It's not as if it's particularly hard to find reasons to be embarrassed by the re-election of Michele Bachmann. She pumps out gaffes and pants-on-fire moments with such gay abandon that it's mostly a matter of picking the best of the best.
That's what the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has done. In fact, CREW ranked her the No. 1 most embarrassing re-elected member of Congress for all of 2010.[jump]
The list included an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, for those of you keeping score at home.
CREW's most noteworthy Bachmannisms: Illegally using her official House website to organize an anti-healthcare rally on Capitol grounds; and some good old-fashioned McCarthyism.
Perhaps space was a consideration. There was plenty of embarrassment to go around.
In November 2009, CREW filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling for an investigation into whether Rep. Bachmann violated House rules by using her official website to organize a rally opposing a health care reform bill on U.S. Capitol grounds. Rep. Bachmann also failed to obtain a proper permit for the demonstration.
House rules restrict members from using their websites to engage in "grassroots lobbying" or to solicit support for a member's position. Rep. Bachmann's website urged people to come to the Capitol rally "and tell their Representatives to vote no" on the health care reform bill.
On October 17, 2008, Rep. Bachmann appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," where she accused Sen. Barack Obama of harboring anti-American views and associating with a terrorist.
At one point in the interview, Rep. Bachmann seemed to equate liberalism with anti-Americanism. She prompted comparisons to Sen. Joe McCarthy when she called on the media to conduct a "penetrating exposé" to discover which members of Congress were "pro-America or anti-America."
A few days later, Rep. Bachmann partially recanted her remarks, claiming she had "made a big mistake" going on a show she had never seen and conceding she "should not have used" the phrase "anti American." Rep. Bachmann also denied making disparaging remarks about Sen. Obama and calling for a media-led inquisition into Congress' alleged "anti-American" views. Yet at a fundraiser in March 2010, she said that her words had proven prophetic. "I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views," Rep. Bachmann said. "And now I look like Nostradamus."
Somehow, we doubt she's putting that trophy on her fireplace mantle.