Republican leaders have recently tried to back away slowly from the Tea Partying style that defined the party during its primary, and that has been complicated by Michele Bachmann's charge that Huma Abedin must be investigated for the "potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration" of the Obama administration. Bachmann's charge -- in a letter co-signed by four other congressmen -- has been denounced by many Republicans, including Sen. John McCain and Scott Brown, as well as House Speaker John Boehner. While Boehner wouldn't answer when a reporter asked Thursday whether Bachmann would be kicked off the House Intelligence Committee, "Behind the scenes, leadership aides said they were shaken by the comments from someone as prominent as Bachmann," Politico's Jake Sherman reports. And Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the committee, "was described by several sources as incredibly angry" when told what Bachmann did.
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That implies they expected this kind of behavior from yahoos like Bachmann's fellow letter-writer, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has a history of saying false things, like that there are plots involving "terror babies" or that the U.S. gives $100 billion a year in aid to the Muslim Brotherhood. Bachmann is way more famous than Gohmert, though. She ran for president and briefly polled ahead of Mitt Romney.
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Republican leaders have been working to look more focused on the economy, and to quiet Tea Party distractions. It reportedly took more than a year for House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa and others to convince Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to hold a vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Fast and Furious operation. Boehner feared Issa's committee would embarrass Republicans the way Rep. Dan Burton did when he shot a pumpkin in his yard in 1994 to prove that Bill Clinton aide Vince Foster had been murdered. Even after Issa convinced his leaders, they scheduled the Holder vote to happen just after the Supreme Court would hand down its ruling on Obamacare, guaranteeing the story would be drowned out in news coverage.
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Still, you can see why Boehner wouldn't want to answer whether he'll kick Bachmann off the committee. She's quite popular among some Republican voters, which you can see a sample of at the blog Reaganite Republican Resistance, which I'm pretty sure is not a parody. (It discusses wide-ranging evidence that Abedin is a Muslim Brotherhood plant, including that she "has a brother named Hassan" who works at Oxford University and that Hillary Clinton might be a lesbian.) And Bachmann is not backing down, of course. On Glenn Beck's radio show Thursday, she spun quite a yarn about Muslim radicals infiltrating the government, sounding like a modern Joe McCarthy. Not only have radicals infiltrated the government, they've prevented non-radicals from figuring out who they are:
So now the FBI, who are supposed to be trained in radical Islam, elements have been purged off their training materials so they are no longer being taught about what radical Islam is in order to be able to truly identify it ahead of time. This is serious. This is also happening throughout our United States military, Department of Justice, and Homeland Security. And the word “purge” isn’t my word. That’s the word used by the 50 Muslim organizations. They demanded that the president purge the training materials and the trainers. And so already people have been fired who formerly were teaching what radical Islam is. They’ve been fired or they’ve been reassigned. And they ask that the library be purged. Americans don’t purge libraries, but they demanded that the FBI’s library be purged.