|Michelle Bachmann: ever on the lookout for witches to burn|
Michelle Bachmann, former presidential candidate, US Representative from Minnesota, and a woman of inestimable gravitas (ahem) wrote a letter to five federal agencies asking for an investigation to determine the extent of infiltration of the federal government by --get this --the Muslim Brotherhood!
In addition to Representative Bachmann, the letter was signed by Representatives Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland. Republicans all, if you hadn't already guessed. (But where is Peter King? It can't be a Muslim witch-hunt without Peter King!)
Bachmann specifically named one of Secretary of State Clinton's top aides, Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American and the wife of former New York Representative Anthony Weiner, claiming Ms. Abedin is "connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations."
Nothing surprising about that, really. The GOP convention is less than a month away, and Bachmann and her cohorts are pulling a Marc Anthony. You know? "Cry, 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war!" Whip all that nativist sentiment into a froth and hope it carries them through the election in November.
What is surprising, though, is that high-profile Republicans Mad Johnny McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner publicly repudiated Bachmann. Quoth McCain, "These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant." And Boehner chimed in: "From everything that I do know of [Abedin], she has a sterling character and I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous."
Nice to see, but this kind of responsible rhetoric is just not fashionable in today's Obama-addled GOP. And, sure enough, no sooner had McCain left the Senate floor than the monkey chatter chorus had begun. Gohmert called McCain a "numb nuts." Judson Phillips, head of the Tea Party Nation frothed, "John McCain needs to sit down and shut up."
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, his eye firmly affixed to the Speaker's gavel, tried to play it down the middle. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Cantor sniffed, "If you read some of the reports that have covered the story, I think that [Bachmann's] concern was about the security of the country."
Get it? Don't pick on Michelle Bachmann. Her heart was in the right place! So what if she accused a governmental official of treasonous behavior without any evidence?
Here's what I think is happening: "responsible" Republicans like McCain and Boehner are trying to discredit the Tea Party in order to save themselves. They've seen what has happened to "old guard" Republicans like Bob Bennett of Utah, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, and on and on and on. They've witnessed the purge. They're afraid of it.
But here's the problem: after years of coddling and condescension, the Tea Party freaks actually believe that the GOP should take them seriously.
And the truth of the matter is that the Republicans need the Tea Party. Without it, they cannot win another election.
By the way, the soon-to-be nominee of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, has said nary a word about the issue. Surprised?