Posted: Dec. 21, 2012


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

If the Mayans are right -- or more precisely, if the people who think the Mayans predicted the end of the world are right -- it is going to leave a lot unanswered about Delaware politics.

Will Joe run for president?

Look at the previous vice presidents for the past 50 years: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Spiro Agnew, Jerry Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, George Bush the elder, Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney.

The only ones who never ran for president were the one (Agnew) who took a no-contest plea to tax charges and the one (Cheney) who had so much power behind the scenes, the presidency would have looked like a comedown.

Joe Biden has been running for public office since he was 27 years old. It might take the end of the world to shut him down.

What will Jack do next?

Jack Markell already has put together one of the most successful careers in modern Delaware politics. He ousted a four-term Republican treasurer to win his first statewide office in 1998 and bested John Carney in a Democratic primary on his way to the governorship in 2008. He was re-elected in a rundown economy with a dazzling 69 percent of the vote.

Markell is the chair of the National Governors Association. He is a past chair of the Democratic Governors Association. This is not the look of a man who intends to settle back and take advantage of the early bird special at the local diner anytime soon.

The speculation that Markell will leave the governorship before the end of his second term -- for a Cabinet post or anything else -- sounds unwise.

It is one thing to depart mid-term as treasurer to become governor. The treasurer's most important act, after all, is creating a signature facsimile to go on all the state checks. It is something else to ditch a state that has been entrusted to him and all of the people who are counting on him. Besides, governors love being governor.

Whatever Markell does next, it is a cinch knowing what he will never do again. Like Pete du Pont, Mike Castle, Tom Carper and Ruth Ann Minner, he cannot run for governor as long as he lives. It takes two terms to reach that stratified air. Either that, or a felony conviction.

What happens when five ambitions have to merge into four offices?

The Democrats have clogged up politics with Markell as governor, Tom Carper and Chris Coons as senators, John Carney as congressman, Matt Denn as lieutenant governor and Beau Biden as attorney general, all of them elected statewide at least twice.

Carper, who will be 66 next month, will be departing eventually. It leaves five of them -- Markell, Coons, Carney, Denn and Biden -- trying to shoehorn themselves into the four premier offices as two senators, a congressman and a governor.

It certainly looks like somebody is going to have to be the odd man out. On the bright side, at least Joe Biden got out of their way.

Can it get any worse for the Delaware Republicans?

Yes. Christine O'Donnell could run for senator again in 2014, when Coons is up for re-election, and the Democrats could take out Tom Wagner, the auditor, to shut out the Republicans from all nine of the statewide offices.

Has anybody checked the Mayan calendar? Maybe it only predicted the end for the Republicans.