Commentary Magazine


God is Her Co-Pilot—and Political Strategist

Most pundits don’t give Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann much of a chance to win the Republican presidential nomination. The Tea Party favorite and critic of Gore Vidal is seen by the party establishment as too flaky and far populist to win over mainstream GOP voters next year. But those who are dismissing her as a possible president shouldn’t scoff too loudly. Rather than communing with Beltway experts to ponder her strategy, Bachmann’s is looking to a higher power to help her put together a campaign team.

In an interview with Dan Cella of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, a Christian group whose goal is to help people to “be responsible stewards of God’s money,” Bachmann asked the viewers of the show to pray for her and “Ask that the Lord will give us a special anointing on how to put our team together, who those team people will be, that he would bring those people to us.”

The clip was picked up by Politico (you can view it on YouTube here), and posted on the Internet by a liberal group called “Right Wing Watch.” One atheist commenter about the video—clearly not a Bachmann fan—wrote that since he believed God didn’t exist, the candidate’s prayers meant that Bachmann campaign would also fail to materialize. But that seems like a poor bet for any atheist looking to disprove the existence of the Almighty. After all, if Bachmann does actually run, will that qualify as tangible proof of a living God?

But the snickers of intellectuals or the party establishment about this kind of talk should not blind us to her appeal. Whatever they might think of Bachmann, most Americans see nothing wrong with a candidate who is open about their religiosity. Moreover Bachmann’s comments illustrate the tack that she might take in the coming campaign. If one discounts the possibility that Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee will run, Bachmann is perfectly positioned to be the Christian conservative candidate as well as the favorite of the Tea Party’s populist insurgents. Given the impressive track record of Christian conservatives in the Iowa caucuses—Huckabee won them in 2008—and given her standing as a native of the state, Bachmann’s chances there should not be discounted. Especially if the LORD puts together a good team for her.