Posted: Feb. 28, 2012


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

There is some stuff no one could make up. Delaware got very used to it over the years, because this state has Joe Biden.

The Democratic vice president set the standard so high that Time magazine once ran a list of "Top 10 Joe Biden Gaffes," the biggest blooper naturally being the aside heard 'round the world, when an open microphone caught him telling the president that signing Obama-care into law was a "BFD."

The rest of Delaware clearly has learned from the master.

CAP THIS. ING Direct, the online bank headquartered in Wilmington, is merging with Capital One, which the Wall Street Journal noted is often called CapOne. Surely a financial firm, which expects people to trust it with their money, could do better than saddle itself with a nickname that looks a lot like "Capone" -- as in Al Capone.

LOST WITHOUT A POWDERED WIG. Chip Flowers roared into the state treasurer's office last year with a pledge to modernize it. "The vision and mission of the office were not tailored to meet the challenges required of a 21st Century financial organization," he declared.

Strange that with his focus on the future, the Democratic treasurer would post his annual report online a few weeks ago with a background that makes it look like a document written on parchment. How very 18th Century.

TRANSPARENT, NOT INVISIBLE. When Jack Markell gave his State of the State speech last month, he called on the General Assembly to become more transparent with online disclosure, bill by bill, of the lobbyists behind them.

So when the Democratic governor's PAC listed a $10,000 contribution from something called "Rock River Real Estate," it was only fitting for the PAC to concede upon questioning that Rock River was really part of Stoltz, the developer of controversial projects at Barley Mill Plaza and Greenville Center. What is good for the legislature is good for the executive . . . .

A CUP OF JOE WITH BREAKFAST. It was not easy to find someone without ties to the Bidens to lead the state part of an investigation into campaign contributions linked to Chris Tigani, the liquor executive soon to be sentenced for federal election law violations.

It was so hard that the task eventually fell to Norm Veasey, a Republican who used to be the chief justice, even though Veasey himself had made contributions to Joe Biden-the-father and Beau Biden-the-son-the-attorney-general. Legal contributions, of course.

When Joe Biden spoke at a breakfast of the Conference of Chief Justices as it met in Wilmington several weeks ago, Veasey was there nevertheless. "Having the vice president here, really outstanding," Veasey said.

It was only natural that Veasey would be invited to the conference, which he once chaired, but it was a four-day session. It might have been better if he had skipped the breakfast with Biden and just gone to a nice panel discussion.

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, GOING THREE TIMES. The Delaware Democrats will not have a presidential primary this year, because Barack Obama was the only candidate to file. Under state law, it makes him the automatic winner. The Delaware Republicans will have a primary, choosing among Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on April 24.

This means the Republicans will be going to the polls three times -- for the presidential primary, the state primary and the general election -- while the Democrats will be going just two times.

It is all right. The way the Republicans have been faring in state politics lately, their voters can use the extra practice.