Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Nowhere Man

"What's notable about Romney's real-estate holdings, including the townhouse, is how totally they physically separate him from the rest of humanity," writes Froma Harrop of the candidate's "coast-to-coast buffer zone of luxury" — Does Romney Have a Home?

"Has he treated the state where he served as governor as merely a mailing address?" she asks. "Furthermore, does anyone who has three houses, two of them ginormous, really live anywhere? Or is he merely the globe-trolling private-equity zillionaire, happy wherever other rich people congregate?"

Localist Bill Kauffman's classic from '08 comes to mind, in which he reminded us that "just as one cannot love the 'human race' before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love 'the world' unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world" — The Candidates from Nowhere.

"America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories," he writes. "A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about 'the homeland'–a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country."

When Mr. Romney did show some humanity and placed-ness, his words were largely ridiculed by the deracinated press — Mitt Romney Repeatedly References Height Of Trees In Michigan. "Everything seems right here," said the candidate of his home state. "You know, I come back to Michigan; the trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing. It just feels right."

I have to admit I was touched by those words when I heard them on the wireless in my horseless carriage driving through Western New York after 15 years of self-imposed exile.

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Blogger Mark D. said...

Romney is far from a perfect candidate, and a big part of his imperfection comes from the fact that he simply won't be himself. When he does break through -- his comments on his home state of Michigan, or his comments about his wife and her health battles, or when he talks about his experiences as a Mormon missionary in France -- he comes across as an actual human being. And a likeable one at that. I wish he would be more like that -- I think he would be a more effective leader (not just a politician but a leader) if he did.

March 31, 2012 at 1:21 AM  

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