The problem with Michele Bachmann's quip that the recent Virginia-centered earthquake and Hurricane Irene were a political message from god is not that she made a joke. It's that the media wasn't sure whether it was a joke, and perhaps, not least because of that same media, many of the public might also not have been sure.
Conservative pundits as wise and experienced as Rush Limbaugh (and I mean it sincerely when I say he is both) suggest that overt religiosity, such as Rick Perry's will be irrelevant to the electorate if the focus of the 2012 election remains on jobs. That might be true, but are you willing to bet 4 more years of Barack Obama on it?
The more that Michele Bachmann, whom I have met and spoken with and like a lot, and Rick Perry can be portrayed by the media as right-wing kooks, the more the media will go out of their way to do just that. Not only because they hate Republicans but because stuff like that sells newspapers and TV ads.
I take Michele Bachmann at her word that she was joking. But she needs to understand that the fact that her comments might have been perceived otherwise is no laughing matter.
And if you want to look no further for evidence, just see this very NY Post article, with the Post not being a particularly left-leaning publication, wasting a full paragraph describing how Bachmann confused Elvis Presley's birthday with the day he died or that she erred in saying that John Wayne was born in her home town. Yes, the long knives are out for conservatives in the media. Conservatives must not then paint bright targets on their backs which even a dim-witted reporter can't miss. And, yes, I know there's a massive double standard between media treatment of conservative politicians versus the kid gloves usually given to liberals. But there's nothing we're going to do about that this week or this decade, so live with it and don't play into their hands.
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