Friday, July 23, 2010

Not Hoity-Toity: Just Down To Earth Joe Biden

Some may say I was fortunate and others would say unfortunate, but last night I attended by design and desire the Democratic Party fundraiser at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Inn at which Vice President Joe Biden spoke, presenting a pretty good case for the re-election of his party for at the very least the coming election cycle, that in two years and one more after that.

While there was a smattering of enthusiastic, but not wildly fervent, applause throughout the talk—a mixture of a prepared teleprompter text and much given speech with a local flavor and old-time political saying sprinkled throughout—I was not willing to put my hands together about everything he said, but I did enjoy being there, especially to hear the Vice President of the United States, especially Joe Biden who, I believe, among all those who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, would have been the best President if elected.

Reason: he knows how to relate to all people at all times, not just an elite group of thinkers one day or a specific group of a certain race or ethnic background the next: he knows how not just to give a straight message but weave it as a story, drawing in his audience as he knows the neighborhood while taking his listeners to other parts of America and around the world, giving a perspective that only Biden can do with his charming smile and serious face and delivery.

Another reason I think he would have made a good President is because of his legislative negotiating skills. Believe it or not, he knew how to get along with Jesse Helms, and that speaks volumes to being able to pass laws with votes from both sides of the aisles. Maybe it’s because of his long-time service in Congress and the many friends he made and the respect he gained from nearly all members of the House and Senate and, while that may not have translated positively if he were President, I feel he would have been able to work closer with Republicans, much closer as President than President Obama has.

Last night’s affair was not your hoity-toity gathering, despite the announced minimum $500 required to get in (there were plenty there who paid less and plenty who contributed more). In today’s report of the function by Rob Christensen of The News & Observer, you are led to believe it was more extravagant than it was. Rob reported, “They grazed on hors d’oeuvres such as beef tenderloin on crispy wonton, crab crostini, and spinach and local goat cheese profiteroles.” All true but these were just bite-size finger foods being offer by the highly competent Carolina Inn wait staff, the same as if they were working a get-together by a Rams Club group prior to a football game or a UNC Board of Governors reception or a fraternity reunion. By the way, Rob left out two of my favorites being offered: some little fried green tomato thingy and the entire plate of dessert cookies, all bite size.

While there were plenty of lawyers, legislators, candidates and other back-slappers in attendance, and while Governor Bev Perdue did the quick introduction so she could share the stage with the Vice President, this was more of blue-collar than high-dollar function—the cash bar offered a substantial glass of wine for $5.00 and premium beer (thank goodness for the New Castle) for only $4.00 a bottle—intended to rally the Democratic troops—especially those who can help with additional fundraising—for the fall election than it was to put some much needed cash into the Democratic National Committee’s bank account. From my view, both were accomplished.

While Mr. Biden’s speech—purely the Company line—was interesting and made points with the faithful while trying to box into a corner the just-say-no Republicans and their failed policies of the eight years of the most recent Bush Administration, I attended for various reasons, not all to be revealed here, of which the utmost was to see and hear Biden in a small setting.

He’s the Vice President, for gosh sakes and I had the opportunity to be there. I went to see and hear President Obama when he came to Raleigh’s Broughton High School last July. I figured seeing Biden would be a lot more entertaining and give me a better perspective of why vote Democratic. He was and he did, though doing the latter is not exactly where I am now or expect to be later.

In a strange way, I’ve admired Biden, while not agreeing with him much of the time, for many years. He says too much sometimes and offers information he should keep to himself, but that’s not all bad. We know him to be down to earth as if he wants to pull you aside and give you some inside stuff to something. He’s got a secret, and he’s going to tell someone. It might as well be you. I’d love to have a sit-down with him in a secluded watering hole and get the inside scoop on his life, politics and other topics. As Vice President, he’s got to miss those types of opportunities.

One more reason for going: After the speech, he came down from the stage and worked the rope line, talking directly to and shaking the hand of at least a hundred of those there. It was fun and interesting to see him do this. He showed genuine concern when someone related a problem and he joined in laughter even when what was said was not funny but the person saying it thought so. He worked that rope line longer than he spoke to the entire group. He posed for photos take by a staff member with small cameras and cell phones, giving those who stayed a memento for life.

And, that’s one of those reasons I went. Got it! Thanks, Joe, for the photo opp, but especially for being yourself.


  1. That's the biggest suck-up you've ever written.

    My father had to work with Joe when he was a congressman. He thought Biden was a complete jerk. From everything I've seen on TV or read in print, I fear dear old Dad was correct.

  2. Come to your senses Jim. Biden's a joke! Nice pic of you though.

  3. 2 peas in a pod.

    Quote---"He says too much sometimes"

    Pot, kettle?


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