The Republican primaries have been a tough sled for God, the Father of the party. (Well, Republicans claim He is.)

First, Michele Bachmann came to Him and asked whether she should run for president. “You go, girl,” He said, or words to that effect. I take her word on that. (Hey, would she lie?)

Then she started campaigning. After Republicans got a good look at her, God said: “Nevermind.”

Then there was Herman Cain. Remember him? He too said he’d gone to God for career advice and God had told him to run for president. It went pretty good until Cain’s nocturnal habits became public, at which point God said: “Forget what I said.”

That was puzzling. You’d think God would have known about Cain’s tom-catting before He told him to run, wouldn’t you? I mean, He’s God. He knows everything. Oh well, I guess that’s what they mean when they talk about His mysterious ways.

(pnwbot / Flickr)

(pnwbot / Flickr)

Next came Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. He also said he asked God whether he should run for president. God replied: “Hook ’em Horns.”

It turned out that Perry had a second language — English — and no first. So he didn’t do well in debates and speeches and stuff. But he didn’t give up. He went back to God and said: “Are you sure I should be running for president?” God, startled as though awakened from a nap, replied: “Of course I’m sure. I’m God. You think God goes around not being sure?”

So Perry continued and suffered more humiliating losses.

Then God said: “Oops.”

It’s hard to know which candidate God favors at the moment. They all act as though they’re the Teacher’s pet.

Rick Santorum, however, casts himself as God’s most passionate warrior in the contest, the Savonarola of the GOP.

The former lawmaker and father of seven rejects the idea of homosexuals marrying each other as repulsive and a violation of God’s will. He says abortion under any circumstances is an irredeemable sin and that contraception only provides an excuse for people to do bad things to each other.

In short, he presents himself as the messenger of God’s true will. Although he denies God actually told him to run, he says he feels “a calling” to do so.

And maybe Santorum is onto something. After I mistakenly declared him dead in Florida, Kid Rick has moved ahead of Mitt in many polls. Even national ones.

You wouldn’t think it would take God four shots to pick a winner though, would you?

In truth it’s hard to know who really is doing well among these Republicans because they’re operating in so small a universe.

As Timothy Egan recently reported in The New York Times, only 3 million Republicans voted in the first nine primary and caucus states. That comes to 11 percent of the registered voters in those states.

Moreover, the people who did vote were less than representative. Ninety-eight percent of the voters in South Carolina, for example, were white (compared to 66 percent of the population there), 72 percent were older than 45 (compared to 36 percent in the state), and 65 percent were evangelical Christians (compared to 40 percent statewide).

That pattern pretty much repeats itself in state after state. The people picking the Republican nominee for president are older, whiter, and more religious than the population at large.

You wonder why the candidates seem so out-of-touch with the times? It’s because they are.

On virtually every issue — healthcare, taxes on the rich, withdrawal from Afghanistan, global warming — Romney, Newt Gingrich, Santorum, and Ron Paul, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are on the wrong side of the people.

So how do they expect to win?

Only God knows.

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Donald Kaul

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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