Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., can ruffle the feathers of members of his own party as often as he can the Democrats.
Undoubtedly, Republicans are bristling today from McCain's speech Wednesday on the Senate floor in which he fiercely defended Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin from accusations she is part of a conspiracy theory involving the Muslim Brotherhood trying to infiltrate the U.S. government.
Abedin, a Muslim who is married to disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., was the subject of a letter written by four Republicans in the House of Representative - including unsuccessful GOP presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann requesting an investigation into this claim. The letter cited a study from a conservative think tank that said Abedin's mother, her late father who has been dead for 20 years and brother have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Abedin's position gives her immediate access to the highest levels of U.S. policy making.
McCain called the charges "nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant." The charges, he continued, have no basis in fact and "need to stop now."
McCain has become the one prominent Republican who has been willing to stand up against the shrill voices from the far right who are blindly intent on moving the party further from the mainstream of American thought. These types of incendiary charges do nothing to help Republicans. Even more importantly, they do nothing to move the country forward, but only create more anger, and, unfortunately, paralysis of government.
The Muslim Brotherhood has not espoused many pro-Western ideas, but it has never been accused of terrorism, like al Qaida. It is a political organization seeking to bring Islamic-style government to that region of the world. While we may not like it, the party is now the ruling party in Egypt and was freely elected.
The Muslim Brotherhood may bear watching, but not by singling out a U.S. citizen with no record of suspicious behavior.
McCain's speech should not fall on deaf ears.