Blogs > Cliopatria > A Different "What If" Game

Jun 15, 2004 7:40 am

A Different "What If" Game

In the spirit of the"What If" games historians sometimes play, POTUS is going to begin asking from time to time,"What If a Democrat Did What President Bush Did?" (If Kerry wins in November we promise, out of a sense of fair play, to reverse the question,"What If a Republican Did What President Kerry Did?" )

Here's how the game will work. Say President Bush goes to the Pope and says, Gee, I need the help of Catholic bishops in pushing the anti-gay agenda (like the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay weddings). Could you help? POTUS would then play the"What If" angle, in this case asking, what readers think the Republican response would be if, say, John Kerry went to the Pope and asked him to lean on the bishops to denounce the Iraq war?

Of course, it's inconceivable that President Bush would ask the Pope to intervene in domestic politics, right? Riiiiiiiight.

It is inconceivable that John Kerry would go to the Pope and ask for his help in domestic politics. That would rightly be seen as exploiting religion for partisan gain. And as a Catholic John Kerry couldn't do it as a matter of practical politics. But Bush as a Protestant apparently can. A double standard? It would seem so. If you're Catholic you can't ask the Pope's help, if you're Protestant you can.

The Catholic JFK specifically said he wouldn't be looking to Rome for his political instructions. Now we have a Protestant president who is?

Well, not exactly. It isn't Rome's advice Bush wants. It's Rome's political muscle.

This should alarm anybody who cares about the separation of church and state. And if Republicans can't understand that, then they too need to begin playing the"What If" game. Would they want to see a Protestant Democrat asking the Pope to denounce President Bush for the war in Iraq?

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More Comments:

Derek Charles Catsam - 6/16/2004

Rick --
As far as parlor games go, this is a useful one, because it can allow us to keep in mind political hypocrisy. We also will often have more than hypothetical resp[onses too -- not only the what would X do if Y, but what did the GOP do when Clinton did similar things. I look forward to examples.