Posted: Jan. 3, 2006


The winner and still champion 

U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. did what everybody knew he could. He talked for a month of Sundays.

This is not a figure of speech. Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, tracks the number of times that members of Congress appear on the Sunday news shows. Based on the newspaper's tally, Biden talked his way onto television on 28 Sundays in 2005 -- a month of them in anybody's book.

The Delaware Democrat with the presidential aspirations landed eight times on "Face the Nation" on CBS, six times each on "This Week" on ABC and "Late Edition" on CNN, and four times each on "Meet the Press" on NBC and "Fox News Sunday."

No other member came close. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is involved in so much he is practically a shadow president, was the runner-up with 17 appearances by mid-December, according to Roll Call.

Biden even swamped Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat, who clocked in with 14 interviews, and Schumer is the guy who inspired Bob Dole to crack that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Schumer and a camera.

Biden's television time actually is higher, because Roll Call does not keep records on programs that air other than Sunday mornings, such as "Larry King Live" or "Hardball" or the weekly morning news shows.

By the way, the newspaper does not compile its list out of admiration for the members. Although the chart officially is called "Roll Call Face Time," one of its columnists recently disclosed how the staffers in the newsroom refer to it.

They call it the "TV Whore" list.

Laugh if you're a Republican

Republican state headquarters ended 2005 by coming out with a collection of "Delaware Democratic Profile in Governing Awards."

The "recognition" ranged from what could be construed as watchdog material to just plain potshots, a lot of it aimed at that growing Democratic enterprise of Biden & Son.

For example, the Republicans gave New Castle County Executive Christopher A. Coons its "It Must Be Nice to Have a Government Job Award" for paying his staff high-end salaries, some in the six-figure range.

Joe Biden got the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Year Award," which the party said he deserved "for entertaining the notion that he can actually win the presidency," while Beau Biden and his candidacy for attorney general received the "With a Name Like Mine, Who Needs Experience Award."

As political stunts go, the awards were a pale, pale, pale reminder of the days when there were Delaware Republicans who could come up with memorable stunts that were instructive, constructive and fun -- like the Christmas when U.S. Sen. William V. Roth Jr. skewered the Pentagon by decorating a tree with spare parts that cost $100 at a hardware store but $100,000 for the military.

The "awards" did serve one purpose, however. The fantasy "achievements" diverted attention from the reality that the party could not present "Delaware Republican Profile in Governing Awards."

The state is just about out of Republicans in government.