As she falls in the national polls, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann still has a knack for making headlines. But instead of her usual history-related gaffe, Bachmann made a joke about the one-two punch of natural disasters (a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and Hurricane Irene) that were visited upon the East Coast this past week. And though a Bachmann spokesperson quickly issued a statement to Talking Points Memo that insisted the Minnesota congresswoman was joking, it is not unheard of for jokes to be used for serious observations and commentary (ask Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert). And given some of Bachmann’s comments in the past, her joke was serious.
Bachmann, who is a government-killing defunding fiscal conservative, has made no effort to hide that she wants to limit, restrict or dismantle major portions of the federal government. According to the St. Petersburg Times, while speaking before an audience in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday, she seemed to imply that God had something to say about the matter as well.
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” she told the crowd. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
When there began to be blowback from her remarks — some taking exception to Bachmann’s insinuation that God chooses sides in political battles — the GOP presidential contender’s camp issued a statement that she had been joking.
But all joking aside, Bachmann has shown time and again that she believes that God is on her side, encouraging her politically. By extension, if that were to be so, then her political positions — and those who are in agreement with her — must be divinely supported as well.
She told a congregation of churchgoers in 2006 that God wanted her to go to law school. Then she was divinely inspired to enter politics and to run for Congress. In June, she told the Iowa Press that she had answered a “calling” to run for president.
“Well, every decision that I make I pray about as does my husband and I can tell you, yes, I’ve had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do.”
She said in an interview with World Net Daily in 2009 that she would not do anything, including running for president, without the approval of God.
So was Bachmann’s reference to God only a joke? Partially, but only insofar as the phrasing is concerned. It was also a serious comment on what she believes about the political situation in Washington and what God wants. It was a serious statement made in a joking matter.
Make no joke about it — the Congresswoman was serious.