Carter's Absence From Group Reignites Tensions With Bush
He was the only president ever to host a pope at the White House when John Paul II came to visit a quarter-century ago, and in many ways Jimmy Carter had a powerful spiritual and philosophical affinity for the Polish pontiff. But when the pope is buried at the Vatican this morning, three living U.S. presidents will be in attendance and Carter will not.
The reason has touched off a classic Washington imbroglio fueled by suspicion, animosity and distrust, one that has reopened a rift between the camps of the former president and the current one. When Carter was left off the delegation list assembled by President Bush's White House, Democrats assumed he was snubbed. The Bush team is angry at what it considers an unfair smear.
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E. J. Dionne on The Cardinal Principles of Politics
Outsiders scoff at the claims we Roman Catholics make, that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinals who will be electing a new pope. To those skeptics, I would suggest that divine protection is the only rational explanation for how our magnificent but flawed church has survived all these years.
But I am fed up with those in the know who hide behind the Holy Spirit to avoid talking about the politics of this election. I'm not referring here to the honest modesty of people such as Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who would make a great pope. Modesty is called for here. If you think Washington punditry is bad, watch how flawed all the predictions on this papal election will be -- including my own.