The XX Factor

Does Ben and Jerry’s Make Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Crunch?

Rachael, describing my ideal GOP-ste r isn’t hard. She supports civil liberties, she wants the government out of its citizens’ personal lives and favors smaller, effective, government-run programs where needed. She supports free trade, recognizes global warming and opposes the death penalty. No invasions, no torturing-and no bailouts. Finding her-on either side of the aisle-proved harder.

I ruled out Maine’s Olympia Snowe-too protectionist. And that state’s Susan Collins-she’s a bailout girl, and I don’t think my government should be in the banking business, or the auto business, for that matter. Connecticut’s M. Jodi Rell is fiscally pretty sound, but too caught up in the gay marriage issue. New Jersey’s Christine Todd Whitman comes close. In particular, I appreciate that she didn’t compromise her views on the environment in order to further her political career. Of course, she hasn’t had to weigh in on health care reform. And to me, that falls into the area of government we actually need. I’m looking for a Republican who wants to create a health care plan, not just destroy one, and that’s where Kay Bailey Hutchison, civil though she may be, falls short.

I’d support a Republican candidate who was sound on the economics, creative on policy, and sane on the social issues-but I’ve been researching the votes of minor political figures for the past two hours, and the closest I came to my ideal was … Mark Sanford. Socially moderate, innovative on education reform, willing to go out on a limb to reduce government spending , felled, like so many others, by a libido that matched his ambition.

I’d fail just as badly digging around Democratic records, too. But I’m not the best person to ask about crossing party lines-in five Presidential elections, I’ve voted for the Republican candidate thrice and the Democrat twice. So, for any real party members-and that includes you, Rachael-who’s out there that you’d cross party lines for?

Photograph of Christine Todd Whitman by Mario Tama/Getty Images.