There was a time when this woman had a shot a being the Republican nominee. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.
In August of last year, presidential candidate Bachmann receive a glowing endorsement from the people of Iowa, taking 28% of the 17,000 votes cast in the Iowa straw poll. Pundits said that winning the poll – which is nothing more than an informal survey of Iowa convention-goers – indicated that a Bachmann win in the primaries was at hand. Of course, history tread a slightly different path, and Rick Santorum (almost Mitt Romney) carried the first primary in the nation.
But despite the eventual loss, the representative from Minnesota benefited heavily from the media attention from her top finish in the poll. Emboldened, Mrs. Bachmann began making rounds on talk shows, campaigning for like-minded candidates, and raising money for the Republican party. But as the novelty of the Tea Party began to fade, characters like Mrs. Bachmann (a major backer of the movement) started to fade into irrelevance.
The resulting insecurity over this lost momentum could be an explanation for Bachmann’s latest and most explosive remarks. On June 13, Bachmann and four other congressmen signed a letter asking the Inspector General to investigate a brewing muslim conspiracy in the government. Bachmann and company believed certain high-level Muslim officials had links to the Muslim Brotherhood (an arab political movement), and were plotting to take down the US government in the same way they toppled the Egyptian and Libyan regimes. The accusations were largely unfounded, but the officials in question received threats as a result of the charges.
Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Bachmann’s witch hunt in the strongest of terms. Anderson Cooper and Jon Stewart both took Bachmann to task on their shows. Democrat Keith Ellison said her charges were “absolutely false,” and Republican John McCain made a spirited defense of the accused on the Senate floor. Accusing people of treason should never be a political tool to advance a career – it can ruin lives, and certainly reputations.
Various others have draw parallels to McCarthyism.
While in the past she’s been marginalized for some pretty ridiculous comments, this most recent fiasco has finalized Bachmann’s split with most other Republicans. As John Boehner pointed out, “accusations like these are pretty dangerous” – not just politically, but morally as well.