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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Basic Biittner : Which 'Home State?'

Monday, February 18, 2008

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During news coverage of "Super Duper Tuesday" last week, a newscaster referred to Illinois as Senator Obama's "home state" and to New York as Senator Clinton's "home state." It led me to wonder - just what state should be designated someone's "home state?"

For example, Senator Clinton was born and lived her furst twenty years or so in ... Illinois. Chicago, actually. I remember when the Cubs were in the post-season a few years ago, and then- First Lady Clinton was suddenly a big Cubs fan and an Illinois native - her home state, after all!

Clinton, of course, attended college in Massachusetts, was First Lady of Arkansas for several years, and a resident of the District of Columbia for eight years before becoming a resident (and U.S. senator) from New York. So which of her former or current residences should be considered her "home?"

Not to single out Senator Clinton. I mean, in the other party, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is the former Governor of Massachusetts, but was born and grew up in Michigan. Forty years ago, Bobby Kennedy of Massachusetts and Virginia became a Senator from New York, just like Clinton did several decades later. The first President Bush was also a multi-state "favorite son." President Reagan? Born in Illinois, radio personality in Iowa, movie, tv personality and Governor in California...

It seems to me that the media can declare a candidate to be a "favorite son" (or daughter) of whichever state makes a good story for them. For example, if the candidate does not win a state's primary, caucus, or election, the story becomes "He (she) didn't even carry their home state!"

If, on the other hand, they win, the headline then becomes " (candidate's name) carried his home state - no surprise there."

The truth of the matter is, in these days of frequent movement around the country (or the world), how many candidates can really be considered to have a "home state?"

In all likelihood, only a candidate who was born in a state and also grew up, was educated, and works in that same state, is really considered a native son (or daughter) by that state's voters. Some of the candidates are really kind of "homeless," actually.

Don't tell them that, though. They'd probably claim to be a member of that unfortunate special interest group and try to use that on their resume.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner