Posted: June 21, 2005


Silly Political Tricks I

There is no disputing that Thomas R. Carper has set the standard for persuading Delaware voters that one good term deserves another.

Not only does he hold the record for statewide victories by winning 11 times, Carper also was the first Delaware Democrat to be elected to two consecutive terms as governor and one of those rare officeholders to hit for the triple crown of congressman, governor and the senator he is now.

Carper must be doing something right. Maybe that is the reason other politicians seem to be figuring that they ought to be doing what he does.

For Carper, if something is worth doing, it is worth publicity. Last month he sent out a press release when he donated blood.

If it was good enough for Carper and his run-of-the-mill red blood, imagine what it could do for a Republican blueblood. Weeks later, the Delaware GOP's Web site posted an item about a blood donation from state Sen. Charles L. Copeland, who is a du Pont.

Not that it was any big deal for Copeland to make the Web site. He is getting pushed for governor so relentlessly by party higher-ups that he has become the Brad Pitt of the Republican publicity machine.

The headline for the blood donation write-up went where even Carper dared not go. "Sen. Copeland helps save a life," it said.

Blood did not do for New Castle County Executive Christopher A. Coons, but blood ties did. Coons took credit for Father's Day.

Yes, there was a press release. It quoted Coons, "As the saying goes, anybody can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad."

The press release noted that Coons, who is a first-term Democrat, "is Dad to four-year-old Maggie and six-year-old twins Jack and Michael," and it offered "a special opportunity for fathers to be dads" by joining Coons at a Father's Day picnic at a county-run park.

What is next? Pink carnations on graves for Mother's Day? Oh wait, the last county administration already did that a year ago. It did not send out a press release, but county residents may remember the shock of the flowers with little tags left at a Newark cemetery.

"Happy Mother's Day. Tom Gordon and Sherry Freebery," the tags read.

Silly Political Tricks II

It is probably only a matter of time before the new bridge across the C & D Canal is named in memory of U.S. Sen. William V. Roth Jr., the late Republican who served six terms.

It would be a pairing of a unique landmark with a one-of-a-kind politician, the span as artistically ephemeral as Roth was down-to-earth.

Although Roth really does not need any help with his legacy, not with his authorship of the Roth IRA and the Roth-Kemp tax cut, legislation that would create the Roth Bridge is on its way through the Congress.

It is hard to think of something that could stop it, not with the kind of support it has. The proposal already has made it through the Senate, where the prime sponsor was Tom Carper, the Democrat who beat Roth in 2000, and the chief backer in the House of Representatives is Congressman Michael N. Castle, a Republican who entertained thoughts of challenging Roth in a primary, although he never did.

Even with all that Roth has going for him, the Delaware Republican Party went into overload when the News Journal asked readers to vote on whether the bridge should be named after him.

C. Kenneth Grant, the party's communications director, sent out a blast e-mail asking Republicans to stuff the ballot box for Roth.

The result was 74 percent in favor of the Roth Bridge -- good, but not great. Even rigging an election, the Republicans lost a quarter of the vote. No wonder the Democrats are running Delaware these days.