Chris Cillizza
Reporter July 20, 2012

Anytime you are compared to former senator Joseph McCarthy — he of “red scare” infamy — it’s probably not very good for your political career.

That’s the situation Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) found herself in this past week after it came to light that she and four other House Republicans had sent letters to the inspectors general of the departments of Homeland Security, State and Justice, asking them to look into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has tentacles within the U.S. government.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. View Archive

One of their targets was Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime personal aide, who, the letter alleged, has three relatives with ties to the Islamic group. (Abedin is also the wife of Democratic former congressman Anthony Weiner.)

The focus on Abedin angered Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who took to the Senate floor to castigate his House colleagues. He called the attacks “sinister” and described Abedin as “an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working and loyal servant of our country and our government.” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) also rebuked his colleagues, saying Thursday that “accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

Heck, even CNN’s Wolf Blitzer — a paragon of fairness — joined the Bachmann pile-on, describing the allegation against Abedin as “an outrageous McCarthy-like charge.”

Bachmann, who is typically ubiquitous on the cable chat circuit, went silent in the face of the outrage. But the damage was done.

Michele Bachmann, for turning yourself into a modern-day McCarthy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@wpost.com.

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