Budowsky: Pope Francis for president

Budowsky: Pope Francis for president
© Greg Nash

Perhaps Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE, when he is not dishonestly questioning Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE’s faith, should consider the proverb about people who live in glass houses.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton, when she is not sounding like Marcia Clark prosecuting O.J. Simpson as she attacks Donald Trump, might reflect on why Pope Francis towers above other public figures in public esteem and why Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE dominated Trump by enormous margins in public opinion polls throughout the presidential campaign.


Perhaps Sanders, instead of indulging his vanity by continuing a campaign that no longer exists, will empower his revolution by donating the $9 million of his remaining cash on hand to elect liberals running for the House and Senate.

As the 2016 campaign sinks further into the swamp of two candidates doing little except attacking each other and Britain debates whether to leave the European Union after the murder of a magnificent member of Parliament by a hater with interest in American white supremacist groups, my thoughts for today turn to Francis.

In my humble opinion, Francis is the most blessed man on earth. On a personal level, I often want to fall to my knees and thank him for rekindling the fires of my personal faith and reminding me of what is most important in life.

But this is a political column, so let’s consider the politics of the teachings of Francis. 

It is true that public esteem for Francis is towering, especially when compared to a campaign in which both presumptive nominees suffer extraordinarily high negative ratings and drive each other’s negative ratings higher with endless attacks, and to the public disapproval of Congress that has become a national joke.

It is equally true that our current generation of politicians is led by slow learners. One would think that members of a Congress that is so widely disliked would do some things differently, rather than repeating the behavior that makes them so widely disliked. One would think that presidential candidates who are so widely disliked would figure out the merit of doing some things differently, rather than repeating the behavior that makes them so widely disliked.

What does it tell us politically that Francis, who has not been shy about translating his faith into specific discussion of contemporary issues, is so widely admired by the citizenry, compared to most politicians, who are held in such widespread disrepute by voters? Are you listening, Hillary Clinton? What planet are you on, Donald Trump?

There is a tidal wave of economic anxiety and public outrage sweeping across the democratic world that Francis addresses with hope, faith and a clarion call for fairness, justice, tolerance and the rights of man and woman. When I propose “Pope Francis for president,” I call for a candidate who wages a campaign that trusts voters, appeals to the better angels of our nature and speaks with relentless integrity, passion and clarity about the path forward for our nation.

Americans do not want a president who acts like Marcia Clark prosecuting O.J. Simpson, nor do they want a demagogue who wears a hat about making America great while preaching a politics of hate.

Americans want a president who offers a moral compass for the country and an inspiring, aggressive and far-reaching plan of action that will lift their spirits and economic lives in ways they understand and support. A campaign of “vote for me because my opponent sucks” offers the prospect of a nation that is perpetually ungovernable, a populace that is permanently contemptuous of politicians, and a politics that will remain a repellent brew of anger and apathy.

No doubt smart people in campaign meetings in Washington, Brooklyn and Trump Tower think I am naive in calling for a leader who puts the teachings of Francis at the center of our politics, but in a profession that worships at the altar of polls, they should compare the depressing disapproval of their candidate with the transcendent admiration for Francis, the greatest man on earth.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.