…and the contributions just keep rollin’ in!
(During a radio interview Rep. Michele Bachmann) suggested Obama was complicit in a movement by Islamist groups to impose Shariah law worldwide. The interview with Janet Mefferd, a Dallas-based Christian broadcaster, came two days after Obama addressed the U.N. and two weeks after a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
Citing the Libya attack and unrest in the Middle East, Bachmann said “riots and terrorism” were part of a plot to force Shariah law dominance over the U.S. Constitution. Obama, Bachmann said, “either doesn’t know what’s happening or he’s playing along with what their goal is.”
Oh, he knows what’s goin’ on, alright.
The mystery here is: why did the St. Cloud Times go with this headline for the story (“Civil rights group campaigning to kick Bachmann off committee”)…instead of this one (“Bachmann: ‘Obama may be part of Shariah Law conspiracy”)?
The St. Cloud Times headline choice means that more people outside Bachmann’s district are likely to learn about her latest conspiracy allegation–than the people inside Bachmann’s district. Why? Because Bachmann made the charge on the Janet Mefford radio program, “a distinctively Christ-centered look at the news and events of the day” syndicated nationally.
The St. Cloud Times is usually better on the Bachmann story than the Strib or the PiPress. I don’t know why they presented the latest Bachmann consipiracy theory as a secondary concern in this news story. (The emphasis of their story is on People for the American Way, a group that’s trying to get Bachmann and other conspiracy mongers off the House Intelligence Committee.)
The article notes that Bachmann has her defenders on the conspiracy thing: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and (see if you can guess the next one, he’s a current foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney)…
…that’s right, John Bolton! The former George Bush ambassador to the United Nations who said:
“There is no United Nations… there is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that´s the United States, when it suits our interests, and when we can get others to go along.”
Yeah, that’s one of Romney’s “go to” guys on foreign policy–unilateral, go it alone, the United Nations thing is BS. Here’s how he defended Bachmann on the conspiracy theory:
“What is wrong with raising the question? Why isn’t even asking whether we’re living up to our standards a legitimate level of congressional oversight?” Bolton asked on a radio show hosted by Frank Gaffney, considered the architect of the Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy theory.
What’s wrong with suggesting that the President of the United States is party to a conspiracy to impose Sharia law on the US? Well, first and most importantly: the charge is nuts. There’s no credible foundation for it, unless you’re already the kind of nut inclined to believe it. There’s no documentation or credible evidence of an Obama plan to impose Sharia law, no support for the charge in the foreign policy community or intelligence community.
That’s the first thing that’s wrong with it. The second thing that’s wrong with it: is the same thing that’s wrong with telling someone their house is on fire–when it isn’t. It’s the same thing that’s wrong with yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. If you can’t show that there really is a fire, you’re out to cause panic and crisis where none exist.
Which brings us back to Joe McCarthy, the spiritual godfather of modern Republican strategy. At the height of the Cold War, with troops on the ground in Korea and the Soviets developing the hydrogen bomb, Joe McCarthy sought political gain by telling Americans that more than two hundred Communists had already penetrated the US State Department, “shaping policy.”
The charge was false. But it did cause a panic in the first half of the nineteen-fifties and it did pay off politically for McCarthy. And all he was doing was making the charge and “asking questions.”
By the time McCarthy was shown up as a liar and fraud, the cause of anti-communism in the US had suffered a severe blow: a loss of credibility in the US that stretched beyond the next two decades.
Using public office to spread false conspiracy theories works–if all that matters is the liar’s career and influence. But the lies damage the US, sowing hatred and dividing the country in the face of a very real enemy.
That’s what’s wrong with “asking these kinds of ‘questions.’” As if they didn’t know.