Posted: July 15, 2005


Sometimes there is a cab when you need one  

There but for a London cab, Delaware Chief Justice Myron T. Steele would have been on a subway line as it was hit by a suicide bomber during the morning rush hour on July 7, and Vice Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr. would have been with him.

Steele, Strine and a number of others involved in the state's signature practice of business law -- including former Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey -- were in London last week for a conference of the International Corporate Governance Network, an organization of 500 people from 38 countries.

The morning of the terrorist attack, Steele and Strine were invited for a private tour of the new Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, a restoration of the underground chambers where Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and his Cabinet met during the air raids in World War II.

The two judges planned to take the underground, or subway, never expecting to find a cab available as people made their way to work, but one happened to be outside their hotel, so they hailed it.

"It was amazingly fortuitous," Steele said. "We would clearly have been on the line somewhere."

Steele and Strine toured the museum, only learning afterwards of the terrorist attack. Steele found historic irony in being safe inside the war rooms that had kept Churchill safe, as well.

Steele was impressed by the Londoners' response. He said it was as if they were saying, "We've been through this with the IRA. This is not just another day at the office, but we can cope. . . . We're not going to be another Spain. We're not going to run from it."

Steele did his part, too, taking the underground the next day. "It was sort of an up-yours reaction," he said, although he also had thought it out. "As a practical matter, there's no way these clowns could do it two days in a row."

A Modest Proposal 

The Delaware Republicans sent out an odd press release this week to announce the party's goals for preparing for the 2006 election.

The state has more than half a million voters on the books. The Republicans say they want to register 4,350 new party members.

That number is so small that it was enough to make a Democrat laugh. "They look weak. The way the state is growing, they ought to do that without doing anything," one Democrat quipped.

It has worked for the Democrats. For the 2004 election, while the Republicans sweated to add 8,233 voters to their party, proudly exceeding their goal of 7,500 new Republicans, the Democrats yawned their way to 18,230 additional voters without so much as a target or a plan.

Even more discouraging for the Republicans, the voters independent of either party marched in by themselves for the 2004 election and out-registered the Republicans by adding 9,482 names to the rolls.

State Republican Chairman Terry A. Strine gushed about the new goal, anyway. In the press release he called it "substantive, attainable . . . [with] tremendous impact not only in the '06 elections, but on the political landscape in Delaware for years to come."

Attainable? It better be. Substantive? The state currently is 44 percent Democratic, 33 percent Republican and 23 percent others, and the additional Republicans would not add so much as a percentage point to their total.

"Is it going to change the world? No. But it starts to turn the state back," said David A. Crossan, the Republicans' executive director. "It's better to have a weak goal than no goal at all."