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Presidential choices don't seem to click

October 16, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

I'm supporting Joe Biden for president.

I know this because I just completed one of those cockamamie Internet questionnaires that tabulates your score and does the work for you.

To my mind, this is genius because it saves you all the work of reading bothersome newspaper articles or watching brain-melting debates to figure out for whom you should vote.

You just answer 11 simple questions and rate how strongly you feel about each, and then hit "submit." That's all there is to it. Instant candidate.

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In the process, I learned a lot of things. For example, I learned that Joe Biden is running for president. I didn't know this before.

I also learned how much I hate Fred Thompson, although I didn't know that before, either. I thought I liked him. Silly me.

Turns out, the only two things Thompson and I agree on are Social Security and the death penalty. So I guess you could say I'm with him on end-of-life issues.

I also learned some things about myself, and the exercise raised some serious questions, such as: When did I turn into such a pinko?

I mean, sure, I support stem-cell research and gay marriage, but since when does that make me into Dennis Kucinich, who was tied for second as my ideal candidate? I did hear him talk on a radio program once and thought he was hilarious - but then I think Ann Coulter is hilarious, too.

And who was Dennis Kucinich tied with as my second-favorite candidate? None other than Rudy Giuliani.

What the ...? I didn't think those two had all that much in common. How can my two favorite politicians be Henry Clay and John C. Calhoune, as it were?

As it turns out, the problem might be me. On the theoretical social stuff, I'm liberal; but when it comes down to real things that affect my bottom line, I am more judicious. So, I can see how a Democrat and a Republican could, in my view, get equal billing.

My other flaw is that I don't feel strongly about anything. That doubtless skewed the results a bit, when I consistently answered "not strongly at all."

Take the question of "subsidies for ethanol." I'm mildly against them. But if they continue, you're not going to find me standing on the Potomac River bridge. Same for pretty much every other issue that most people call "hot-button" topics.

I'll be honest - I am not going to live or die over the "line-item veto." People who feel "very strongly" about the line-item veto scare me a bit. I feel "very strongly" about getting my quart of ice cream before bed. Everything else, not so much.

So, back to the survey. Who is this Sam Brownback?

I ask because he is the only candidate for president who, apparently, shares my views on Iraq. I took this test 30 minutes ago, so don't ask me what my views on Iraq are. I forget.

But at the time I took it, this Brownback chap and I were on the same page. It was a startling enough development that I took some time to do a little research on him. A quick review of his history shows that he has - in a show of bipartisanship - campaigned with ... Joe Biden. Wow, this is getting cosmic.

Most of the front-runners in the campaign were middle-of-the-pack for me. I wish this weren't the case, because I would really like to back a winner. But most of my folks will be long gone by spring.

So in the end, I'm not sure what good this survey did. I was mildly interested to find that I agreed with Mitt Romney on four out of 11 issues. Then I hit "refresh" and I agreed with him on eight of 11 issues. I hit refresh again and I agreed with him on two of 11 issues. Then I realized that what started out as a simple joke about Mitt Romney's flip-flops on the issues was getting entirely out of hand.

But if it comes down to taking cheap shots or writing out a check to Joe Biden - well, I'm just afraid he'll be out of the race by the time he gets it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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