Did you ever play that game about who you would rather sit by on a cross-country bus trip? Someone gives you two names and asks which one you would choose to sit by on a cross county bus trip and you have to explain why. Who would you choose, Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren? George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?
I decided to take an imaginary cross-country bus trip with the Republican presidential hopefuls. How would I, a moderate Democrat, fare with this group of people? In my imagination I got on the bus in Iowa just as Tim Pawlenty was getting off. He seemed like a friendly fellow, but I didn't have time to get acquainted with him. I looked around and decided to sit with the only woman on the bus.
Michelle Bachmann seemed like a nice Christian lady. We showed each pictures of our kids and told each other funny family stories. I told her about my faith in a loving and gracious God. Her faith came across as far more judgmental than mine and has a lot more rules. She seemed to be very uncomfortable with my interpretation of scripture and very uncomfortable with diverse opinions. I was relieved when she got off the bus. I thought she was scary.
Next I sat next to a man with a big, friendly smile. Herman Cain made a fortune selling pizza and thought he could use this experience to make America a better country. He kept saying something about 9-9-9. He thought his tax scheme would fix the economy. It seemed to over-simplify a complex problem and I had my doubts. When I asked him about foreign policy his answer got really weird. It turns out Herman had a mistress and the Republicans are the party of family-values. The mistress was a big no-no, so Herman had to get off the bus.
There was a nice man from Utah who rode the bus for awhile. Jon Huntsman seemed like a nice guy . He had worked for Obama as ambassador to China. I admired the way he put serving his country ahead of political ideology. The Republicans didn't seem to like him very well. He too got off the bus.
A good-old-boy from Texas was my next seat-mate. Rick Perry liked to hunt and fish. I don't hunt or fish and I found it hard to talk to him. He just never seemed to quite figure out what to do with himself outside of Texas. He got off the bus and headed back home.
I looked around and decided to sit with the older gentleman from Texas. I really liked Ron Paul, but his fellow passengers don't pay him very much attention. He comes across as an honest, sincere man who champions the cause of small government and withdrawal from all foreign entanglements. I find myself disagreeing with his proposals, but respecting him as a man of honor. I don't want him to drive the bus, but I do like him.
Rick Santorum was my next seat-mate. He reminded me a lot of Michelle Bachmann. He is driven by faith. I'm sure he is a loving husband and father. I think he is sincere. Sincerity just doesn't seem to be enough to qualify a person to president. Especially not when I disagree about many of the things that he holds dear. I think he will be getting off the bus in the near future.
I look at the last two men on the bus and decide to sit by Mitt Romney. This man has money. I think he probably paid for the bus. He seems a bit stiff, but still likable. He has a nice wife and has raised five sons. I find it is easier to talk to him as I get to know him better. He was once the Republican governor of a Democratic state. Somehow he seemed to be able to talk to people with different opinions and find a consensus they could both agree on. That is a rare talent. He really wants to be president. He has made this bus trip before. I'm not really sure where he stands on several issues because he seems to have changed his mind about lots of things. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Did I mention that Mitt has a lot of money.
There’s one man left on the bus. I approached his seat, but just couldn't make myself sit down. There was a stench that completely repelled me. Newt Gingrich is a man with a very bad history. Congress convicted him of ethics violations. He has been through two messy divorces. He owed Tiffany’s $500,000. Surely the party that stood for family values would find this man repellant. He comes across to me as a creepy, dirty old man.
It was an interesting bus ride, but I don't think I want to ride with this group any further.
1 month ago