Opinion

Bernd Debusmann

America’s Republican extremists

Bernd Debusmann
Jul 20, 2012 16:24 UTC

The United States is in grave danger from domestic enemies:  Infiltrators from the Muslim Brotherhood have wormed their way into sensitive government positions, Communists wield influence in the House of Representatives, and President Barack Obama hates America and is trying to dismantle, brick by brick, the American Dream.

The first two assertions – Muslim infiltrators and Communists in Congress – come from Republican members of Congress. The third comes from the host of the radio talk show with the biggest audience in the United States. All three merit pondering about the current state of the Republican Party, a mainstay of American democracy for more than 150 years.

A brief look at the details of the claims first. In June, Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a radio interview that “it appears there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood.” In letters that came to light in mid-July, she asked the inspectors general of four government departments to launch inquiries into the depth of Muslim penetration.

Bachmann’s letter to the Department of State pointed to Huma Abedin, a top aide of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as grounds for “serious security concerns.” The letter, co-signed by four other Republican lawmakers, quoted an anti-Muslim organization as saying Abedin had family members with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

That claim prompted angry rebukes from the man who ran her unsuccessful campaign for the presidency, Ed Rollins, and from Senator John McCain, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008. Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist, combined criticism of Bachmann’s “far-fetched” charges with a warning about the future of the party: “The Republican Party… is going to become irrelevant if we become the party of intolerance and hate.”

Time to end America’s two-party system?

Bernd Debusmann
Aug 5, 2011 19:00 UTC

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Confidence in the U.S. Congress is at a historic low, more than half of Americans think that the Republican and Democratic parties are doing such a bad job that a third party is needed, and the word “dysfunction” has been common currency in the drawn-out debate over the national debt.

Does this mean the bells are tolling for the Republican-Democratic duopoly which has dominated American political life for more than 150 years?

The answer is yes for a budding political force that aims to get the millions of voters who are disaffected by the present system to bypass the traditional selection of presidential candidates through primary elections.

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