Opinion: The Joe Biden VP pick continues an ’08 Scranton hot streak


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DENVER -- We haven’t yet seen an advance copy of Joe Biden’s prime-time speech tonight, but along with launching a full-throated attack on the Bush administration’s foreign policy, the senator from Delaware almost assuredly will highlight another place -- Scranton, Pa.

That’s where he was born and spent part of his childhood; serendipitously for him, as it turns out.


Indeed, before listening to Biden, it would be worthwhile to check out, on, a piece headlined: ‘How Scranton Became the New Peoria.’

As author Mark Jurkowitz (a native of the city) notes, ‘No one could have envisioned its emergence as a full-blown icon in this campaign.’

Hillary Clinton started this impossible-to-foresee development earlier this year when, as a linchpin of her Pennsylvania primary campaign, she embraced Scranton -- her father’s birthplace -- as her own (though, as The Ticket pointed out at time, she apparently was guilty of selective memory).

Now, as Jurkowitz writes:

In an election in which economic hardship and working class anxiety are crucial issues, Scranton has somehow become a symbol of both the ills and resilience of our society as a whole. And for the candidates, a Scranton background is a badge of honor, a way of saying ‘I am one of you.’ The way things are going, Bruce Springsteen will probably write a song about Scranton. (Billy Joel did ‘Allentown,’ but he was off by about 50 miles.) All that will be needed to complete Scranton’s improbable rise as the touchstone of this year’s election will be for a candidate to utter the cliche, ‘Today, we are all Scrantonians.’

We have it on good authority that at Delaware’s annual Democratic Jamboree on Saturday in the beach town of Lewes, euphoria reigned over Biden’s selection as Barack Obama’s running mate. And the state’s convention delegation was thrilled when its seating spot inside the Pepsi Center was quickly changed from a nosebleed section to the floor level.

Biden always will be beloved in Delaware. Still, expect to hear him -- tonight and throughout the rest of the campaign -- harken back to the city he left at 10 years of age, not the state he has represented in the senate since 1973.


-- Don Frederick

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