Thursday, May 13, 2010


Kathleen Parker, advancing a popular new GOP meme in her latest Washington Post column:

What is Kagan's geography? What is her anchorage, her port of call?

Coincidentally, she shares the same home town as the other two women on the court. Assuming Kagan is confirmed, all three women will hail from New York. Kagan grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Sonia Sotomayor is from the Bronx and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is from Brooklyn.

If diversity on the court is our goal, we may be missing a region or two.

Perhaps. But I find that there's a lot more discussion of this geographic imbalance than of others that have affected our national political life in recent years.

Let's talk about the presidency. In the 65 years since FDR died, do you know how long the Oval Office has been occupied by someone from the Northeast? A whopping 3 years. (Well, not even -- JFK was shot a couple of months short of completing his third year in office.)

Now, in those 65 years, do you you know how many years we've had Southern presidents? Um, 29.

So, in 2000, when we were completing our 12th straight year of having a Southern president (In fact, our presidents had been Southern for 21 of 37 years at that time), did anyone say it was unseemly that we were facing an election between a Tennesseean and a Texan? Did anyone say "we may be missing a region or two"? Did Kathleen Parker (of Florida and South Carolina) say that? Did anyone say it was unseemly that the Democrats hadn't nominated Bill Bradley or John Kerry, or that the GOP hadn't picked Colin Powell or Christie Whitman or Bill Weld, strictly for geographic reasons?

Especially given the fact that Congress had been (apart from the figurehead Dennis Hastert) controlled for years by a series of Southerners -- Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Dick Armey? Was the GOP's leadership at that time "missing a region or two"?

Oh, but I forget: Northeasterners are weird freaks. White Southerners are normative.


Incidentally, New York City may occupy a small amount of land, but its population is just over 8 million -- which means that it has more people than 39 of the 50 states.

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