Anytime you are compared to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy — he of “red scare” infamy — it’s probably not very good for your political career.

That’s the situation Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann found herself in this past week after it came to light that she and four other House Republicans had sent letters to the inspectors general of the departments of Homeland Security, State and Justice, asking them to look into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has tentacles within the U.S. government.

One of their targets was Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime personal aide, who, the letter alleged, has three relatives with ties to the Islamic group.

(Abedin is also the wife of Democratic former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner.)

The focus on Abedin angered Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who took to the Senate floor to castigate his House colleagues.

He called the attacks “sinister” and described Abedin as “an intelligent, upstanding, hardworking and loyal servant of our country and our government.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also rebuked his colleagues, saying Thursday that “accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

Heck, even CNN’s Wolf Blitzer — a paragon of fairness — joined the Bachmann pile-on, describing the allegation against Abedin as “an outrageous McCarthy-like charge.”

Bachmann, who is typically ubiquitous on the cable chat circuit, went silent in the face of the outrage; but the damage was done.

Michele Bachmann, for turning yourself into a modern-day McCarthy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Chris Cillizza is a political reporter at The Washington Post.

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