'Gentlemen's Club' Gangs Up on Bachmann
The latest skirmish in the growing war within the GOP began when John McCain took to the Senate floor last week to lecture Michele Bachmann and other GOP Representatives about their letters to various federal officials regarding Muslim Brotherhood influence within the U.S. government. (See also: Obama Administration Draws Closer to Egypt's Moslem Brotherhood.)
McCain was followed by a predictable limbo line -- how low can you go? -- of Republican bigwigs, elected and unelected, most of them singling out Bachmann for mockery after she had the temerity to suggest that some of America's enemies might be trying to infiltrate the government in order to affect foreign policy decisions. (Imagine that!)
McCain, John Boehner, et al., for all their (real or feigned) outrage over Bachmann's call for an investigation into the process of granting a security clearance to Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, have offered no rational grounds for condemning the congresswoman's statements. In fact, they have thoroughly exaggerated and misrepresented the position presented in the letter at issue, which, with regard to Abedin, merely asks whether she was properly questioned regarding immediate family associations with an international organization dedicated to goals antithetical to U.S. interests.
I encourage you to read all of the letters in question, including and especially the one sent to the State Department, which includes the brief mention of Abedin, and which provides a list of actions by the department, and by Secretary Clinton in particular, which seem to serve the interests of Islamists while gaining nothing for the U.S.
McCain, in his spirited scolding, defended Ms. Abedin as having "devoted countless days of her life to advancing the ideals of the nation she loves."
Interesting -- does that mean he thinks Abedin's boss, Secretary Clinton, is advancing "the ideals of the nation she loves"? And what ideals would those be, exactly?
Hillary Clinton's senior thesis was a sympathetic critique of radical socialist "community organizer" Saul Alinsky. In 2003, she cited as her primary disagreement with Alinsky his view that radical change could not be achieved from within the system. (That is, she thinks it can be achieved from within.) During her husband's presidency, she instigated the most vigorous pre-Obama effort to pave the way for socialized medicine in America. She offered public support and credibility to Yasser Arafat, famously kissing Mrs. Arafat on stage after the latter had accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian children. When President Clinton faced the kind of accusations that any long-time wife and close co-worker would have known were plausible in the extreme, she chose to "defend" him by leading a propaganda effort alleging a "vast right-wing conspiracy." She popularized the squishy leftist phrase "It takes a village." And so on and on.
Huma Abedin, as McCain puts it, "has risen to the highest levels of government" -- and she has done so in the camp of Mrs. Clinton, who heads a State Department that has strongly supported the so-called Arab Spring, which, in turn, has led to a resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force, greater political "legitimacy" for radical Islamism, and an increase in the number of nations in which the destruction of Israel is regarded as a mainstream policy matter.
McCain continues: "These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant."
Without accusing Abedin herself of any wrongdoing, it might be noted that this same glowing defense has probably been offered for every person who has ever subsequently been discovered to be working covertly on behalf of foreign interests. (See also: Saleha Abedin and Muslim Sisterhood.) Such things really have happened, of course, and in every case, the subversive in question had long appeared to be "honorable," "dedicated," and a "loyal" public servant. Fostering a good reputation with establishment dupes is part of the subversive's job description. (I emphasize once again that I have no grounds for making any accusation against Ms. Abedin. My point is that McCain's "defense" is at least as unsubstantiated as anything in the letter he is lambasting.)
McCain's condescending elder statesman attack demonstrates the typical GOP facilitation of America's long march into statism. "Oh yes," the sober elders intone, "we may not see eye to eye on every issue, but my good friend across the aisle" -- who happens not to believe in property rights, wants the government to seize ever-increasing unconstitutional authority, is working to reduce Americans to a hateful mass of entitlement-dependent children, and wishes to cede American foreign policy to U.N. supervision -- "is just as patriotic as I am."
More interesting, however, than this general establishment instinct to protect its own is the peculiarity with which the establishment defines "its own." Notice that they have leapt to defend an "honorable woman" who has "devoted countless days of her life to advancing the ideals of the nation she loves," while yet again mercilessly feeding Congresswoman Bachmann -- steadfast champion of conservative principles, powerful GOP fundraiser, Tea Party favorite -- to the media wolves.
Isn't Bachmann, too, an "honorable woman"? Hasn't she devoted at least as many days as Ms. Abedin to "advancing the ideals of the nation she loves"? And yet, from Senator McCain, she gets this: "These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack[.]" And this: "These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations[.]" And this: "These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now."
From her former presidential campaign chairman Ed Rollins, Bachmann gets this: "I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level."
And from Bachmann's immediate "superior," Speaker Boehner (who admits not knowing Abedin, and not having read the letter in question), Bachmann gets this: "From everything that I do know of [Abedin], she has a sterling character and I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous." What accusations? Dangerous in what way? To whom? On what grounds?
And how does Boehner feel about Bachmann's character? Not "sterling" enough, apparently, to warrant at least the pro forma defense one might expect from the immediate superior of a woman coming under public attack.
And here we get to the nub of it, it seems to me. The letters at the center of this controversy were signed by five members of Congress. Four of them are men. The fifth -- and the only one whose name is being dragged through the mud -- is Bachmann. Notice anything interesting about that?
Rollins, McCain, Boehner, Scott Brown, and the rest of the insiders are not out there saying, as Rollins did of Bachmann, "Louie Gohmert's accusations are extreme and dishonest," or "Shame on you, Trent Franks!" The accusations of extremism and ethical impropriety are all directed at Bachmann, and Bachmann alone.
Sarah Palin comes under attack from the establishment often enough -- but Palin's manner is to grab her shotgun and say, "Bring it on!" Bachmann's public demeanor, by contrast, is more, shall we say, traditional. She is unrelenting in proclaiming her principles, but she remains feminine in her tone.
One of the lasting images from the GOP primaries is Bachmann pouring water for all the male candidates at the "Thanksgiving Family Forum" debate. (See here.) Feminists hated that moment. And in this instance, at least, the feminists are joined in their scorn by the GOP establishment.
Five congressmen had the courage to raise issues of national security that today's climate of political correctness, reaching from the State Department to the U.S. military, has rendered taboo. The establishmentarians, wishing to bury these uncomfortable questions, have tried to erase four signatures from the scenario, and to pin everything on Michele Bachmann. They have apparently calculated that the public and the media have been primed to accept the usual "hysterical woman" smear against her, and will therefore permit the broader underlying issue -- the methods of "civilization jihad" being pursued by radical Islamists in America -- to fade quickly from view.
Shakespeare liked to present women who took on traditional men's roles (and clothes) temporarily in order to right the ship, when their men were too weak or confused to take care of things themselves. Today's weak-kneed GOP men are unwilling to allow the modern version of this comedy to reach its happy resolution. They prefer to sacrifice Bachmann to the cause of politically correct denial.
The left likes to portray conservatives as being engaged in a war on women. This, of course, is utterly false. The truth is actually much subtler: certain portions of the Republican establishment are engaged in a war of their own against conservative women, who -- like the Tea Party with which these women are closely identified -- make them nervous.
The Washington establishment (formerly known as Rockefeller Republicans) has long been seen as a bland old "gentlemen's club." As is clear from their treatment of Michele Bachmann in recent days, that perception is false. For in truth, it appears there is not a gentleman among them.