Can I Get Some Delaware Pride Goin’ Here?
Given my Delaware ties, I’m just darn near thrilled about Barack Obama’s choice of Delaware senator Joe Biden as his running mate.
- I lived in Delaware from 1957 to 1988 except for college in the mid ’70s and three years as a swingin’ single in the mid ’80s. During those absences, I lived, as I do now, in nearby Chester County, Pennsylvania.
- My wedding was in Delaware and Mrs. QC is a native Delawarean with even deeper ties to the state than I.
- I have a master’s degree from the University of Delaware and I have been a big fan of that school’s football program for most of my life, having attended upwards of 50 games.
- Sussex, the only one of the three Delaware counties in which I’ve not lived, has been the site of several family vacations, with its wonderful beach towns — Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, and Fenwick Island.
Paradoxically, I wouldn’t want to move back to Delaware — at least not to the most-populated county, New Castle, which is where I grew up. It just doesn’t hold much appeal for reasons I’ll not go into here.
I like to think having ties to Delaware makes me rather unique and being Jewish, doubly so. And for whatever reason, I take pride in that uniqueness. I’m always interested when Delaware gets one of its rare turns on the national stage. So this is kind of a big deal to me. If Biden helps Obama pick up support, that will amplify the Delaware pride thing I’ve got goin’ now. If, on the other hand, he turns out to be a drag on the ticket — and contributes to Obama’s losing the election, I’ll have embarrassment for Delaware to contend with along with extreme disappointment, and, yes, fear.
I haven’t always been a big Joe Biden fan, but the more I recall and learn about him, the better I feel about his selection. Last Saturday, August 16, I canvassed for the Obama campaign, something I find very difficult to do, being quite shy. Should I work up the nerve to canvass again, the presence of Biden on the ticket will help me counter target voters’ concerns about Obama’s relative lack of experience, something I had difficulty doing last weekend.
I remember when I was a high school student and Biden came to give a talk at my school, which happens to be on the same road as his current home. I believe it was in his first year as a senator. As a matter of fact, he may not have even been sworn in yet. But it was definitely after the tragic loss of his first wife, Neilia, and his daughter, Naomi, in an automobile accident less than 10 miles from where I lived. I wasn’t much into politics then, but I do recall being moved by the poignancy of Biden’s story and his strength and positive outlook in the face of a most awful kind of tragedy.
In the last eight years, Biden, though he voted to give Bush the latitude to invade Iraq, has been outspoken in his criticism of Bush and his GOP enablers in Congress. He has a way of pointing out the foibles of the Republicans that is very easy for the not so politically aware to understand. And Biden does it with relish.
Obama should use Biden as his attack dog — and do sort of a “good cop-bad cop” number on John McCain. I think voters will respond to that and it’s one of the reasons, along with Biden’s foreign policy chops, that Obama chose him.
Then there’s Biden’s story … it’s one with no shortage a lot of hooks on which to snare the interest of potential Obama voters:
- losing Neilia and Naomi in the accident
- raising his badly injured, surviving sons while ascending in influence in the Senate
- commuting for decades to DC from Wilmington via Amtrak
- beating cancer
- son Beau, now the attorney general of Delaware, set to deploy to Iraq in October as a captain in the Delaware National Guard.
Nate Silver, over at FiveThirtyEight.com, analyzes some fresh Rasmussen numbers on voter perception of the prospective VP candidates — polls taken just before Biden’s selection — and sees Biden as having more bang for Obama’s buck than Biden’s co-finalists — Indiana senator Evan Bayh, Virginia govenor Tim Kaine, and Kansas govenor Kathleen Sibelius (Silver also threw Hillary Clinton into his analysis):
What’s noteworthy is not so much that Biden will turn a lot of McCain voters on — Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton would have done a better job of that — but that he’ll turn very few Obama voters off. As a result, this method projects a net swing of 2 points toward Obama, which is better than he’d do with any of the other candidates.
Joe Biden might do nearly as good a job as Clinton of uniting the party, while perhaps paying less of a price among independents.
If Silver is on target, those two points are likely to be huge in what is shaping up to be another close election.
Those readers residing here in Pennsylvania can also take local pride in Biden’s selection. Not only is Biden a native of Scranton, he has long been known as “Pennsylvania’s third senator” — although I haven’t found a citation of the originator of the phrase and I confess to not even having heard it until yesterday. At any rate, if Biden’s presence on the ticket virtually locks up Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes for Obama — not to mention Delaware’s three 😉 — I’m happy to mix in equal parts Pennsylvania pride along with my Delaware pride.
Now I’m hoping McCain will double the VP selection pleasure and choose Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Should that occur Delaware pride would trump Jewish pride 🙂 — no contest there.