Posted: July 28, 2016


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The seats for the Delaware Democrats at the national convention were farther back this time.

The location was not bad, but it was not up front the way it was when Joe Biden was going into the vice presidency instead of coming out.

Virginia got the great seats, because of Tim Kaine. Virginia.

That state has a history of wanting to put Delaware in a corner going all the way back to the Constitutional Convention, another famous meeting in Philadelphia, when Virginia argued states should have their congressional representation based on population, and Gunning Bedford Jr., that great Delawarean, stood powerfully against it, declaring, "I do not, gentlemen, trust you!"

Thank heavens for Connecticut and the Great Compromise, or Biden might not have had the chance to make his mark in the Senate and get to run the Foreign Relations Committee, where he encountered a certain junior senator from Illinois, back in the day when a congressional reference book helpfully had to write that the name was pronounced "buh-ROCK o-BAH-mah."

The Democratic convention was quite the reminder of how much Biden has meant to Delaware in influence and prestige, because it does not come easily to a small state.

People would never mistake California or Texas for a county in Pennsylvania.

It was bittersweet as Biden addressed the throngs at the Democratic convention with his time in office running out and admiration for him soaring, even if he did quip on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC the other day, "The way to become really popular is announce you're not running for president."

The speech was vintage Joe. Tim Kaine may speak Spanish, but Biden speaks pure American.

He is the scrappy kid from Claymont, someone who understands what a job means to a family, hates bullies who knock people down and loves whoever is knocked down but gets back up. It sounded personal when he took on Donald Trump.

"How can there be any pleasure in saying, you're fired?" Biden fumed. "He is trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That is a bunch of malarkey."

Biden has been positioned to take up for Delaware more than a small state normally would dare hope for. It is not for nothing people here call him "Our Joe."

He has been doing it for a long time, of course, longer than he has been the vice president, because he was also part of one of the greatest political tandems in state history, right up there with George Read and John Dickinson.

For more than a quarter of a century, Delaware kept electing Joe Biden and Bill Roth to the Senate, even if they did seem an odd match, Biden the vibrant dynamo and Roth the trusty workhorse. The more they rose in seniority, the more of a political force they became.

With Biden as a Democrat and Roth as a Republican, Delaware was never out of power. One or the other chaired a Senate committee. One or the other had a pipeline to the White House. (Another tip of the hat to Connecticut and that constitutional compromise.)

Those days are long gone, the days of the vice presidency are going, and a letdown is coming. The state is about to be left with a federal delegation consisting of a senior senator, a junior senator and a neophyte congressperson.

For years and years, there was Biden to count on. Joe? Joe, we always knew ye.