As Arianna Huffington wrote in a recent post on her blog, "As is usually the case in a Republican debate, the big winner of the night was God."
She was speaking metaphorically when describing how the GOP candidates turned their recent debate into a holier-than-thou-palooza, an "American Idol Worshipper" free-for-all of bogus Christian piety.
But if I were Karl Rove and wanted to secure the party's base and lock up the election, why would I mess around with mortal candidates, especially the motley crew of unhinged megalomaniacs currently vying for the presidential nomination? Why not tap a higher power?
That's right -- God himself.
God -- and I'm talking about the wrathful, Old Testament Lord, not Jesus or the Holy Ghost - is the perfect Republican candidate.
First of all, his Q rating is off the charts. Everybody knows God. So Rove and the Gang don't have to spend any time making him known to the American people. No campaign trail, no baby kissing, no press conferences. He'll do even less than Bush.
Second, according to every poll, God has an approval rating of probably 80 percent. Besides, millions of voters pray to this guy whenever they have a problem. Don't you think they owe him something in return?
Third, there is no better candidate to carry the Republican's fear-based message than the omnipotent power who threatens fire and brimstone whenever mortals displease him. Moreover, He could use his intimidation tactics on independent voters, centrists -- even card-carrying Democrats. (Sample campaign slogan: "Vote Democratic and spend the rest of eternity in a burning pit listening to John Kerry's stump speech." Yikes. That's enough to scare even Noam Chomsky into jumping parties.)
Fourth, God backs up his threats with action -- mostly smiting. He turns women into pillars of salt, and rains down plagues Al Gore can't imagine in his worst nightmares. He makes rivers of blood out of his victims, which are often his own people. (This part may have to be downplayed. On the other hand, his fratricidal rage could prove a further proof of his machismo: "If he's this tough on his base, think of the ass-whupping he'll give the Dems!" And you know he's pro-Israel.) When it comes to projecting bellicosity, God makes McCain and Giuliani look like a couple of candy-assed flower children. He's the uber-hawk.
And you know nobody -- not the Democrats, not the media and certainly not the Ancient Roman Veterans for Truth -- is going to be prying too deeply into his past.
Fifth, he comes with his own built-in, ideologically counter-balancing running mate -- Jesus. A tough-talking hawk for the men, a sensitive martyr for the women. Good God, Bad God. An unbeatable ticket. (Although like most VP candidates, Jesus would be kept out of the limelight, to prevent him from making potentially embarrassing "socialistic" comments about the meek inheriting the earth.)
Sixth, imagine how the Lord would cut up Democrats in a debate. Let's say he disagreed with John Edwards' position on Iraq. He'd just -- poof! -- turn him into a braying donkey!
Rove would run attack ads focused directly on Satan, thus equating the Democratic candidate -- let's say Hillary -- with the Evil One. The ads would go something like this:
Republican God's Attack Ad
OPEN ON: Sodom and Gomorrah. Its residents dance, drink, gamble and wench.
Satan voted to support casino gambling in Sodom and Gomorrah...
CUT TO: Shot of God hurling lightning bolts from the heavens and destroying the cities.
God destroyed both cities.
CUT TO: A Husband leaving his distraught wife and embracing his neighbor.
Satan encourages you to covet your neighbor's wife.
CUT TO: God striking the adulterous husband dead and casting him into flaming hell.
God punishes evildoers with eternal torment.
CUT TO: Bill Clinton as President at the White House.
Satan supported Bill Clinton for president.
CUT TO: Clinton impeachment hearings.
God smote Slick Willie.
GRAPHIC: Satan in a Nehru jacket at a disco, with a beautiful blonde on each arm.
Satan says, "If it feels good, do it."
SHOT of God holding up the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments
God believes in right and wrong.
Satan -- dyed-in-the-wool liberal.
GRAPHIC: Hillary's image superimposed on the Devil's. Then CUT to: God in Heaven, looking suitably godly.
God - tough on crime. Vote God.
CUT TO: CLOSEUP of God.
GOD (addressing camera)
Hi, I'm God - and I approved this ad.
I mean, you would hear the air going out of Barack Obama all the way from Washington.
As for his platform, that wouldn't be hard: The Ten Commandments, plus maybe a few new Commandments giving the Bush Administration a blanket pardon, approving the beating of ploughshares back into swords and maybe something like, "Thou shalt not make amateur adult videos."
I'm telling you: It's a slam dunk.