The hagiographies of Catholic saints provide an insightful and useful blueprint to dissecting the populistic veneration of political figures when their biographies get a revisionist treatment. However, potential Catholic saints are scrutinized on the merits of their wonders before their canonization as a bona fide Saint. If the Pontiff is swayed by the empirically fuzzy proof then the dead person enters an undefined period of beatification. The beatification marks a cooling off period whereby more “proofs” of exceptional earthly divinity are gathered and filed away. Once enough evidence has been amassed the reigning Pope can cast off the beatification and officially canonize the Saint “in waiting”.
Generally speaking there are three categories of relics in ascending order provide insight into the inherent powers they are perceived to embody. Third degree relics are items or objects which in some fashion were touched by the saint. Second degree relics are held in higher esteem because they were those used and or worn by the saint. The holiest in the realm of relics are also the rarest of relics. Examples of first degree relics are slivers of the true cross, anything from Jesus or any random body part from saints. During the early middle ages through the late middle ages in Europe a whole subversive thieving industry arose (furta sacra), to supply the enormous demand for holy relics. The fact that Jesus' foreskin, The Holy Prepuce, was claimed by as many as 18 different churches throughout Europe during the middle ages, doesn't negate the fact that this was a magnificently holy relic rivaled by no other. Naturally, if the first written documentation of The Holy Prepuce is of Charlemagne bestowing it upon Pope Leo III, then the currency of it's innate super power increases exponentially. The assertion is that the Church, like populist revision movements, require the manufacture (often unconsciously) of extraordinary traits for standard politicians. It's clear that the need to have control not only of the physical relic but also to to be able to dictate the hagiography of the saint or the biography of the politician is what gives the relic meaning and it's cultural brevity.
The same can be said about the burgeoning biographies of political figures. Although in the modern era it is probably macabre to expect any first degree relics, there is nonetheless, no shortage on second and third degree relics. The locales of the outhouses Abe Lincoln purportedly visited or used is of much less importance than the bullet which killed him or the stovepipe hat her wore. It's the perception and not the quantifiable evidence which starts the political figure's populist beatification. Can we observe the fledgling beatifications of political figures operating in the current public arena? That is a question with a very slippery slope. However, let's take a stab at the 2012 Presidential election candidates and their potential relics. Eventually, Obama's long-form birth certificate will be auctioned off and probably fall into the hands of the Donald Trump dynasty. Or maybe the White House establishes a lucrative cottage industry which sells certified copies of Obama's long form birth certificate. “What about Romney?”; you might ask. When Romney departs this world for the distant Mormon planet of Kolob he will bequeath his “magical underwear” to this mortal planet. We can all imagine the pandemonium it would unleash as different factions claim sacred rights to his undergarments. Who will prevail? Michigan, Utah or Massachusetts? Undoubtedly the Church of Later Day Saints in collaboration with the future Mitt Romney Institute will fabricate enough replica undies to supply the an ever increasing demand.