Thursday, October 30, 2008

I've Been Biden My Time ...

... but I think I'd better get this post up before the election's over.

Joe Biden came to town two weeks ago, and I got to see him before I had to go teach. The timing was tight, so this involved a lot of high-speed bike riding to and from the local fairgrounds. Okay, my definition of "high-speed" is pretty laughable, and to be honest I rolled into class about a half minute late, but it was worth the fuss.

The speech Biden gave closely tracked the campaign's themes in recent days. Support for the middle class. Energy independence. Health care reform. Prudence abroad. If you watched the debates, you know the spiel.

Which frees me to be totally silly and superficial. (Oops, I just typed "superstitious." Talk about a Freudian slip - I am completely, foolishly superstitious about this election.)

Biden's talk was preceded by the entire Democratic food chain. First up was our wonderful local candidate for the Ohio Statehouse, Debbie Phillips. I rode in too late to get a picture of her. Then again, I know what she looks like; she's a friend, and her daughter's a year ahead of my older son in the same school. She'd in a tough race against one of the very few local Republicans who is not a complete loser. (Their gene pool is small.)

Next up was Richard Cordray, who does not look anything like comedian Rob Corddry, formerly of the Daily Show, although I keep mixing them up - never mind that their names are even spelled differently.

He's running to be Ohio's next attorney general, after his predecessor disgraced himself. I liked him. And I thought he was rather cute, but the prize for "much cuter in person than I expected" went to Sherrod Brown, Ohio's single Democratic Senator. (See, I warned you this was not going to be a deep analytical post.)

By contrast, our governor, Ted Strickland, is impossible to photograph except when he's making some sort of funny snoot.

I got to shake Governor Strickland's hand after the festivities. I didn't get my paws on Joe Biden, though not for lack of hanging around and looking overeager. Even though it was a fairly intimate rally with a few hundred attendees, Biden was too swamped by the throngs of people for me to get very close. As budding political celebrity whore, I guess I have to work on my skills.

My favorite part of Biden's talk was the anecdote he told early on. While a student at the University of Delaware, Biden visited Ohio University one weekend for a football game. The Athens News took better notes on this than I did:
"I made a little mistake here," Biden told the crowd. That error, the vice-presidential candidate said, was going along with a group of young women he'd met to their dormitory. After walking in that night, Biden said he was immediately accosted by an officer, a quick reminder that men often weren't allowed in the women's dorms in those days.

"But I promise you I never breached the first floor," he joked with the crowd, saying it was only a brief detention with the police. Referring to his experience at the dorm, Biden said, "That's what I remember most about Athens."
And you know, I believed him. It was a rehearsed story, sure, but also a glimpse of the young Biden, carefree and silly and not yet wed to rules of political propriety. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only person at the rally who felt like we knew Biden a little better afterward - and liked him better, too.

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