Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has spent the last weekend campaigning in Florida for her GOP presidential primary, but she may be doing more harm to her cause than good.
During a rally in Sarasota on Sunday, Bachmann drew controversy after suggesting that Hurricane Irene and the earthquake that rocked the East Coast last week represented God’s dissatisfaction with American politics.
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” she said. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?'”
On Monday, she tried to dismiss her comments as a joke, according to the Guardian, saying, “Of course I was being humorous when I said that. It would be absurd to think it was anything else.”
Either way, Bachmann does herself no favors. If she was indeed joking, she risks alienating her evangelical base by making light of God and perhaps their own agreement. If she was being serious, she risks alienating more moderate voters.
This most recent gaffe is one in a long line of hyperbolic and outrageous statements from the politician. She has accused former President Bill Clinton of praising Timothy McVeigh, according to thinkprogress.org, and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bachmann even suggested the U.S. government planned to ban lightbulbs while speaking in New Hampshire.
“I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the lightbulb,” she said. “And I think darn well, you New Hampshirites, if you want to buy Thomas Edison’s wonderful invention, you should be able to!”
Bachmann still has a strong following right now, coming away as the victor of the Ames straw poll and ranking third amnong current candidates in a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.
Yet, it seems she will no doubt say something more outrageous or offensive before too long, and it may cost her the voters she needs to win the presidential nomination. She may even distance her fan base by uttering her own “Dean Scream” – a term referring to when former Democratic presidential primary candidate Howard Dean yelled at a January 2004 campaign rally in a humorous way that was mocked roundly and lost him much credibility.
Dean initially had a 30-point lead on John Kerry in the New Hampshire primary, according to CNN. Yet, after a loss in the Iowa straw poll and the “Dean Scream,” the politician would ultimately come in second place to Kerry in the state’s primary.
Bachmann will continue to speak her mind and give an uncensored opinion of what she believes is going on in the U.S. Yet she should remember – every time she puts her foot in her mouth, she distances herself from the chance of becoming president.