ONALASKA, Wisconsin.Â The numbers, according to his closest advisors, are daunting: in order to wrest the Republican Party nomination away from current front-runner Mitt Romney, formerÂ Senator Rick Santorum must win 70% of the remaining delegates when he has captured only 24% in all the primaries and caucuses to date, "and most of those had to be released" according to Chuck Shelton of Opinion Consultants, a polling firm.Â "You can't just hold people for no reason, unless you claim them as dependents on your tax return."
Onalaska?Â What'd ya ask fa?
So Santorum has his eye on another, gaudier prize: "I've always dreamedÂ of being Pope," he said as the current Pontiff, Benedict XVI, made a swing through Cuba to buy cigars and rare mambo records unavailable in Italy.Â "There are no campaign finance laws, and the outfits are way cooler."
"And he's like, 'Dominus vobiscum?'Â And I'm like, 'Et cum spiritu tuo!"
The Pope is traditionally elected by vote of the College of Cardinals, an anachronistic body that serves as the model for the U.S. electoral college.Â Each Cardinal is entitled to one vote in balloting for the Pope and the National League All-Star team, plus a "wild card" vote that may be used on "Dancing With the Stars" or inÂ minor league baseball "Name the Mascot" contests.
"Why do we have Cardinals?Â Because somebody mustÂ make life miserable for hipster Chicago Cubs fans."
According to church historians the office of the Pope extends back in an unbroken line of succession to St. Peter, although there have been anti-PopesÂ who opposed legitimately elected or sitting Popes.Â "That's why Santorum is so disturbing to the country-club Republican establishment," says Shelton.Â "He threatens to upset the party's tradition of always nominating the oldest living white guy or Gerald Ford, whichever comes first."
Early prototype of Napoleon Dynamite
Campaign staff said Santorum would adopt the name Pope Rick I if elected, but the candidate declined to confirm that report because he didnâ€™t want to â€œjinxâ€ his chances.Â â€œIâ€™m not superstitious,â€ he noted, â€œbut â€˜Rick Santorumâ€™ has twelve letters in it like the twelve Apostles, while â€˜Mitt Romneyâ€™ is an anagram for â€˜Mormn Yetti.â€™â€