GOP Rep. Mike Simpson said Friday that Rep. Michele Bachmanns claim that an extremist Islamic group has infiltrated the U.S. government is a rebirth of McCarthyism that must be condemned.
I thought it was outrageous, the seven-term lawmaker told the Statesman editorial board. We dont need to go back to those days. I thought wed learned our lesson when (Wisconsin Sen. Joseph) McCarthy finally went down.
Simpson said publicity about the former presidential candidate from Minnesota stains the Republican Party. The public says, There go those Republicans again. Its a bad reflection on all Republicans. I cant believe the other four members she got to sign the letter with her. Amazing.
Bachmann has said the Muslim Brotherhood has managed a deep penetration in the halls of our United States government. She accused Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of having family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Bachmann wrote that Abedins mother, brother and late father were connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives or groups.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., defended Abedin in a floor speech last month. 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.
Bachmann was joined by fellow Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia in writing inspectors general in the departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice and the Office of National Intelligence about whether the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the government.
On another national story, Simpson said making former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush the vice presidential nominee would assure the GOP wins Florida.
Bush helps you with the Hispanic vote, Simpson said. The negative is that his last name is Bush. That brings up a challenge. But, frankly, I think Jeb is probably I dont know if sharpest is the right word but I think hes the most attractive of all the Bushes.
Simpson said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell also would be good choices.
But Simpson said Bush, who served eight years as governor, has experience that Rubio, a freshman senator, lacks. Jeb has more gravitas, Simpson said. I think the knock against Rubio although I think Rubio is a great guy and has a real future is that hes still pretty young and fairly inexperienced. Almost as inexperienced as Obama was when he ran for president.
Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics