Maureen Dowd's take on the pope, as she put it in context in the larger picture of American politics, was dead-on:
The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth. For American Catholics especially women and Democratic pro-choice Catholic pols the cafeteria is officially closed. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed "God's Rottweiler" and "the Enforcer," helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry and other Catholic politicians in the 2004 election.
The only other job this pope would be qualified for is "60 Minutes" anchor.
Lord help us.