One thing Michele Bachmann has not demonstrated---besides a basic understanding of how the government and the economy work, a fifth grader’s knowledge of history, and a solid grounding in reality---is a sense of humor. Bachmann is not quick with a joke. She hasn’t even shown she has the ability to appreciate a joke or recognize one. Up till this past weekend, at any rate.
Suddenly, she’s a comedian. And her favorite topics for humor are God and natural disasters.
Check out this knee-slapper.
I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?'
Ok, I’m still waiting for the punchline, but her aides insist she was going for the yuks.
"Obviously she was saying it in jest," campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told TPM.
This is it? The new company line? The thing that we’ve been told is most important to her, the driving force motivating her from the beginning of her political career, her belief that God is speaking to her and guiding her and acting through her---it’s all been a joke? She’s just kidding around? When she claimed God told her to run for office, that was said “in jest”? Somebody ought to tell her Tea Party followers, because a lot of them think she meant it.
Jesus H. Kee-riiiiist! She’s not joking. This is her religion. She worships a God who causes earthquakes and hurricanes to punish liberals and other people Michele Bachmann hates for the way they vote. (By the way, God. New York City? You missed. Or maybe you really wanted to smack around Vermont for single-payer.) She worships a God who talks directly to her. Once upon a time the word for people who heard God’s voice in their heads was prophet. For the last couple hundred years, though, the kindest word for such people is delusional.
Here it is, plain and simple. Michele Bachmann hears voices.
She calls those voices “God” and believes that this “God” is the same God mainstream Christians and Jews believe in. But if before she acted on God’s order to enter politics in order to make sure gay people didn’t start marrying each other she’d gone to a priest, a minister, or a rabbi and told one of them God was talking directly to her, that cleric would have been on the phone to the nearest hospital requesting the EMTs to come running with a big butterfly net.
Cannily, Bachmann’s God apparently steers her to “ministers” who are either whack jobs or charlatans.
God, most Americans’ God, isn’t in the habit of holding conversations with people. Most Americans don’t believe that if He did talk with them His message would be to target other Americans to hate and find ways to make their lives miserable.
But that was her first mission from her God.
“He” also wants her to work to help make rich people richer.
No wonder Jesus has issues with the Old Man.
Jesus: Sell everything and follow me.
Yahweh: Screw that. Buy the Lexus!
Jesus: Do not store up treasures on earth.
Yahweh: Did I say a Lexus? I meant the Porsche.
Jesus: Whatever you do to the least of my brethren…
Yahweh: Those losers? The hell with them!
Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you.
Yahweh: Love one another, but not any of them! Go ahead and hate them all you want.
This is the “God” who talks to Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann’s handlers know that her Junior Joan of Arc act is no laughing matter. They need to pass it off as “jesting” because they know it won’t play outside her Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist base. They don’t really expect anyone will find people losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives funny. What they are doing is giving the National Press Corps an excuse not to take Bachmann’s religion seriously, an excuse I’m sure they’re glad to have.
For years and years and years now, the Beltway insiders have determinedly avoided facing up to the Republican Party’s degeneration into the party of Right Wing Reactionary Corporatists and Christianists. For a variety of corrupt and craven reasons, they’ve pretended the party is still made up of, or at least run by, moderates of the Eisenhower-esque mold and that the only kooks and extremists in Washington are on the left. They’ve studiously shrugged off the mean, destructive, anti-democratic ideas and policies Republican leaders have proposed and enacted into law as just stuff that needs to be said to mollify the rabble---or worse, as stuff that needs to be done to keep the rabble in line. They refuse to let themselves believe that the party leaders really mean any of it.
An important part of this game of make-believe is treating the base’s hateful and perverted brand of Christianity as just that Old Time Religion, an old-fashioned and colorful but safely traditional form of mainstream Protestantism and the people who not only practice it but want to see it become our national religion as jess folks.
So Bachmann’s spin doctors reassure the pundits and journalists, “She’s just kidding,” and that lets them go about their business of covering politics as a game with no real consequences.
Meanwhile, Bachmann’s followers know she’s not “jesting.” She’s in deadly earnest.
God is on their side. She knows that and can promise them that, because he’s told her so.
By the way, the reason “God” caused the earthquake in Virginia and sent Irene tearing up the East Coast, according to Bachmann, is that He wants the politicians in Washington to listen to the American People who are “roaring” for them to rein in spending.
Somehow I doubt many people living between Puerto Rico and Burlington are hoping the Feds decide to rein in the spending this week.
Non-divinely inspired update: What was I saying about the Media wanting an excuse to pretend Bachmann’s not serious about her religious beliefs? This turned up on Yahoo last night.
Even I don’t think Bachmann finds scenes like this funny:
TUXEDO — A thick coating of mud covers the basement floor, and the stench of fuel reeks throughout the home.
Antique cookbooks dating back to the 19th century lay saturated on the floor. Floodwaters tossed a washing machine, dryer and water heater.
Of five barbecues, only one can be found. The house's foundation is cracked, sidewalk stones dislodged, and the deck pushed off its foundation.
At the Petriello home on East Village Road in Tuxedo's East Village, there's nothing but devastation.
"I don't know what to do," said Lisa Petriello. "Sit in a corner and cry. My whole life is in this home."
Read all of Alyssa Sunkin’s story at the Times Herald-Record.