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Why so many Republicans are publicly repudiating Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Drip, drip, drop.

It’s possible to feel sorry for Rep. Michele Bachmann. The people who dislike her dislike her so intensely that they will try to make her pay a maximum price for her mistakes.

But she does it to herself, over and over, saying things that she can’t back up. And she seems to lack the humility to take anything back or admit error, often hiding behind half-baked partial excuses.

In the current brouhaha, for example, she emphasizes that she hasn’t disparaged the loyalty of Huma Abedin (the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), but has only questioned how Abedin could have received her high-level security clearance given the connections that Bachmann perceives (none of them direct connections) between the Muslim Brotherhood and some of Abedin’s relatives. Abedin is now getting extra security after receiving unspecified threats, the New York Post reports. Surely, it consoles her to know that Bachmann hasn’t explicitly suggested there is any evidence against her patriotism or loyalty.

The main difference between this one and the dozens of other Bachmann eruptions is that this time she has been publicly criticized by a huge and growing number of prominent Republicans. Among the latest of these was her House Republican colleague Erik Paulsen. Of course you had already heard about John McCain, John Boehner and her former presidential campaign chief Ed Rollins.

Personally, I was impressed that the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee repudiated Bachmann’s statements that the Muslim Brotherhood has deeply penetrated the U.S. government, telling USA Today: “That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee.” That seemed a little more important than some of the others because it undermines any inference that perhaps because she is on the Intelligence Committee, she knows some things that McCain and Boehner do not.

On Friday, the Washington Post’s political guru Chris Cillizza bestowed “who had the worst week in Washington” honors on Bachman.

My other favorite, just for humorous value, was a comment obtained by the Global Post from a provincial leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. When asked about the alleged Brotherhood penetration of the U.S. government, Ibrahim Ali Iraqi wisecracked: “The Muslim Brotherhood can’t even penetrate the Egyptian government.”

(In case you don’t get the joke, the Muslim Brotherhood has done extremely well in both parliamentary and presidential elections in post-Mubarak Egypt, but it’s not at all clear that the military is going to allow them to have any real power.)

If you want more satire on the topic, see Andy Borowitz.

The Star Tribune editorially suggested that if Bachmann doesn’t either back up her assertions of ties between Rep. Keith Ellison and the Muslim Brother, or retract them, the House should consider censuring her.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni is up this a.m. with a piece questioning Bachmann’s Christianity:

Bachmann’s concept of Christian love brims with hate, and she has a deep satchel of stones to throw. From what kind of messiah did she learn that?…My aim here isn’t to re-litigate Bachmann’s crimes against reason and decency, all widely documented.

It’s to wonder why we accept her descriptions of herself, and in turn describe her, as a deeply religious woman. That grants too much credence to her particular, peculiar and highly selective definition of piety. And it offends the many admirable people of faith whose understanding and practice of religion aren’t, like hers, confrontational and small-minded.

Other than providing all these links, my main purpose in returning to this topic was to follow up one last week’s post in which I wondered why this was the occasion for so many Republicans to publicly repudiate Bachmann, when they have not done so in the past. I elicited theories from two Washington insiders (both Minnesotans).

Former Congressman (now big-time lobbyist and Republican political operator) Vin Weber emailed me: “Part of it is that many top Republicans know and like Huma, and that personalizes the attack. Also, there’s been a fairly systematic effort to fight anti-Muslim bias on the right. … I think a lot of Republicans are getting it at several levels — civil rights, national security and practical politics.”

Jim Manley, an Edina native who until recently was the chief spokester for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (which means he’s viewing the question from a Democratic perspective) said that he has noticed several  prominent Republicans looking for opportunities to distance themselves from “some of the more extreme views being articulated by Tea Party types.”

Bachmann, you many know, chairs the Tea Party Caucus in the House.

Manley says the Tea Partiers are “slowly but surely losing their juice on Capitol Hill.”

Over recent years, it’s been “getting harder and harder to know where the line was that you couldn’t cross, but [Bachmann] apparently crossed it this time.”

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Comments (30)

  1. Submitted by Rich Crose on 07/24/2012 - 10:34 am.

    Paulson’s Voting Record is Identical

    The Democrats in the 3rd district are saying Paulson talks like Jim Ramstad but votes like Michele Bachmann.

    He better distance himself from her before the tea stains set.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/24/2012 - 10:41 am.

