Read more: Boston Herald

What’s more threatening to a left-wing ideologue than a conservative politician?

A conservative politician wearing lipstick.

Witness Newsweek magazine’s recent portrayal of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn).

The cover of the magazine’s most recent issue features a bizarrely unflattering photo of the congresswoman. Bachmann (perhaps caught off-guard by the camera’s flash?) appears wild-eyed and possessed, seated in front of a jarring electric-blue background. The picture, accompanied by the headline “Queen of Rage,” makes Bachmann look, well, crazy.

How crazy? Not as insane as Jack Nicholson in “The Shining,” but pretty darn close.

The absurdity of the photo is crystallized by the humorous web site FunnyOrDie.com, which posted the same photo with alternate headlines such as:  “The Girl Next Door (Assuming you live next to an insane asylum)”  and “Michele Bachmann Will F*cking Kill You.”

So, why did the magazine choose this particular photo of Bachmann?

Newsweek’s editor, Tina Brown, says the cover was intended to capture the way that “Michele Bachmann’s intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa.”

Yeah, right. Like the way the Pied Piper galvanized the children of Hamelin in that Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

Clearly, Newsweek is trying to send a message: “This is a crazy, evil woman. Follow her at your own risk!” Objective journalism this is not.

Compare the mistreatment of Bachmann with the magazine’s fawning attention to the Obamas.  A March 2010 Newsweek cover features a cheerful Michelle Obama above the headline “Feed Your Children Well.”  A November 2010 cover depicts President Barack Obama as a Hindu god, and several older covers show him bathed in an almost biblical light.

OK, so Newsweek is biased in favor of liberals and against conservatives.  No surprise there.

What is remarkable is that a magazine run by a woman would stoop to the level of sexist rhetoric — calling Bachmann the “Queen of Rage” and implying that she is some sort of hysteric.

Even the president of the National Organization for Women, an ally of Newsweek’s left-wing politics, has condemned the magazine for its sexist portrayal of the only woman in the presidential race.

Yes, the journo-activists at Newsweek hate all conservatives, but they hate conservative women especially.

Unlike conservative men, conservative women like Bachmann pose a unique threat.  They contradict the narrative that all women favor affirmative action, cradle-to-grave entitlements and unfettered access to abortion on demand. And they threaten to undermine the belief that conservative policies are “harmful to women.”

Moreover, the life stories of conservative women (like those of many conservative minorities) often belie the mythology of oppression and victimization that has become an article of faith among modern liberals.

On a political level, conservative female politicians — attractive, articulate advocates for their beliefs — appeal to people beyond traditionally Republican constituencies and are narrowing the so-called gender gap that has benefited Democrats for years.

The left-wing press has long attempted to discredit white male conservatives by portraying them as self-interested, anti-intellectual fools (George W. Bush as village idiot; Ronald Reagan as Hollywood dope; Gerald Ford as confused klutz; Dwight D. Eisenhower as boring simpleton).

But female conservatives pose a deeper threat.  And so the left has increased the intensity of their attacks, depicting these conservatives as not only dim-witted, but mentally unhinged to boot.

The portrayal of conservative women as unstable lunatics may play well in faculty dining rooms, Upper East Side cocktail parties and bi-coastal newsrooms. But it is unlikely to work with voters who understand that women, like men, come in all political varieties.

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