The Financial Times, 9-26-08
….Professor Gil Troy, a historian specialising in US presidents at McGill University in Montreal, points to several modern presidencies in which geography played an important role, shaping the narrative of the administration “both symbolically and substantively”. Jimmy Carter’s portrayal of himself as a peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, was, Troy says, “a good way of telegraphing that he was old-fashioned, not part of Washington and a man of core values”.
Ronald Reagan also worked the land, to portray himself as a vigorous westerner in spite of his age, and he created a “kitchen cabinet” of wealthy Republican advisers from his California social circle. These days, we’re accustomed to seeing photographs of President George W Bush clearing brush from his ranch in Crawford, Texas – a far cry from the preppy Kennebunkport, Maine estate his father frequented while in office.
As voters weigh their presidential choices and look for clues about their potential leader, “it’s a completely legitimate question to ask: ‘Where do they live?’,” Troy says. “Those kinds of things do affect a candidate’s world view.”….