    Tea Party wants McCain recalled

    So now a Tea Party leader in Arizona is calling for McCain to be recalled over his defense of Abedin:

    There’s a lot in this article to be taken aback by. But one thing is particularly scary. I have said repeatedly that it is not a crime to be Muslim in America. It would appear that Wes Harris would beg to differ.

    And yet the Tea Party continues to influence the political discourse. What is happening to our country?

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/24/2012 - 12:53 pm.

      Recall is extreme.

      I’d advocate for simply not returning him at the next opportunity. And not because of this latest incident, but because he simply no longer has anything of value to offer as a Republican politician.

      Perhaps he, Dave Durenberger and Arne Carlson could take their show on the road…maybe do a warm-up act for Stephanie Miller, I dunno.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 07/24/2012 - 06:35 pm.

        Do you agree with Wes Harris that Muslims should not be allowed to work for the federal government?

      • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/24/2012 - 07:51 pm.

        That’s entertainment

        Watching leftists defend both the Ikwan and same sex marriage is a sight to behold.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/25/2012 - 08:22 am.

          What specifically is so entertaining about that?

          Care to elaborate?

          • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/25/2012 - 09:59 am.

            That’s entertainment

            If you understood the Ikwan, you’d get the irony.

            • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/25/2012 - 01:49 pm.

              What irony?

              The article that this comment thread is attached to is about Republicans – including John McCain – distancing themselves from Michele Bachmann over her unfounded allegations regarding connections between the Muslim Brotherhood and a couple of folks in Washington. I added a link to an article about an Arizona TP’er who wants to recall McCain, and also lamented the fact that people like Wes Harris in that article apparently DO feel it is a crime to be Muslim in America.

              Somehow from that you jump to gay marriage and “Ikhwan”. Just like below, another non sequitur which amuses you for some reason.

              Oh – and by the way – you’re going to have to point out the part where “leftists defend the Ikwan” (sic), because I’m sure not seeing it here.

        • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 07/25/2012 - 09:48 am.

          So do YOU agree with Harris that Muslims should be barred from working for the federal government?

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/24/2012 - 11:21 am.

    My cynical take?It’s getting

    My cynical take?

    It’s getting close to the election.

    “Crazy” doesn’t attract the middle needed to carry the election for Republicans. “Crazy” repels.

    Therefore, attack Bachmann now. Appear responsible/reasonable.

    Resume “crazy” minutes after the election..

  4. Submitted by Dee Ann Christensen on 07/24/2012 - 11:52 am.

    Michelle Bachmann’s Need for Attention

    As a secondary teacher, I have frequently seen this need for attention in the classroom. It is time Ms. Bachmann grew up. Perhaps if Rep. Keith Ellison were to initiate a defamation suit against Ms. Bachmann, she would understand there are consequences to her actions.

  5. Submitted by David Frenkel on 07/24/2012 - 12:44 pm.

    National Security

    Bachmann came from the backwaters of MN and even though she is on the House Intelligence Committee has very little national security background. I have had security clearances in the past with several federal agencies and the one thing with security clearances they can be denied or pulled for any reason which is typically not disclosed. There are channels Bachmann should have worked through instead of grandstanding and and potentially using her Intelligence Committee position to release classified information to supposedly prove her point.

  6. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 07/24/2012 - 01:43 pm.

    The answer to your question is obvious

    The election is drawing close, and these politicians have elections to win, or need allies to win their elections. They want to make the GOP look more “moderate” to grab those swing voters.

    This is a typical pattern for the GOP – in every election I’ve witnessed for a long time, they play hardball as long as they think they can get away with it, and then pretend none of that ever happened and that they’re as reasonable as can be.

    The problem this time is that Bachmann has gone off-script.

  7. Submitted by Brandt Hardin on 07/24/2012 - 02:20 pm.

    Living in a Society of Fear

    Bachmann is just the latest example of the homegrown fear-mongering our country has been subjected to in the decade following 9/11. These are NOT allegations to be played with in today’s society where dissidence is not being tolerated and minorities are being held without trial. As an elected official, Michelle should be leading by example not spewing her own form of politicized terrorism. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at We must acknowledge this type of bigotry erodes our freedoms from the inside out for ALL races of Americans.

  8. Submitted by Howard Schneider on 07/24/2012 - 04:08 pm.

    more than Bachmann is crazy…

    I know, I know… it’s hard to believe, but Rep. Bachmann doesn’t just make things up. This time around she got her conspiracy allegations from Frank Gaffney. He founded and is president of the Center for Security. He’s been on a tear lately about Muslim Brotherhood “stealth infiltration” of our government.

