Michele Bachmann, whose failed presidential 2012 run embroiled her in allegations of campaign-finance violations, has chosen not to run for a fifth term in Congress. This week, the controversial Sixth District congresswoman’s reckless statements broadcast during a recent trip to Egypt served up a reminder of why Minnesota and the nation will be better off once she’s left office.
Bachmann, whose presidential campaign is now the subject of a federal grand jury investigation, has lost none of her capacity in these waning months in Congress to astonish us with her dubious grasp of the truth and careless disregard for potential consequences of statements made in her official capacity.
In most cases, Bachmann’s zest for conspiracies — anti-Americans stalking the halls of Congress, the census being used to round up U.S. citizens — simply leads to a few headlines and leaves people in Minnesota and elsewhere shaking their heads.
But in some situations, Bachmann’s words cross a critical line and have the potential to do real harm. Her 2011 claim that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine causes mental retardation was one of those occasions, since unvaccinated boys and girls face a higher risk of dying from certain cancers.
Bachmann crossed the line again during a visit to Egypt in which she heaped praise on the new, military-led government that not only ousted the nation’s democratically elected president two months ago but in doing so, slaughtered at least 1,000 of its own people.
The New York Times’ account of the witless ramblings from Bachmann and two Republican U.S. House colleagues reads like something out of the best of the Onion.
According to the Times, Bachmann and Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa — both of whom are in the running to become the new face of the fringe element in Congress once Bachmann departs — were in Cairo on Sunday. In an interview, they conveyed a jaw-dropping message to the new government. “Keep up the good work” is how the Times summed it up.
“We are here as members of Congress to say, ‘We are with you, and we encourage you,’ ” said Bachmann, who also inaccurately implied that the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s main political opposition party, led the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
… Bachmann’s office did not respond to an editorial writer’s requests for comment, but did send out a news release saying she was traveling with a bipartisan delegation to discuss security and economic issues with world leaders.
While such congressional travels aren’t unusual, few require damage control. Bachmann’s lack of common sense in Cairo is another reminder of why she won’t be missed here or in Washington when her term ends.”
– From an editorial in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis / St. Paul)