QUESTIONS, ANSWERS AND POLITICAL CANDIDATES

WILLIAMSBURG – No one makes you run for political office. A rich person might promise to back your candidacy, but only the candidate chooses to run. Whatever happens after they enter the race belongs to the candidates themselves. The painful process of winnowing this field – which comes to Massachusetts Tuesday – is expensive in terms of time, egos and millions of dollars. Maybe they should win on “Jeopardy” first, before exposing their TSA-worthy mental carry-ons to the national political circuit – or circus, as so many are calling it. At least on “Jeopardy,” Alex Trebeck could give them a polite dismissal along with a consolation prize, leaving the country to move on. The first test on “Jeopardy” is the revelation of previously unknown categories. For example: The candidates would have to answer a slew of random topics, like: Quotations, The Bible, The Quran, John Paul XXIII, Thomas Jefferson and “Babe” Ruth, note that Babe is in quotations, says Alex. Question: Do these subjects favor born-again Christians, Mormons, Muslims or Catholic baseball fans? I don’t know, but odds are that a bright Mormon named Ken Jennings does. Jennings won millions on the show.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits any religious test for office in the United States. “O beautiful for spacious skies,” as Mitt Romney attempts to sing these days, expressing his love for America and later lauding Michigan’s right-height trees, lakes and cars in one of his odd rambles. Then he blows it by stating that President Obama has “fought against religion in America.” Poor Mitt, making religion fair game backfired when Billy Graham’s son went on Morning Joe. The Rev. Franklin Graham described Mitt as “a nice man with a nice family” but nope, not a Christian. I recall Mitt’s father George Romney loving his job as CEO of American Motors; but he stuck to preaching the virtues of compact cars. Speaking of odd, Romney’s opponents are named Newt, Rick and Ron. Newt’s a 68-year-old former House Speaker with two previous wives and a recent convert to Roman Catholicism. He just called President Obama “dangerous, and a threat to national security.” An audience cheered. Ron Paul is a libertarian who would decimate the federal government and its constructs – like roads and the Department of Education. The beauty part of campaigning is that if you can reduce complex issues to a sound bite you’re guaranteed to make the evening news and the talk shows that run all day. Similarly, if you can, without proof, assign base motives to your opponents, as well as the president of the United States, you tar yourself as a bigot or an ignoramus.

Which brings us to Rick “Sanctus” Santorum. Rick is a defeated Pennsylvania senator, a super-conservative Roman Catholic who proclaims strong beliefs. His angry speeches have earned him two new nicknames: Mullah Rick and Savonarola – a pitiless preacher who, it’s been said, burned sinners “for their own good.” Rick’s sanctimony earns him my less than flattering title of a “Big Catholic.” I don’t think there’s a dictionary definition, but like many things, you know it when you see it. I would never compare a B.C. to the faithful who attend daily or weekly Mass, and who try their best to live by the golden rule. No, to me a “Big Catholic” is a bit of a faker who finds it difficult to be humble in his daily encounters. He knows he’s right. He’s quick to judge other people. He critiques and pronounces for all. The Quran’s sharia law, or the Old Testament’s eye for an eye, sounds practical to him. He has a bad case of amnesia regarding Christ’s teaching to “love thy neighbor.” He’s too invested in his hypocritical worldview. Here are a few of Millionaire Rick’s prescriptions:
1. Home school your kids. (But collect from the local school district.)
2. Use the earth; don’t husband it. (Vote for a “bridge to nowhere.”)
3. Healthcare for everyone is a frill. (I will repeal Obamacare.)
4. Wives shouldn’t work outside the home. (He has seven kids.)
5. The president promotes a phony theology. (Barack’s a Muslim.)

What up with that?

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