Over the weekend, Presidential-hopeful Michele Bachmann joked that the recent string of natural disasters to hit the East Coast are clearly the sign that God is displeased with current levels of government spending.

It seems pretty obvious that her “joke” was a calculated rhetorical ploy to connect with her audience that day, so I think speculation about whether or not she actually “believes” that these disasters were somehow ordained by God are unnecessary. However, joking aside, there are many others–like the now predictable Mr. Robertson–who sincerely believe that this or that natural disaster are not only initiated by God, but are moreover intended to bring about some desired end. That is, the devastation is not just punitive; it’s also supposed to bring about a change in behavior.

But what change? The problem, of course, is how one is supposed to interpret a divinely ordained natural disaster. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes are hardly *targeted* phenomenon. So if the presumed instigator of God’s holy wrath is particular sins by particular people (you know, the usual: homosexuality, supporting comprehensive health care reform, or voting for Obama), how does one discern against whom (or what) the natural disaster is directed when everyone in the path of the devastation will be equally impacted? If the “righteous” and the “wicked” alike are drowned, crushed, or blown away, how do you figure out who the special object of God’s anger is?

So I’m left with a burning question. Why do the “liberals” let the “conservatives” have the corner on blaming God for natural disasters? Why not turn the tables and do the same? Instead of Irene coming because God is dis-pleased with the amount of spending in Washington, why not claim that God sent Irene because Washington isn’t spending enough money (you know, to help the poor and stuff). Or because God wants another stimulus (it’s the economy, stupid). Or God because is hacked off that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes (a veritable gold-mine here…you’re welcome!).

Why lose all those easy political points? Go for it! The content really isn’t important, after all, as long as God is on your side and–most importantly–the people you are trying to deceive (you are a politician, after all) believe it too.