By Jeff Kazmierski, Copy Editor
Like most Americans who don’t actually live there, I don’t think about Minnesota very often. I have a few relatives there, and I listen to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” on occasion, but I’m not a Twins fan so the state doesn’t usually cross my mind.
Unless, of course, Michele Bachmann opens her mouth and makes sound come out. Then, I breathe a silent prayer of relief that, as dumb as my representative is, at least he isn’t completely insane. I mean, sure, he wrote that ridiculous bill that would have allowed telemarketers to call you any time they want, but that was just stupid, not crazy.
And say what you like about Lee Terry, at least he doesn’t make a regular habit of accusing highly qualified, competent, loyal patriots of conspiring with international terrorists, like Bachmann recently did.
I’m talking about her most recent string of unfounded, baseless insanity, wherein she claimed that “radical Muslims” have infiltrated our government. She got specific, though, making a tenuous connection between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood, which recently gained a foothold in the Egyptian government. Abedin, you see, is Muslim, and there’s the Brotherhood, and she was kind of, sort of, connected-ish to some people who may or may not have had connections to banking conglomerate HSBC, which did business with the Brotherhood, so … you know. Terrorism. Or something.
This isn’t the first time Bachmann has made controversial statements. In fact, it could be said fairly that it’s a rare event when she doesn’t say something inflammatory, defamatory, or just plain stupid. Her short, undistinguished career in Washington has been marked by one ridiculous statement after another. But this time, in directly implicating a high-level State Department official, she went too far.
You see, she made her remarks while Clinton was visiting the Middle East with her staff, including Abedin, accompanying her. And part of her trip included a stop in Cairo, where she met with representatives of the new Egyptian government.
As she left that meeting, her motorcade was surrounded by protesters throwing vegetables and chanting “Monica! Monica!”
So, by shooting her mouth off, Bachmann created scandal where there was none, endangered the lives of American officials traveling in a volatile region and placed American national security at risk. Not a bad day’s work for a woman who claims to be a patriot.
Bachmann has since faced criticism from members of her own party. Sen. John McCain (R-Az) was the first to stand on the Senate floor and denounce her, saying the attacks “have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.” Speaker John Boehner called them “pretty dangerous,” a rather tepid response considering the seriousness of Bachmann’s words. Even her own former campaign manager compared her words to the tactics of the late Senator Joe McCarthy.
Mere condemnation will not be enough. For if there’s anything else Bachmann is well known for besides her intemperate words, it’s her lack of conscience. She never apologizes, no matter how ludicrous or dangerous her statements are. And she never lacks for enablers.
Four other congressmen, all Republicans, joined her in her Islamophobic witch hunt. The guilty parties are Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland. And most telling, John Bolton, one of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s advisers, has defended her, saying he’s “mystified” by the criticism. What does it say about the candidate when he allows people with such poor judgment to serve on his campaign staff? Romney, of course, has so far said nothing about it. Maybe he’s waiting for his conservative handlers to tell him what he thinks.
These attacks must end. They divide us as a nation, undermine our credibility with our allies, give aid and comfort to terrorists, and endanger the lives of dedicated, loyal and capable public servants.
We’ve put up with Bachmann’s odious presence for too long. Her attacks are low, base and cowardly. If she won’t apologize or resign, she should be censured and forbidden to speak on the House floor until at least after this year’s election.