MISDIRECTED PRAYERS?…. Earlier this week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) raised a few eyebrows when he said, on the Senate floor, that Americans “ought to pray” that one of his Senate colleagues “can’t make the vote” on health care reform. It sounded a bit like the right-wing lawmaker wanted something bad to happen to a fellow member.

By yesterday, however, one senator did fail to show up to register a vote on health care — but it wasn’t one of the Democrats, it was Coburn’s Republican colleague from Oklahoma, Sen. James Inhofe.

Yesterday on C-SPAN, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) fielded calls from viewers, one of whom raised the specter of misdirected prayers. “Our small tea bag group here in Waycross, we got our vigil together and took Dr. Coburn’s instructions and prayed real hard that Sen. Byrd would either die or couldn’t show up at the vote the other night,” the caller said. “How hard did you pray because I see one of our members was missing this morning. Did it backfire on us? One of our members died?”

Barrasso dodged the question’s specifics, and said he did not know why Inhofe didn’t show up.

Now, it’s certainly possible that the caller was not actually an insane right-wing Teabagger, but was actually a health care reform supporter trying to make conservatives look ridiculous. Regrettably, it’s very difficult to tell lately — the line is blurred between conservatives and over-the-top parodies of conservatives.

Either way, this is awfully amusing.

For the record, Inhofe was not the victim of misdirected prayers, but was traveling yesterday. He’ll be back on the Hill for today’s and tomorrow’s votes.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.