Steve Benen: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann campaigned in Florida yesterday, attending services at a Baptist megachurch near Tampa. Afterwards, the right-wing lawmaker offered a rather unique perspective on the weekend’s weather developments:
“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?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
…. under sensible political norms, this should probably be a career-killer for a national political figure …. anyone who thinks the federal budget prompted God to send a hurricane that killed 20 Americans has issues that far exceed flakiness …. Bachmann’s reported remarks should effectively ruin her political ambitions.
Steve Benen: By the close of business yesterday, several conservative voices were pretty worked up about President Obama’s response to the mid-Atlantic earthquake….
…. So, there was an earthquake. The president was made aware of it. There was no serious damage, no casualties, nothing for emergency response teams to do, and nothing for Obama to do. He was kept apprised and went about his afternoon. I don’t know why this is supposed to be interesting.
…. if there’d been an actual disaster, and Obama sat around reading a children’s book while Americans were dying, I could see conservatives getting upset. If Obama had been told a month ago that a serious disaster was poised to happen, and he told the geologists, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now” before ignoring the warnings, the right would have plenty of room for criticism.
…. if we’re going to have a substantive discussion about politics, policy, and natural disasters, perhaps the better place to start would be with Republican efforts to cut funding for the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes, and mocking investments in studying seismic activities…..