Come Home, AmericarnConfessions of a Place-istrnby Bill KauffrnanrnGreetings from New York, where a new hate erinie is takingrnshape: It is called “place-ism,” and it will be definedrnin the criminal code as the belief that a particular place, be it arnneighborhood, village, cit)’, or state, is superior to any otherrnplace, and that the residents of this place have a histon,-, customs,rnaccent, or concerns that are different from those of otherrnplaces. (Dr. Alvin Pouissant will soon recommend that placeistsrnbe incarcerated in nuthouses; though thanks to the labors ofrnthe alorous Tipper Gore, at least our copay will be verv’ low.)rnAn outbreak of irulent place-ism has greeted the senatorialrncampaign of Hillan- Rodham Clinton, despite the conciliatoryrneditorials of the Gannett papers and despite Mrs. Glinton’s assertionrnthat “where I’m from is not as important as what I’m for.”rnIf Hillan.- does indeed run, she probably will lose, a victim ofrnplace-ism, mart)T to atavistic home-philia. Recall that the onlyrnreason the carpetbagger Bobby Kennedy defeated New YorkrnSen. Ken Keating in 1964 is that Angie Dickinson’s floorboardrnhad been killed a year earlier. Mrs. Glinton, note well.rnThe unwelcome wagon that has been rolled out for Hillaryrnin the real New York is not much more hostile tlian whatrnGeorge W. Bush met when he ran for Congress in West Texasrnin 1978. A Yale preppie who could not even pronounce thernname of his district’s largest city, a necrophiliac Skull andrnBonesmau among lAggies, George W. said, through tears, at thernpress conference after his defeat, that there was a word to explainrnwhy he lost: “provincialism.”rnGod sa’e provincialism—God sae place-ism — God save thernvillage green: the love of home, of neighbors, of the eccentricrnand the Rotarian, the eccentric Rotarian too, because provincialsrnarc all that stand between us and the people in grey:rnGeorge W. Bush and Hillary Glinton, Tony Blair and BillrnC^.ates. The provincials are the parh’ of peace and libertv’ andrnfriendship: of those qualities never found in the Federal Registerrnor a Heritage Foundation backgrounder.rnBill Kauffrnan s hooka include Even,’ Man a King cz/ic/AmericarnFirst! Its History-, Culture, and Politics. This article is adaptedrnfrom his October 1999 speech to The John Randolph Club.rnUnlike the alleged cokehead who seeks to be the next miserablernpresident from Texas, I feel a twinge when I wax too h-pocritical.rnIn my own young and irresponsible youth, I cashed arngovernment paycheck for a couple of years as a legislative assistantrnto a liberal U.S. senator before taking to heart the advice ofrnHenry Thoreau: “If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer,rnasks me, as one has done, ‘but what shall I do?’ my answer is, ‘ifrnyou really wish to do anything, resign }-our office.’ Wl-ien thernsubject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned hisrnoffice, then the revolution is accomplished.”rnI know, I know: Tell it to Janet Reno.rnIn any event, I am in the position of Dre«- Barrymore ad-isingrnteenage girls to sae themselves for marriage. I will not engagernin cheap Washir-igton-bashing, haing been so admonishedrnby David Broder and Bill Bennett—or, should I say, byrnthe mediocre but very- imderpaid factotum who actually writesrnthe words attributed to the Republican Partv’s leading intellectual.rnI do not detest what is in fact a beautiful cih-: Washington,rnthe Washington of Jefferson and Benton, of La FoUette andrnTaft, of Henr)-Adams and John Hav, of Clark Clifford and Can,-rnBauer. Garj- Bauer: If this is the face of family values, give mernWilliam S. Burroughs any day. One of mv favorite Bauer linesrnwas when he advised a conference of budding conservativernmovement hangers-on: “As for life inside the Beltvvav, don’trncome here. The values are warped. If I covild find a wa- tornmake a living, I’d be back in the heartland in a minute.”rnI once wrote a novel. Ever}’ Man a King, whose tenth anniversaryrncame and went this past May with nary a festschrift.rnThe book was about a young smart-alcck who works for a senatorrnin D.G.; he sins, at least as sin is defined in the Potomac catechism,rnand is cast out, homeward, to live among the peoplernhe has celebrated with a i-|-iawkish insinceritv seldom seen thisrnside of tire Nashville Network.rnNot to spoil the ending for tiie handful of folks who have neverrndevoured this classic —and you call yourselves well-read? —rnbut the rcvenant returns for good. Because I, too, had taken therndownbound train to D.C. and back, folks seemed to think thernnoel was autobiographical. It was not, but I did learn a alu-rnMARCH 2000/19rnrnrn