North America 29 August 2011 Bachmann: Hurricane Irene was a punishment from God Republican presidential candidate says natural disasters are a divine rebuke to high-spending politi Sign UpGet the New Statesman\'s Morning Call email. Sign-up It was only a matter of time before a prominent Republican politician declared Hurricane Irene to be an act of God, and Michele Bachmann has won the race. Speaking at a rally in Florida, Bachmann suggested that the events of the past week should be considered a divine rebuke to fiscally incontinent politicians: 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. As Alexander Harris notes at Politico, Bachmann isn't the first conservative figure to suggest that natural disasters require theological, not meterological, explanations. Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson, a former Republican presidential candidate, linked Hurricane Katrina to abortion or, in his words, "the wholesale slaughter of unborn children", while John Hagee blamed Katrina on a planned gay pride parade in New Orleans. Bachmann, however, is the first to suggest that the state of the nation's balance sheet explains the appearance of hurricanes and earthquakes. One only pauses to note her discovery that God is a fiscal conservative, just like her. How convenient. › Opposition grows to Cameron's boundary changes George Eaton is senior online editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe To stay on top of global affairs and enjoy even more international coverage subscribe for just £1 per month!