Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rick Santorum v. the Pope




Rick is the kind of guy who generally thinks he has God on his side, but in his latest battle he is going up against the Pope himself.  In the Catholic Church, you can't get any closer to God than the Holy Pontiff, but Rick seems to think he still has God on his side.

It has to be one of the more absurd developments on the Campaign Trail 2016.  Rick is upset that the Pope is speaking out on climate change, believing that the Pope has other things to worry about than the Earth.   What has angered conservatives like Rick is that the Pope plans to release a new encyclical that will encourage priests to give more attention to climate change.  In Santorum's mind, the Pope should focus on heavenly matters and leave earthly matters to politicians like himself.  It doesn't matter that the Pope has a Master's degree in Chemistry, Rick thinks the Vatican is way out of line.  Of course, he is not alone in this opinion, but being Catholic I guess he feels more compelled to say something on the matter.

Rick is looking for any leverage he can get, as he finds himself outside the Top Ten in GOP polling.  He desperately wants a podium for the first Presidential debate scheduled in August, and what better way to attract attention to yourself than to attack the Pope, who has been frustrating religious conservatives with his outspoken views not only on climate change, but social inequality as well.  It would seem the Pope is a Socialist, and we can't have that!

Rick hopes to split the Catholic vote in the country.  There have been a lot of grumblings over the Pope's two-year tenure, notably Catholic conservatives like Michael Brendan Dougherty, who believes that Catholics should resist their Popes, especially when they veer left like Francis has done.  This resistance is being felt within the Church itself, as several American bishops have voiced their indignation over the direction Pope Francis is taking the Church.

But, Rick has an uphill battle ahead as right now the Pope is not only the most popular person in the world but very popular in America, where he is scheduled to come in September to address a joint session of Congress, giving the pontiff a podium that Rick Santorum covets.

It's a bold gamble and one not likely to pay much in the way of dividends for Rick Santorum, who is pretty much seen as a desperate candidate hoping to generate an early groundswell of support like he did in 2012 when the Republican electorate was looking for anyone other than Mitt Romney.  This time around there are plenty of choices and no clear front runner.

I would think if Rick really wanted to distance himself from his contenders, he would embrace climate change and argue of all the jobs that could be generated if we made the big switch to sustainable energy sources, electric cars, solar and wind driven industrial plants, as is currently taking place on a smaller scale.  He might choose to team up with Jay Faison, a North Carolina Republican, who is investing in alternative energy in a big way, and plans to make this an issue during the campaign.

This would make much more sense than fighting the Pope, who not only has God but Science on his side in regard to climate change.

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