Michele Bachmann re-enters the political fray with accusations against prominent Muslims in public life

Michele Bachmann  has accused  [Democratic] Representative Keith Ellison, of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group she says is seeking “America’s demise.”

A report in the Boston Herald outlines the emerging story:

Ellison, a Muslim whose congressional district borders Bachmann’s, said Friday that he saw Bachmann’s remarks less as a personal attack than as a broadside against Muslims in public life. Earlier in the week he had criticized Bachmann for similar allegations against Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  

Ellison said of Bachmann, “I knew when I raised the issue of her unfounded accusations of disloyalty that sooner or later she was going to get around to accusing me. I will say for the record that her allegations are false.”

He pointed out that Ms Abedin would have had to pass rigorous background checks to obtain the security clearances needed for her position.  If Bachmann’s allegations are not challenged, he noted “there literally could be no Muslim who could hold a position of responsibility in government.”

A growing wave of negative reaction has emerged from within Bachmann’s own party, beginning with Senator  John McCain, who took to the Senate floor [Wednesday 18th July 2012] to defend Abedin.

Bachmann sits on the House Intelligence Committee, a post she has cited in an attempt to give heft to her allegations. But that committee’s chairman told USA Today that Bachmann’s remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration efforts are false.  With Republicans distancing themselves from Bachmann’s remarks, many Democrats have stayed on the side lines, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said:

“New immigrants to America have always faced a wave of ignorance and discrimination.  I would have hoped that this type of discourse no longer existed in our country, but clearly we have more educating to do with respect to what America is about.”

 

A few Bachmann defenders argue that the political storm represents an overabundance of political correctness.

Ironic

 

As happens in politics, attacks invite counter-attacks.  US TODAY correspondent DeWayne Wickham addressed an irony he found in the story:

After she dropped out of the GOP presidential race following her [poor] showing in the Iowa caucus, [Bachmann] was granted Swiss citizenship [in May 2012]. Because her husband has Swiss parents, she could have obtained Swiss citizenship in 1978, the year of her marriage.

Why did she wait 34 years? Bachmann said through a spokesperson after the story was broken by a Swiss broadcaster, that her children  “wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship, so they went through the process as a family.”

Two days later, Bachmann renounced her Swiss citizenship. “I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America, and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100% committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America,” Bachmann said in a statement.

In other words, Bachmann didn’t want her followers to see in her what she so often claims to have discovered in others: a lack of commitment to the country of their birth. By this, I don’t mean those who hold dual citizenship are less American. But I suspect Bachmann realized she would have a hard time explaining her shared citizenship to the people who back her attacks on those who are not thought to be American enough.

What goes round comes round

Or, in a dirty fight everyone gets muddy. At election times,  attacks on opponents are part of the spectacle.  But there is much to learn from military wisdom that attackers should always consider the possibility of leaving a hostage to fortune in the hands of the enemy, which could lead to personal disadvantage.

 

 

 

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