It’s been decades since Georgia had a Congressman as wacky as GOP Rep. Paul Broun, who occupies a notch on the far-right-wing fringe. You’d probably have to go back to the late Larry McDonald, who behaved like a character from the 1960s cult film “Dr. Strangelove.” (Well, okay, Cynthia McKinney may have occupied the same spot at the opposite end of the spectrum.)
Ever out for ways to embarrass his constituents, Broun joined with three other wingnut congressmen yesterday — Reps. John Shadegg (Ariz.), Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Sue Myrick (N.C.) —to declare that a Muslim advocacy group is trying to “infiltrate” Capitol Hill by planting interns as “spies.” They asked the House Sargeant at Arms to launch a formal investigation of the Center for American-Islamic American (CAIR).
CAIR is a mainstream, all-American civil liberties and advocacy group that tries to eliminate bias against Muslims and advance the integration of Muslim-Americans into the American mainstream, like countless other minority advocacy groups. In 2004 CAIR launched a “Not In the Name of Islam” petition in order to “disassociate the faith of Islam from the violent acts of a few Muslims.”
So what did Broun and his colleagues have as “evidence”? A CAIR strategy document that says, among other things, they would try to place Muslim as interns on Capitol Hill. CAIR probably figures nothing would help their image more than having well-educated, hard-working young Muslim Americans working in congressional offices.
But Broun et al see a terrorist plot, a 2009 version of the Manchurian Candidate. What crackpots.