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The British are not given to mentioning God in politics.  If they do it’s got to be in the face of Nazi invasion or similar.  Real end of the world stuff.  Not for them everyday evocations of God to bless the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the end of every single speech made, or imploring Him to guide their politicians, or smile benificently upon their trade delegations.  The only mentions of God in relation to British politics I can think of off-hand are mostly rude and nearly always derogatory, such as the old French joke about why the sun never set over the British Empire, the French suggesting that God wouldn’t trust the English in the dark.

Nor do we “Trust in God”.  It is generally felt to be unhelpful or as in Ireland dangerous.  Tony Blair famously had his press secretary say “We don’t do God”.  So the constant mentioning, and invoking of the good will of the Lord, at least to a UK audience is one of the stranger aspects of American politics.

Michelle Bachmann managed to do this in spades at the weekend.  Speaking at a rally she wound both last week’s 5.8 magnitude quake and hurricane Irene into her address.  “I don’t know” she squawked ”how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians.  We’ve had the earthquake; we’ve had the hurricane.  He said “Are you going to start listening to me?”  God was, it seems, amongst other things indicating that further fiscal expansions would be detrimental to the economic recovery.

Of course she said it in jest.  We were told this afterwards by her damage limitation officer Alice Stewart, who might have been better employed checking Michelle’s speeches for clumsy jokes and shoehorned attempts at being local, and “today” before she lets her out in the morning.  Reuters even gamely suggested she “drew laughs” although if you watch the clip above they sound more nervous embarrassed titters than great belly laughs at those unfortunate to have lost lives, loved ones and suffered damaged property.  Bet their families laughed real loud Michelle.

No doubt a bit of God bothering went down well with the conservative evangelicals who are the foundation and bedrock of Bachmann’s following.  Those same people who might agree with Pat Robertson that the cracks in the Washington Monument are clear proof of God’s displeasure with Obama, and, indeed America in general.

I can’t see this style of debate, of speechifying going well in this cycle of elections somehow. Its not playing as well as it used to.

As proof of this I have news of the other GOP God Botherer in residence,Christine O’Donnell.  She only managed to draw five people to attend her book signing in Naples Fl – and one of those was looking to have her sign his Manual of Sorcery.

Copyright David Macadam 2011

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