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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cincinnati Enquirer's Rightwing Columnist: Flunks History And Geography

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- There are those who suspect that Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson has the intellect of a box of rocks. And there are those who would say hush, it is impolite to insult rocks. In a section titled Yankee Go Home, today's Bronson column is full of historical and biographical omissions, half-truths and errors.

Bronson says former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential candidate, was unelectable because he came from a northern state, Iowa. Wrong. Bob Dole is from Kansas. He was born in Russell, Kan., on July 22, 1923 and served that state in the Capitol for more than a generation. Bronson says President Reagan was a southerner like Lyndon Johnson, D-Tex., and Richard Nixon, R-Cal. Nixon truly was a California native, but Reagan was not. To imply otherwise is a half-truth. Reagan was born in Tampico, Ill., and lived in that state until he turned 21. As an adult -- and after working as a broadcaster in Iowa -- Reagan migrated to the movie colony around Hollywood. He was not a California native.

Bronson says the current President Bush is "all Texan." But that statement is all bull. Bush was born in New Haven, Conn in 1946, as his official White House biography shows. Bronson says New York Sen. Hillary Clinton can pretend she comes from Arkansas -- where she lived with Bill Clinton in his home state. Bronson omits that Hillary is an Illinois native who was born in Chicago and grew up in its suburbs.

Bronson's theory is that southerners win presidential elections and northerners lose. He may be right up to a point. But neither Kansas nor California are considered southern states. They are Great Plains and Pacific Coast, or midwestern and southwestern. And Reagan was from the midwestern prairie, a transplant into California. Bronson says Arizona Sen. John McCain falls into his southern theory. McCain now lives in Phoenix, but was born in the Panama Canal Zone. His father was a naval officer and he grew up on military bases all over the place. McCain has the gray hair, but he doesn't speak with a drawl like that famous southerner with a military title, Col. Harlan Sanders.


  1. Hmm, obviously you are right about Dole. But this is really about the impressions of the voting citizens.

    Reagan didn't run as a Midwesterner, he ran as a California (BTW-that was the state he governed). The impression of the public was that they were voting for someone who was from California.

    What about Bush? If you asked 1,000 voters "where is W from"? What % do you think would say CT? I'd say less than 10% Even those who hate him would call him a Texan.

    Hillary would probably like to be an Arkansan but won't be able to because of her NY Senate seat. BUT, she most certainly won't be thought of as someone from Illinois.

    So in short, elections (and politics), are about voters impressions. I am sure this is what Bronson was talking about.

  2. Hi Nathan --

    Apologies for not responding earlier. Thanks for dropping by.

    I saw Peter Bronson as trying to push his ideology with half-facts. But I do see where you are coming from, and I do see how Reagan, for example, is deeply connected to California. But he is not pure California. I just don't see how his worldview, his sense of self, his character, was shaped by the culture out there. Maybe you think otherwise?

    The current governor of California has launched a political career in that state -- but I don't think anybody would see him as a "Californian." That is not a knock -- it is just to say that Gov. Arnold is much more than a product of a single state.

    So I think it was far too simple for Bronson to claim: If you are from the North you lose, but if you are from the South you win. There were northerners who went south and won.