The Tea Party has added a populist lunacy to politics which is both highly amusing as it is deeply disturbing. Case in point grabbing my attention recently is the shenanigans of my favorite Tea Party loose canon, Michele Bachmann.
Congresswoman Bachmann’s quirky personality compels her to scheme a way to keep her face projected on my television.
Her latest attempt is her paranoid campaign against infiltration of the United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood. Huma Abedin, Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was Congresswoman Bachmann’s first target. Smearing fellow Congressman Keith Elison (D-MN) created a second victim.
That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record. I have no information in my committee that would indicate that Huma is anything other than an American patriot.
– Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI)
The McCarthy style attacks are not too surprisingly bovine excrement. Don’t believe me? Watch the conservative reaction. A darling of Fox News, the network heavily promoted Congresswoman Bachmann for president until her campaign clearly hit the ditch. It’s telling Congresswoman Bachmann is getting no traction on this issue on the conservative cable network’s programming. Searching their web site, it appears Congresswoman Bachmann’s main purpose on air at Fox News is a reliable and frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act. The story did bubble up to Fox News’ propaganda blogging arm, Fox Nation. Not a very high standard of legitimacy. After fellow Republicans Senator McCain and Speaker of the House Boehner hit the news criticizing her attacks, Fox News did run the wire service stories on their web site.
Did parent Fox News keep its distance because big name establishment Republicans like Senator McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner quickly took the unusual step of criticizing a fellow party member’s strange accusations? Or perhaps it reflects their embarrassment that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart skewers Bachmann’s clown act by lampooning how she’s actually more closely tied to Muslim Terrorists than her latest target, Huma Abedin.
Huma Abedin and husband Anthony Weiner
Not that Huma Abedin’s name hasn’t come up on Fox News’ cable fare during this storm. She’s married to disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner who the panel show The Five spent considerable time mocking. The “fair and balanced” panel comprised of 4 conservatives and 1 ineffective liberal punching bag (in this case Bob Beckel) feigned sympathy for his wife. Didn’t catch a mention of Bachmann though. The Five is typical Fox News programming featuring the triumph of conservatism over the corruption of liberalism. But I digress.
So what’s Congresswoman Bachmann’s case against Huma Abedin? She created a Rube Goldberg series of connections going through Huma’s deceased father. We all know playing the Six Degrees of Separation game is child’s play. Watch Stewart master it as he skewers Bachmann’s silliness to prove she has closer links to terrorism.
– Jon’s skit starts around the 3:50 mark.
Tea Party government infiltration conspiracy theories are nothing new. Tea Party Congressman Alan West (R-FL) is convinced many of his Democratic colleagues are Communists, a point Fox News’ Sean Hannity lent a hand to recently to sanitize hoping to tamp down blogoshere snickering. Then there’s a foundational Tea Party ideology sucking hard into the myth the Federal Reserve is entirely a private entity run by private banks for the purpose of earning massive profits. Need I mention the Birthers who occasionally breech the radical Muslim in the White House talking point?
To be fair, Congresswoman Bachmann isn’t the only mainstream politician shilling this crackpot notion. She had a couple of other Republican accomplices sitting in the back seat of the clown car: Trent Franks (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Thomas Rooney (FL), and Lynn Westmoreland (GA). However, Bachmann’s effective marketing machine propels her to the foreground on the issue.
Enter right-wing crackpot Glenn Beck. How do I know he’s a crackpot? Well, even Roger Ailes, president of the Fox News conservative propaganda mill, got his fill of Beck and canned him. Since leaving Fox News Beck has prospered as a mushroom returning pretty much into the shadows of conservative punditry preaching to his huge, faithful choir. Congresswoman Bachmann not only received a warm reception on his program, he actively agitated her position. Not that I’m surprised. Beck not only is a fellow conservative who, like Michele, wears the Tea Party on his sleeve but was famous – or infamous is more like it – on his Fox News show for his own brand of wacky Six Degrees of Separation conspiracy theories elaborately drawn out on his chalk board. Prior to interviewing Congresswoman Bachmann he’d already done a documentary exposing “what this president is doing with the Muslim Brotherhood and how it is infiltrating all levels” of government.
It’s moments like this I don’t know whether to cry or laugh.
The Tea Party is the legendary ‘angry white male’ crowd Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have milked for years for profits and, in the bargain, agitated into a frenzy. Conservatives would argue Michele Bachmann and Alan West would prove the ‘angry white male’ label dated and false but statistically it largely holds. Not that race or sex is the issue. At its heart it’s the puritanical version of conservatism that’s become twisted by mostly avoiding the crucible of wider media scrutiny. In fact, the so-called “mainstream media” is completely scorned by these folks making the work of the Limbaughs and Becks of this world so much easier. The Tea Party crowd loves to be told exactly what they want to hear.
Which brings me full circle back to my premise summarized by this post’s title: Is Michele Bachmann tied to Muslim terrorists? As Fox News has taught me you can throw out any partisan smear in the form of a question without repercussion. It’s the “Hey, I was just asking” excuse. So I asked. Unlike Fox News, I won’t let the implication of my question linger past my analysis. Of course not. Jon Stewart, the source of my evidence of her dubious personal ties, is using satire to skewer Bachmann’s transparent hypocrisy and how lame her conspiracy theory is.
Jon Stewart is hilarious with his Six Degrees of Separation skit. Michele Bachmann’s similar comedy act is funny too. Yet, she’s serious. Beck’s serious. He’s got something like 6.5 million fans who largely take him seriously. The only reason this issue reached the crucible of the larger media is because of Congresswoman Bachmann’s big mouth. There’s tons of other bovine excrement created by the Becks of the world feeding the ideology of the Tea Party that never reaches the larger light of day. That’s not funny in the least.
As nutty as I find Michele Bachmann, it’s interesting the way out there Tea Party representative is near the top of contribution earners in the Republican Party. She’s as powerful as she is cracked so maybe it shouldn’t surprise me that belatedly the right wing has come out to support her including my own Congressman, Eric Cantor. He’s in good company with Rush Limbaugh, Frank Gaffney and his buddy John Bolton plus Newt Gingrich.
This provides an example, in my humble opinion, of crackpot right-wing talk radio running the Republican Party. Recall, Michele Bachmann first gained traction by visiting the inbred Tea Party world of the Glenn Beck program. Toss in the support of top of the heap Rush Limbaugh and no Republican will cross the line.