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Republicans Suddenly Denounce Baseless Attacks, Anti-Muslim Intolerance

Submitted by on July 20, 2012 – 1:08 pm3 Comments

I really shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but the GOP seems to be siding with tolerance and reason instead of taking cheap shots at Muslims (and Clintons). When Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged earlier this week that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, lawmakers at the highest levels of her own party denounced her in unusually strong and unequivocal terms.

Bachmann and several other Republicans sent letters to several inspectors general in the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Office of National Intelligence, questioning whether the Muslim Brotherhood could be infiltrating the US government. The letter specifically named Abedin.

Abedin was born in Michigan, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and is a practicing Muslim. She has been with Hillary Clinton since Clinton’s days in the White House, and is one of the secretary’s closest confidantes. Abedin is also the wife of former Democratic representative Anthony Weiner.

The floodgates opened when Sen. John McCain stepped up on the Senate floor and delivered one of those speeches that reminds us of the “maverick” truth teller he once was. In a scathing rebuke, he  not only denounced the attacks, but praised Abedin:

“When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

House Majority leader John Boehner similarly called the allegations “pretty dangerous,” and said that what he knew of Abedin was her “sterling reputation.”

Politico rounds up some of the other Republican responses here, all of which denounce Bachmann in powerful terms.

Rep. Bachmann has stood by her concerns in subsequent statements.

I’m struck by how forceful and unqualified the response to Bachmann has been. At the least, I though some conservatives would jump at the chance to knock a Clinton-by-proxy, as many still bear grudges against the high-profile Dems.

Compare this response to the Republican support for Rep. Peter King‘s McCarthy-like hearings on “Muslim-American Radicalization.” Other baseless attacks provoked a lukewarm (or nonexistent) response from conservatives include Rush Limbaugh‘s infamous statements about Sandra Fluke, or any of the birther/racist/Marxist/terrorist nonsense lobbed at our Commander-in-Chief, and it’s quite remarkable.

A cynic might say that the Republicans are trying to appeal to moderates and undecideds now that the general election is ahead; and now that Bachmann is no longer a presidential candidate, she is not powerful enough to deflect such attacks. An optimist might say that these unfounded accusations based largely on religion and ethnicity were simply a bridge too far, and politicians wouldn’t stand to see a lifelong civil servant (or any American) insulted like that.

What do you think?


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