Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Michelle and Irene

By Gaije Kushner

Say what you will about Michelle Bachmann, she's never boring. Like Rachel Zoe, or a Top Chef winner, Bachmann is not content to rest on her laurels. She remains deeply committed to bringing her fans some fresh new crazy as often as humanly possible.

Over the weekend, she described Hurricane Irene, and last week's east coast earthquake, as God's attempt, "to get the attention of the politicians." We expect that kind of thing from Pat Robertson, or James Dobson, or whoever else the religious right is throwing money at these days. Presidential aspirants, not so much.

Jerry Falwell apologized for pinning 9/11 on those abortion loving lesbian feminists. Glen Beck apologized for equating Reform Judaism with Islamist extremism, and for making fun of Malia Obama. Pat Robertson apologized, kind of, for calling for Hugo Chavez's assassination. Bill O' Reilly apologized for suggesting there were circumstances under which a, "lynching party against Michelle Obama," could be appropriate. David Letterman apologized for his tawdry office affair, as did Bill Clinton. Apologizing is like breathing to Americans. It's just what we do.

Well, most of us. By now we should know to expect the unexpected from our girl Michelle. She does apologize occasionally. For instance, she apologized for confusing Elvis's birthday and the anniversary of his death, and for endorsing the idea black children were better off during slavery than they are now. She certainly knows how to demand an apology. Chris Wallace had to apologize, repeatedly, for asking her the perfectly reasonable question, "Are you a flake?" A Pawlenty (remember him?) aid had to apologize for referencing her, "sex appeal," when we all know her name recognition would be absolute zero, if she didn't look so good babbling on TV. Don't we?

We should have known better than to expect an apology for crediting God with Irene's murder and mayhem. In fact, this may have been her weirdest apology yet. First, basically repeated herself, clarifying only that, while she'd been joking at the time, she really, truly, meant what she'd said.
My comments were not ones that were meant to be taken lightly: What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things that politicians need to pay attention to. It is not every day that we have an earthquake in the United States. What I think we are seeing is that in this country, we have to have a margin, financially. When we are so far over the cliff financially we don't have the margin that we need anymore."
The best part is her claim that God's punishing us for the federal deficit. Or something like that.

Bachmann's conception of God gets more confusing by the minute. If he is actually feeling neglected by our politicians, couldn't he be more direct about it? Why bother with earthquakes and hurricanes? Why not just appear to them, or lead them to some golden plates, or pull their hair? Who expects God to be so passive aggressive? Probably the same people who expect him to care about our federal deficit.

Incomprehensibly, media observers have been classing this as just another one of Bachmann's goofy gaffes, on par with the Elvis flub, or not knowing where the Revolutionary War began. But it's nothing of the sort. A gaffe is an error, a faux pas, a mistake. This wasn't a gaffe at all. Bachmann said it intentionally, because she meant it. She really does see God as kind of a dick, yet claims pleasing him to be her highest priority.

When someone tells you who she is, you should believe her. No matter how scary that truth might be.

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