    An example:
    He claims that Grover Norquist helped the Brotherhood to establish “information dominance” over the George Bush adminstration.

    Want more? Take Gaffney’s course on the Muslim Brotherhood!

    However, conservatives have recently been distancing themselves from Gaffney. So, it’s no surprise that Repubs are denouncing Bachmann. He’s too much even for CPAC!

    – In February, the American Conservative Union blocked Gaffney from the CPAC (Conservative Polictical Action Committee) stage after investigating and dismissing “infiltration” charges he’d made against board members.

    But Gaffney is a friend and supporter of Bachmann. He called her America’s “Iron Lady” (reference to Margaret Thatcher) and cited her “fearless and visionary leadership” in exposing the Muslim Brotherhood.

    At least some Republicans are finally standing up to this nonsense. But not Bachmann. She still stands for it.

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/24/2012 - 06:04 pm.


      You want a sample of liberal tolerance in Egypt, home of the Ikhwan?

      Go to and watch video #3504 – Egyptian Actors Pranked on Candid Camera Turn Violent When Told TV Channel Is Israeli.

      It is not known if the contestants or the staff were members of the MB. You’ll get the idea.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/24/2012 - 10:01 pm.

        Non sequitur much?

        When did we start talking about “Punked” on Egyptian TV?

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/25/2012 - 11:33 am.

          That’s entertainment

          I’m trying to point out why the Ikhwan is a threat.

          You just don’t care.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/25/2012 - 01:52 pm.


            It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I don’t buy the unfounded allegation that our country is being surreptitiously infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood at the highest levels of government in this land.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/25/2012 - 07:59 pm.

              Rhetorical arguments

              I’ve had them before with progs. It does not matter how much factual evidence, or how many objective facts are presented, it’s just no use. The sources will be attacked as unreliable.

              Been through it with the DFL.

              I’m just here for the entertainment.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/28/2012 - 03:01 pm.

        Just looked at their boards of directors and advisers.
        Not exactly what I’d call impartial.

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/24/2012 - 05:49 pm.

    6th District voters

    should perhaps heed Mr. Swift’s advice, adjusted for gender and state:

    “…I’d advocate for simply not returning [her] at the next opportunity. And not because of this latest incident, but because [s]he simply no longer has anything of value to offer as a Republican politician.”

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/24/2012 - 08:50 pm.

      Oh Ray,

      I must disagree. Any GOP politician that can keep the lefties rollin’ in the streets and convulsing in the fever swamp the way Michele does has plenty of juice left in them.

  10. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/24/2012 - 09:03 pm.


    Some of the Republicans can count.
    When you’ve got an albatross around your neck, you let it swim with the fishes.

  11. Submitted by Wilhelm Achauer on 07/26/2012 - 01:01 pm.

    Same Story Different Name

    This is is the same old story, different group. Before the Muslims, it was fear of Catholics and the pope. JFK had to fend off the anti-papists. Before that its was Jews and the Jewish world bankers, or Freemasons…there is always a bogeyman. Go read the literature of the Nazis and their propagandists, they were saying all this.

  12. Submitted by Mattias Ericsson on 07/29/2012 - 02:26 pm.


    As a christian I can only feel pity for Michelle Bachman, she is loosing her soul trying to win something as unimportant as an election. I pray that one day she will recieve forgiveness for walking the path she has choosen.

    One can be sucssesful whitout lying, one can achieve ones goal and stay moral, one can win elections whitout lying. Michelle Bachman is I believe basically a moral person, caring for others and willing to help her fellow human beeings.

    Beeing democrat or republican matter litte in the particular election she is going into, to help her she should be voted out. Not for reasons of politics but for her own best. Bachmann will be remebered as one of the most extreme politicians in american history if let to go on. She has endangered other peoples lives by lies. Whatever she might now belive there will be consequenses, one day, one person, will kill an innocent human beeing based on the message of hate she is preaching. If and when this day occurs she is doomed. Judgment will also fall on thoose that elected her. Michelle Bachmann could propably have stayed true to herself and still won elections but she choose the immoral path. The least thing needed now is for her to dent herself anymore and possibly become a modern McKarthy, I hope she looses the election for her own good. Had I been living in the 6th district and beeing republican, I would cast my vote this time for the challanger and vote for Mitt Romney as president. The house will still remain solidly republican and if not the next election is but two years away whith the added bonus that 2014 a senators seat is up aswell. Save Bachmann by voting democratic.

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