Another Nowhere Man
"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.