It’s been a long time since we’ve used our oscilloscopes to peer inside the extradimensional manifold known as Michele Bachmann’s head. Frankly, that place weirds us out. Since Representative Bachmann went from being a person who stood no chance of becoming president to being a person whom no other people thought stood a chance of et cetera, we’ve welcomed the respite from her mouth-sounds. Unfortunately, it was only the eye of the storm. On Friday, while the Combat! interns were distracted by Japandroids, Bachmann came roaring back to demand that national security agencies investigate infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the US government. Strap on your fallacy masks; we’re going inside.
Along with four other House members, Bachmann has sent letters to the heads of five national security agencies alleging that highly-placed federal officials have ties to the Brotherhood, an international organization committed to resisting western influence and establishing Muslim governments in the Middle East. Because she is a nice lady, Bachmann has specifically targeted Huma Abedin, wife of well-documented former congressman Anthony Weiner and aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a follow-up to her original letter, Bachmann questions why Abedin was given security clearance despite “family connections” to the MB.
Here’s how you get from Abedin—who is married to one of the House’s most ardent defenders of Israel—to the Muslim Brotherhood: Abedin’s deceased father, Syed Abedin, founded an organization that received the “quiet but active support” of a former founder of the Muslim World League, which was connected to the Brotherhood in Europe during the 1970s and 80s via their shared opposition to Gamal Abdul Nasser. Basically, Huma Abedin’s dead dad started an NGO approved by another dead guy who started an NGO approved by the Muslim Brotherhood 30 years ago.
A similar number of steps will connect Abedin to the dude who played Carlton, and we all know that Will Smith once welcomed alien invaders to Earth. By comparison, none of Michele Bachmann’s dead relatives’ friends ever did a damn thing, so the congresswoman has a case. It’s just, you know, a terrible one.
Reading an article in the Brigham Young Law Review that begins with the sentence Most public debate on Islam today…is locked into views of Islam…which have attracted the attention of centuries of observation and scholarship will not get you to Muslim conspiracy in the federal government. Muslim conspiracy in the federal government might get you to that article, though. It is therefore fair to wonder whether Bachmann started with her belief and then went looking for evidence. As usual with Bachmann head-space science, we must consider multiple possibilities:
- Michele Bachmann believes that Huma Abedin is part of a Muslim conspiracy that extends not only across continents but beyond the grave.
- Michele Bachmann wants attention.
Which of these explanations seems more plausible comes down to a perennially contentious question in the field: Is Representative Bachmann stupid? She is definitely stupid in the sense that it’s stupid to remake Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But is she stupid like this?
We are in an even-numbered year, after all. Alleging a vast Muslim conspiracy is a way for Bachmann to insert herself into the national conversation at a moment when election coverage threatens to ignore her personal bid. From the perspective of Minnesotans, she is a weak candidate. Since joining the House in 2006, Bachmann has sponsored exactly zero bills that went on to become laws. She is a master at garnering national press, though. By launching a McCarthy-style witch hunt, she reminds voters of the defining aspect of her career: she is totally against that Muslim Obama.
Personally, I regard Bachmann’s latest crazy theory as a cynical bid for national news coverage. But who can say? Maybe she does believe that Huma Abedin is a puppet whose strings run back to Cairo; she believes that the Earth is 6000 years old, after all. As usual, claims about what’s going on in Michele Bachmann’s head are purely conjectural. Maybe that explains why everything that comes out of there is conjectural, too.