How the GOP’s Presidential Hopefuls Joined the Sharia Panic

Eli Lake has published a really essential piece about the lack of a foreign policy consensus in the modern, post-Bush GOP. Read it all, but focus – as it seems most readers are – on the study of Michele Bachmann.

“She really gets it that there is a stealth jihad by radical Islamists in this country,” says Sarah Stern, the president and founder of the Endowment for Middle East Truth. Stern recalls a conversation that she had with Bachmann in the congresswoman’s office in October 2010. Stern says Bachmann was talking about “the depth of radical Islam in Minneapolis.” (Minneapolis was the site of a longtime operation by Al Shabab to recruit Somali-Americans to fight in Somalia.) “She actually said, ‘Right here, coming to a theater near you, we have stealth jihad in Minnesota,’” Stern told me approvingly.

Maybe it’s changing now, as she takes more heat, but the people around Bachmann in Minnesota that I’ve talked to are amazed that she’s so good at threading the needle between religious conservatism and economic conservatism. She’s threading the needle between the religious conservative objections to the spread of Islam and hawkish foreign policy, too – but it’s a specific sort of hawkishness.