Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how quiet the resident meanies were while the Pope was here? Even Donald Trump gave it a rest for a few days. Or am I wrong? Did I just not notice because, to their credit (and my relief), the press took to covering the Pope every day in every way and kept it nice?
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
On Thursday, Pope Francis stood at the House podium and addressed the joint session of Congress. Speaker of the House John Boehner sat behind the Pope, listened to what the pontiff had to say about justice, goodness, and mercy, and bawled his eyes out.
The next morning Boehner floated into a press conference singing "Zipadee Do Dah, Zipadee Ay, My, Oh, My, what a wonderful day". It was a charming if wacky prelude to his message: "I quit". Just like that.
Now, John would like us to believe the Pope had nothing to do with it--Lord, no!--but I'm not buying it. It's true, I suppose, that John has wanted to throw in the towel for a long time, but why now? He said he woke up and told his wife, "I think today's the day." She was okay with it. (No word yet on the Pope's reaction.)
I want to believe the Pope made John Boehner a better person; a lacking leader seeing the light, contrite--but, as any sitting member of the Republican Party will tell you, that's death on wheels. You can't be a better person and be loyal to the party. Nowadays only worst persons need apply.
(Marco Rubio, another presidential candidate, announced the good news to a crowd of his peeps only moments after Boehner made his announcement and, wouldn't you know?--the crowd went wild! Yay!)
Which brings me to the doggedly anti-government businessman and top Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump. Trump is like the person you invite to the party thinking you've scored a big one--famous person!--and then realize he's obnoxious as all get out but you're stuck with him because there are no insults big enough to make him go away. And you would be too polite to use them, anyway. (That's why Democrats lose--but that's another story.)
So Donald took the opportunity of the Pope's visit to talk with Chris Cuomo, who took the opportunity of the Pope's visit to ask Donald Trump, of all people, what he would say to the Pope if he had the chance. Donald said he would have to scare the Pope. Of course he would.
Carly Fiorina pretended she didn't notice the Pope was here and went on lying about what happens at Planned Parenthood. She stood out like a sore thumb.
Jeb Bush says something about Democrats offering free stuff to African-Americans and he's attacked for it. The Pope says giving free stuff to people who need it is God's work and he is cheered. It's all in the way it's presented. Whose heart is really in it.
And the press, at long last, moved away from, "How did it feel when so-and-so said so-and-so about you?", and seemed honestly happy to share in a celebration that hurt no one.
We were a land of big hearts last week. It's been a long time. It felt good.
(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)