So, was Michele Bachmann serious when she claimed that the earthquake and Hurricane Irene were acts of God designed to get Congress’ attention about overspending, or was she making a joke?
The fact that there is even controversy about this says something about where many of us think Michele Bachmann’s reality compass is pointing. If it was intended “in jest,” as her campaign publicist now claims, I don’t recommend that Ms. Bachmann take her act to the Catskills just yet. In these situations, it’s best to keep quiet, but if you find that you must tell a joke making light of a catastrophe that has claimed dozens of lives, it had better be a real knee-slapper, which this one wasn’t. It showed remarkable insensitivity to those who lost loved ones.
For the sake of argument, however, let’s say that Rep. Bachmann really meant to say what she said. I think this is a valid exercise, because she also meant it when she said that the battles of Lexington and Concord took place in New Hampshire, and that members of Congress should be investigated for harboring anti-American sentiments. Claiming that God wreaked his vengeance upon the East Coast to convince Congress to hew to her fiscal philosophy is a breathtaking assumption that puts her in the same category with crazies like Rev. Pat Robertson.
Not only that, but claiming to know what motivates God’s actions borders on blasphemy, even in Ms. Bachmann’s book. Either way, as joke or sincere statement, the comment was indefensible.
To those who feel I am making too much of this, I would quote Ms. Bachmann’s own brush-away response when confronted with awkward questions like, “Do you think gays are an abomination?” That being, “I’m running for President of the United States of America.”
Exactly. This is not the kind of statement that should ever issue from a would-be American president’s mouth, even “in jest,” no matter how strongly her followers may agree with it. She’s way out of her league.