Commission on Mental Health and Laura had her child literacy programmes – all fantastically important and worthy projects. You will have the prevention of gay marriage. Perhaps not quite so significant a project as the elimination of mental illness or the dismantling of segregation in the Deep South, but it’s something that I know is very close to your heart and that’s the main thing. As long as you believe it’s important then, as First Lady Man, you have the right, the duty even, to ensure that everyone in your country learns to see things from your point of view. Let me warn you, however, that that won’t be easy and that there will be detractors. Some will say the issue of gay marriage is irrelevant, that we should just live and let live, that spending one’s entire adult life campaigning against homosexuality is a complete and utter waste of one’s time and intellect and makes one appear small, petty-minded, misguided, ignorant and mean…but don’t let them get you down. As long as you believe you’re right, and you mention God a lot, then everyone else’s opinion is invalid and you are allowed to tell them so. Repeatedly. Just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The elimination of gay marriage (or the education of “barbarians“, as you so delightfully put it) may take a while, but don’t lose heart. Remember that, at the very least, this little pet project is giving you something to work on whilst your wife is deciding which oil-rich nation to invade next.
3. Put your stamp on the family home – Mary Todd blew the decorating budget in the 1860s. Jackie remodelled 100 years later. In the ’70s Pat, with not much money to spend on paint it would appear, had a bash at the Red, Green and Blue Rooms. And in the ’90s, Hillary had a crack at the Oval Office (as did her husband). In order to appeal to the masses and to be seen as the ideal presidential spouse (able to hold down a job and be a homemaker), you too must put your stamp on the presidential house when you move in with Michele in late 2012, early 2013. And I’m thinking sequins and baubles. Not too many. Just enough to cover the six pillars of the South Portico. And the four round the back. And one of those glittering, shimmery signs like they have outside ‘Priscilla the Musical’ would be quite nice. It could say ‘Welcome to the Bachmann’s. Beware of the Bitch’ (a little play on words there – obviously the sign would be referring to your dog, and not your wife). I wouldn’t go for the enormous glittery stiletto if I was you though. You wouldn’t want to go OTT. As for inside, I’m seeing a lot of pink flock, a couple of glitter balls and one of those bead curtains that you have between rooms when you’re too cheap to have a door – great for drafts and suitably retro. I think these changes (suggested to you here out of the kindness of my heart, without hope of remuneration or adulation) would bring a much-needed sense of fun to the White House and would have the added bonus, perhaps, of revealing a slightly gayer side to your character, thus proving to the homosexual electorate that you are not, as you keep saying, anti-gay, just anti their happiness. You’d need to be careful, however, not to go too far, or you may fuel the rumours that you are, in fact, a closeted gay man, who is desperately fighting against homosexuality in public in order to compensate for his own private feelings of self loathing. (If you ask me, looking at the picture at the beginning of this letter, I don’t think you look in the slightest bit gay. At all).
Well, I started by saying this would be a little note but it seems to have run a bit longer than I planned! Please forgive me, but I think the advice I have given is crucial and will make your time in the White House as First Man very profitable (and sparkly).
Just remember always to support your wife in whatever she does. And don’t forget your cause. You don’t want to go down in history as the first First Person who didn’t manage to implement a change in America that improved the lives and happiness of everyone. Perish the thought that you are described in the history books as a small-minded, callous and cruel nobody. That would be awful.
So, good luck for the election. I’m sure Michele will do just fine. She has two strong political attributes that I’m certain will enhance her appeal to the electorate of your country: her firm, and in no way wildly out of proportion, grasp of economics (“The President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost taxpayers $200 million a day”) and her astute eye for detail (likening visiting the Mall of America in Minneapolis to visiting Iraq: “There’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere.”).
Have a Merry Christmas. Just think, this time next year you could be in the White House kitchen, boogying away to ‘Last Christmas’, hair tied back, pinny on, up to your eyeballs in turkey and trimmings. What more could a girl guy want?
P.S. If Michele doesn’t win, don’t cry too much – your eyeliner will run.