The only recently successful one I remember was Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s bus trip shortly after the 1992 convention. It seemed a relatively low-tech, novel, charming little trip that actually stirred up interest and fairly sizeable crowds.
Now we have Sarah Palin’s on again-off again bus tours that enable her to essentially party-crash wherever some big Republican event is happening. And then there’s the President’s “non-political,” “non-campaign,” three-day bus tour in a scary looking super-fortified shiny black bus that looks like the kind of vehicle Darth Vader would have used if he decided to go on a listening tour.
The best moment of the Sarah Palin Iowa visit came when ABC News Correspondent, Jake Tapper tried to ask a couple of questions and the former Alaska Governor put him off because she had an appointment with a heifer in the nearby dairy pavilion; proof she really was there to pet the animals and was not seeking media attention.
Following the Sarah Palin mob scene at the Iowa State Fair, the media pretty much forgot about her as only NBC chose to keep covering her “bus tour” as it veered off into Ronald Reagan country with visits to the Gipper’s childhood home in Dixon, Illinois and his alma mater of Eureka College. That was followed by a stop at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. It must have been an odd and empty feeling for the Palin’s to see the media mob gone, their attention sucked up by Texas Governor, Rick Perry and President Obama’s own bus tour. It actually turned into a real honest-to-goodness Palin family vacation, which I’m guessing was a somewhat unexpected development for them.
As for President Obama’s “regular guy,” “non-political” bus tour; it is immediately being followed by what has now become a controversial vacation for ten days in posh Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Critics from the left and the right are saying the Martha’s Vineyard “optics” don’t look good with all the economic misery out there and what not.
Perhaps the First Family should forego the Vineyard and just hang out on the big shiny, fortified black bus for the next couple of weeks. Given all the anger permeating the nation, it may just be the safest option- plus it reportedly has really cool flat-screen TV’s.
Don’t accidently meander into Texas though, Mr. President. I hear it can get ugly down there for Federal Reserve Board Chairmen and presumably other government types as well. Then again, you can probably launch nuclear missles from that thing, can’t you?