It's all over but the smoke and shouting in Vatican City. But in case this Ratzinger fellow doesn't work out, Oregon has its own stable of candidates for the next time around. Here's a local to-call list, along with the reasons each would either be a match made in heaven or one made in hell.
Gov. TED KULONGOSKI
PROS: Right about now, a lifetime job where he doesn't face re-election looks pretty good.
CONS: If union sympathies led to him to insist priests and nuns get pay beyond vows-of-poverty wages...you do the math.
Wannabe guv KEVIN MANNIX
PROS: Plenty conservative enough.
CONS: Not exactly a share-the-wealth kind of guy when it comes to fundraising cash.
Detroit Lions and ex-Oregon quarterback JOEY HARRINGTON
PROS: Can throw a Hail Mary pass with one hand and play the church organ with the other.
CONS: Miracles he performed as a Duck have obviously run out as a pro in Detroit.
Multnomah County Chair DIANE LINN
PROS: Nicer to be the first female pope than being the first politician locals think of when it comes to government screw-ups.
CONS: Even if cardinals are open to breaking two millennia of precedent by choosing a woman, there's that support for gay marriage to get past.
Former City Commissioner JIM FRANCESCONI
PROS: Time on his hands (despite his recent hire by the state at $42,000 per anno domini) after losing 2004 mayor's race.
CONS: With his history of indebtedness to big business, who wants to run the risk of a Popemobile covered in more logos than a racecar?
Exotic dancer VIVA LAS VEGAS
PROS: Fun to think of her stripping out of Catholic vestments.
CONS: More of a night person than early-Sunday-morning.
Writer CHUCK PALAHNIUK
PROS: Nothing like having a great storyteller in the pulpit every Sunday.
CONS: Among his works: A short story about war veterans plotting to slam a plane into the Vatican.