Friday, January 6, 2012

All He Had Was a Prayer

"Well, there's Walker, Christie, Rubio, Mike Lee, ..."

"OK, OK, I get it. But what about the ones who are actually running?"

I shrugged. "I don't like any of them. Bachmann—maybe, almost—but not really. I don't like any of them. Except Santorum."

"Santorum!" wailed my interlocutor. At least—I'll call it a wail. It was a wail mixed with a gargle shot through with a groan; a rich, full-bodied howl of anguish, tonally akin to the sound you make upon finding that your golden retriever has, for the third year in a row, disintegrated and digested your Martha Stewart designed gingerbread house, and is trying to hide the relics of his orgy behind the refrigerator.

"Santorum!" wailed my interlocutor. "I don't know why he's running after what happened with his Senate seat. All he's going to do is spoil it for other conservatives—people like Bachmann or Huntsman—who might otherwise have a chance to beat Romney. Santorum! I don't know why the guy's running."

"He's a really good guy," I said.

"But you don't think he can win, do you?" demanded my friend.

I threw up my arms. "I wish he could! but the guy hasn't got a prayer."

So I said this summer. I've never been happier to be proven wrong in my life.

Santorum didn't make it onto my list of cute presidential candidates, you may have noticed.

All long face and prominent teeth.

That's because I think he's ugly. But then, I voted for the ugly people in politics before I voted against them.

Well, OK, not that ugly. That's setting the bar a bit high, don't you think?

Lest this seem an unfair criticism, let me note that many relatives on my father's side of the family share the same facial characteristics, as does (almost) Prince Charles.

A man who could be king.

Not that he (or, as far as I know, any of my paternal relations) ever won any beauty contests either.

A man who really was king. Which just goes to show you ...

Yes, Santorum is plain-looking. His voice is high-pitched. His smile could used some work. He's too forthright to make friends among people of opposing viewpoints. (Or is that a good thing?) But he's Catholic—JPII Catholic—and honest and intelligent. And he just won Iowa. What hath God wrought ...

I said this summer that he hadn't got a prayer. That was all he had then, really—prayer, and a remarkable ability to eat pizza; and between the two he pulled off a victory that puts to the lie all those who think that only a moderate could beat the incumbent president. Rick Santorum is conservative as they come. If a man who has principles can go from five to twenty-five percent in a few weeks, anything is possible.

I won't be able to vote for Santorum in the primaries. The only two names appearing on the Virginia ballot will by Romney and Paul—no write-ins allowed—due to the Commonwealth's unusual and arcane method of creating primary ballots. But my rosary will be out frequently between now and the convention. Please God, on November 6th, I'll be able for the first time in my (admittedly short) electoral life to vote for a presidential candidate, and not against one.


  1. "But he's Catholic—JPII Catholic"

    Methinks JPII was against the death penalty, preemptive warfare, and torture.

  2. Oh dear. Have I finally said something controversial? ;)

    Two things in defense of my giving Santorum that label:

    First, by "JPII Catholic" I mean one who is concerned with fighting what Blessed John Paul called "the culture of death," which I think (and I think Santorum and JPII himself also thought) is most obviously, dangerously, and evilly (if that's a word) evident in abortion, contraception, cloning, and the like. In this regard, all faithful Catholics are on the same page, and we are all "JPII Catholics" (as opposed to, say, "Kennedy Catholics" or "Pelosi Catholics").

    Second, as has been discussed all over the Catholic blogosphere, there is a difference in kind between teachings which require prudential judgement for their application ("Is THIS a just war--a necessary execution?"--etc.) and ones which require no such judgement ("Is this a just/necessary abortion" is not a question ever asked by a faithful Catholic). Good people--and even saints--can disagree about prudential applications of Church teaching, but not about actual doctrine and dogma.

    Hope that clears my label up. This is not, of course, to say that I think _either_ Santorum or JPII right ...