At my home blog, the Minnesota Progressive Project, we're doing a series on the top Michele Bachmann lies of 2012. Not all of her 2012 lies, just the top ones--in no particular order. Today's installment:
Telling people that she had credible evidence that a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy has penetrated the US State Department and is shaping American policy.Michele Bachmann has a seat on the US Congress' Intelligence Committee. That means that she has access to some very sensitive national security information. That has made her more effective than ever as national demagogue to the paranoids, because that access lends credence to any nutty conspiracy claim that Bachmann makes.
Earlier this year, Bachmann claimed that she had seen credible evidence of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy operating within the Obama administration and influencing US foreign policy. She called for an official government investigation.
Here's an account by conservative evangelical columnist Cal Thomas, explaining her charge against the State Department and defending it:
Suppose Michele Bachmann is right?(CONTINUED)
By Cal Thomas (July 26, 2012)
Like the ghosts of Shakespeare's Banquo or Dickens' Jacob Marley, the specter of the late commie-hunting congressman from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, will always be with us. It is summoned up today, by some on the left, who use it as a tool to thwart legitimate questions about people and ideologies that seek to destroy America.
According to many commentators, the McCarthy spirit has inhabited Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). In several letters to high-ranking government officials, Bachmann has raised questions about Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American, who is deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Bachmann's concern is Abedin's relatives in the Middle East some of whom -- such as Abedin's mother -- she claims "are connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations." Abedin's job, according to Bachmann, "affords her routine access to the secretary and to policy-making." And, as a result of that access, says Bachmann, "The State Department, and in several cases, the specific direction of the secretary of state, have taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests."http://jewishworldreview.com/...
Sen. John McCain says Abedin is "a dedicated American." Even if he is correct, the larger issue is being obscured. Many in government and the media don't want to face the possibility that infiltration is a tactic of Islamic extremists who repeatedly say they want to destroy not only Israel but the "Great Satan" America. Such objectives should be taken seriously, given their violent history.
Thomas is a nationally syndicated political columnist. The problem with his defense of Bachmann's behavior and integrity: she has since dropped the charge, backtracking in the debates this fall by saying that she had only been "asking questions."
If there was ever any credible evidence to support a charge that the US State Department had been infiltrated by radical Islamists, it was Bachmann's duty as a member of Congress and American to produce it--and pursue a congressional investigation vigorously to a conclusion.
She didn't, she hasn't, and--bowing to political pressure--she's backed off her call for an investigation. She just dropped it.
So there is a conclusion we can draw from this Bachmann behavior dichotomy: "There's credible evidence of enemy spies inside our government!/Oh, the political pressure on me for saying that is too much, let's just drop the whole investigation thing...for now..."
That behavior indicates that Bachmann's charge against the Obama administration nothing but McCarthyism all along.
A la McCarthy: a demagogue in office, pointing to an unsubstantiated, imaginary domestic conspiracy inside American government--in an attempt to foster panic, an attempt to discredit the White House and the GOP's political opponents. A demagogue willing to undermine American national security--by discrediting American foreign policy and the State Department, here and abroad.
Unlike McCarthy, Bachmann bowed to political pressure and backed off quickly. This was her de facto admission that her assertions were never anything more than a reckless, cynical, and potentially devastating smear.
But just like McCarthy, Michele Bachmann had significant allies backing her. Like McCarthy: Bachmann had allies in congress, in the conservative movement and media, in the conspiratorial end-times world of the national Christian Right. All these were willing to lend credence to a dangerous, unfounded smear--all were willing to vouch for Bachmann's trustworthiness and character as she made the charge.
And Bachmann had (and still has) the support of the millions of voters on the American right. They applauded her for "having the courage to speak out." And after she backed down and dropped the call for an investigation--peeping that she had "only been asking questions"--they applauded her again.
They weren't applauding her for backing down. (Most of her fans believe Bachmann when she claims that she's courageous and would never back down.) They applauded her for "asking the questions" about an internal government conspiracy...
...exactly what McCarthy was doing, when he was smearing the government of the United States and undermining American national security.
So these represent two of the top Bachmann lies of 2012--1) the charge that an Islamic terrorist conspiracy operating inside the US government, and 2) the claim that she had "merely been asking questions." Just like McCarthy, she was doing more than "just asking questions." Like McCarthy, she was trying to sow an American panic and discredit American foreign policy at home and abroad--for political gain.
And--even though she's backed off the "Muslim conspiracy in the State Department" charge--she's still doing the McCarthyism thing, right now. Below is a link to an article at Right Wing Watch, dated today (December 12.) It features audio and transcript from a Bachmann appearance on radio program broadcast last weekend.
Her topic? Bachmann says that Americans should be studying Islamic materials and documents because these are analogous to Hitler's Mein Kampf (the book that outlined his hateful ideology and plans for conquest.) In October various American Muslim civil rights organization sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, protesting the use of bigoted source materials in law enforcement training. Bachmann says this letter protesting government use of anti-Islam training materials "is 'proof positive' that the Obama administration wants to introduce Sharia law to the U.S.