He’s a Real Nowhere Man

He’s a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his nowhere land,
making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
-Lennon/McCartney

A thought keeps jostling my head.  Mitt Romney is a Nowhere Man, literally.  I guess one could say that his record number of flip-flops on the issues make this moniker a given.  But I’m not thinking of his constantly shifting political positions.  I’m thinking geography.  The man has ties to several different state in the country, but if the polls are to be believed, he has a shot at winning none of them.  Presidential candidates do sometimes lose their home states, though it’s usually considered a political embarrassment.

Beneath the gaudy glare and great national tragedy that was 2000’s Bush v. Gore is the seldom recalled fact that Al Gore did not win his home state of Tennessee.  Mr. Gore served in the House from Tennessee from 1977 to 1985 and then in the Senator from 1985 to 1993, when he became Vice President under President Bill Clinton.  By the time he ran for president in 2000, he had not represented Tennessee for nearly 8 years.  Thus, at the time, many leveled the charge that he was too far removed and too out of touch with his home state to have any real connections to it.  Truth be told, Mr. Gore was actually born in Washington, DC.  He owed his connection to Tennessee to his father, Al Gore, Sr., who also represented that state in the House (1939 – 1953) and Senate (1953 – 1971).  Unlike his son, though, Mr. Gore, Sr. was in fact born in Tennessee.  Had Al Gore won the 11 electoral votes Tennessee had to offer in 2000, he would have won the presidency, even with the shenanigans in Florida.  So here we have a direct example of why it’s often quite embarrassing when a presidential candidate loses the home state.

Even in the wipeout landslide President Ronald Reagan enjoyed in 1984, his opponent Walter Mondale did manage to win his home state of Minnesota.  That and the District of Columbia were the only places he won.

So what about Mitt Romney?  Let’s look at the chances he has at winning the various states where he has ties.  I’m using Nate Silver’s predictions because, well, he’s Nate Silver.  {Ed. note:  all stats from Five Thirty Eight blog were taken at the time this was originally written, Monday evening, Nov. 5.  Stats subject to updating.}

Mr. Romney was born in Michigan, where his father once served as governor.  Though he tried to trump up that connection as much as possible, Nate Silver gives Mr. Romney only a 0.5% chance of winning Michigan.  Oops.

Next, Mitt Romney, of course, also served as a governor for one term of the great state of Massachusetts.  However, during the campaign, he claimed his mantel of governorship only when convenient, such as when touting his job creation prowess or his ability to work with a Democratic legislature.  During other times, he distanced himself from his governorship, such as when folks noted the similarities between his healthcare overhaul plan to President Obama’s.  What’s good for the state ain’t good for the nation, so it would seem.  But it doesn’t really matter whether Mr. Romney embraces or spurns his time as governor.  Mr. Silver places his odds of winning that state at exactly 0%.  Yep, a big, fat, embarrassing goose egg.

Hmm.  OK.  So what about states where Mitt Romney owns houses?  How is he faring there?  Well, he owns, theoretically, a house in Massachusetts, but we already know that story.  He also owns a home in New Hampshire.  Mr. Silver has Romney’s odds of winning the Granite State at 14%, which is certainly better that 0.5% or 0%, but still not great.

Mr. Romney also owns a house in California, in La Jolla.  But Romney/Ryan win California?  Not bloody likely.

An aside:  in 2004, I knew John Kerry was in trouble when I saw such a proliferation of Bush/Cheney bumper stickers in Oakland and Berkeley.  It wasn’t like I saw hoards, and it wasn’t like Mr. Kerry wasn’t going to take California, which he did.  But at the time I reckoned that if that many people in Oakland and Berkeley felt compelled to support Bush/Cheney, what oh what could be happening in other parts of the country?  We saw what happened.  And unlike in 2000, George Bush actually won the popular vote as well as the electoral college vote, all without the help of the Supreme Court.  This time around, however, I have not seen a similar trend.  I’ve seen two and only two Romney/Ryan bumper stickers in my neck of the woods.  (I did see a Herman Cain sticker in LA last year, but that’s another story.)

But where was I?  Ah yes, Mr. Romney’s chances of winning California:  Not bloody likely.  In terms of percentages, per Mr. Silver, once again the goose egg rears its unforgiving head.

The only slack we can cut poor Mr. Nowhere Man is in Utah, the home state of his faith as well as the home of his Winter Olympic triumphs.  He has a 100% chance of winning that state, says the Five Thirty Eight blog.

But frankly, that’s just not good enough.  Losing in the state where you once served as governor is sad.  There’s no other way to put it.  And while he may not have any other ties to Michigan beyond being born and raised there, by all accounts his father was a popular governor.  You would think he’d have some kind of a chance.  But he doesn’t.  Dissing the auto industry likely didn’t help.  Also, his father didn’t mind releasing his tax returns.

In contrast, Mr. Obama is expected to win both his birth state of Hawaii (a 100% chance) and his home state of Illinois (also a 100% chance).

As many, including yours truly, have been stating during this interminably long campaign, Mitt Romney stands for nothing and represents nothing except that which he feels will get him elected.  His unctuousness rivals that of Larry Tate’s from Bewitched.  However, his nowhere qualities in his political positions neatly matches his nowhere qualities in geography.  He truly is a Nowhere Man.

© 2012, gar. All rights reserved.


Comments

He’s a Real Nowhere Man — 2 Comments

  1. Oh and…. “He doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to” I beg to differ on the next line for he’s nothing like you and me!

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