Yesterday's Chicago Tribune included an opinion piece that, even though we're a day late on it, we just can't let slip by. In it, writer Dennis Byrne rails against the fact that both party's presidential front-runners are New York politicians (and Bloomberg, our mayor, might join them in the race). He claims it's bad for America that the leading candidates are from somewhere so "provincial."
I find it curious that American voters may have to choose between two New Yorkers and it has received little, if no attention, from the coastal media. Maybe they think the rest of us won't notice. Maybe they don't care whether the rest of us notice. After all, New York is the Center of Everything (followed at a respectful distance by the District of Columbia and a great distance by everyone else), so the rest of us should be glad that someone from New York would be sitting in the Oval Office.
Okay, first of all, stop projecting. And second of all, fuck you.
This editorial is misguided in many ways (not the least of which, Clinton is originally from Chicago and Bloomberg from the Boston area), but we'll tackle his main point: "Regional politics always has played a role in presidential elections from the republic's very beginning," Byrne explains, "when New England commercial and shipping interests and the South's agrarian and slavery interests were at each other's throats." Apparently Byrne hasn't been paying attention to the campaign lately. Rather than being about New York, all focus has been centered upon New Hampshire and Iowa (or in Rudy's case, Florida). New York couldn't be less of a factor in this election, beyond the fact that Rudy and Hillary have homes here. Because of primary calendars and the electoral college, New York's voice is all but stifled in national elections. Except to fundraise, nobody bothers to campaign here because the state's 31 electoral-college votes are all but sure to go to the Democratic-appointed candidate.
In addition, as we've learned from Rudy's national success, nobody cares what New Yorkers think. People who were at ground zero working with Giuliani after the 9/11 attacks are traveling the country and writing articles, trying to educate voters on the deep flaws in Giuliani's terrorism record. Yet voters elsewhere turn deaf ears to New Yorkers, and he has ridden his "America's Mayor" reputation to the lead in national polls. In fact, being hated by New Yorkers probably helps a candidate's numbers across the nation.
So, Dennis Byrne of Chicago, we're not sure what the problem is. That the two (or maybe three) people in the lead to be our next president were talented, charismatic, and intelligent enough to earn the confidence of voters in the nation's largest, most influential, and diverse metropolis? Or that two powerful New Yorkers have been prostrating themselves before the high altar of Middle America?
Eh, you're right. The second one is kind of annoying.