Most of you don’t attend these…  Like LG you have other obligations, and that’s ok.

Because here is what happened…. More or less.

Castle looked good.. O’Donnell came in late so he spoke by himself, then stood by himself after the process was done…  Shortly afterward he ducked out….

Gates was speaking, or trying to.  A decent looking guy, he should have been a Bollywood star, but public speaking was not his forte…  He is running against the Delaware Favorite: John Kowalko.  His campaign signs are lapis and lime green.  If you live in Newark you’ve seen them… Since I wasn’t planning to write anything, I didn’t take notes.. But he came across as a typical Republican with typical Republican answers, at a time when we know Republican answers don’t work…  When asked by a petitioner of his views on taxing pension benefits (I think), his answer was to leave it to the market place… (Huh?)  His time ran out and no one bothered a follow up, as we were all anxious for Kowalko to speak…

Kowalko, gosh darn I love him, but he needs someone to help him with his public speaking… I sympathize.  He and I share the same affliction of big ideas rushing out through a small hole, unfortunately making as much sense as jet engine….  Having bragged about him highly, my partner turned to me with a quizzical eye, and raising the left eyebrow, said “really”?  ” I was left to repeating the old adage, one uses anytime events don’t correlate with ones expectations… Bush uses the phrase a lot….  “Trust me,” I said. “He’s a saint…”  It’s obvious John cares about those who are victims… But I should volunteer my speech writing skills to him; even one of his constituents with whom John worked to remove a crack house in a neighborhood, required some clarification by John….

Of course John was most proud of his efforts to bring Bluewater Wind to Delaware… as well he should be…and that is where John, gosh darn I love him, is at his finest….and the reason why his constituents as well as those from the rest of the state, should be praying that John is returned to office.  Gates just does not have the capacity to decipher a thick folder thrown down by someone like Delmarva power, full of nothing really.  John on the other hand, can read throught their gobbly-gook, absorb that it is garbage, and tell them so… “sir, your facts make no sense!”  And what paid consultants who made stuff up thought would sail right past the legislature…… never got past the House Committee on Energy etc.  And so six years from now then all of our out of state friends read about our low electric bills, and turn green with envy, we can thank John.  We can thank him now, if living in the 25th, by voting for the better man…

Stephanie Ulbrich was ironically sitting across the aisle from him…  It must have been uncomfortable for her to be so close to the one who beat her down two years ago…  She is probably a much better person than she appeared to be tonight…with all that emotional baggage she was carrying around… But her snippety question (I forgot what it was about, but will forever remember the tone of her voice) sent a chill throughout the room… John was gracious and answered it…  The other note of interest was that upon returning to his seat, John gave Gates somewhat of an ackward hug…(maybe just a misplaced pat on the back)  Gate’s face turned radish.

Next up was Amick’s old seat… the tenth.  Weldin went first… a gracious man, schooled in emergency technicalities, he did not embarrass himself… In a rather likable presentation he slowly laid out his candidacy and why he was running… If I could put a theme on it, I would say he was running on Law and Order, based on his experience… But on other issues, he would follow the Republican line all the way… yawn…zzzz

The next speaker was like jumping from the complacent eye of a hurricane through the eyewall into peak winds.  Bethany Hall-Long suddenly brought the room to life..  Excitement in her voice, interesting modulations of her voice, zapped the room back to attention… In the short time she had to speak, she covered a lot of ground… so much that I can’t remember anything she said…  but if it was good, she said it… Now some may call me partisan because I whitewashed her speech, describing style and no substance.. But that friends, is just the way it stuck.. others who were there could fill in those details…  All I can remember is that there was a lot of substance there, but none of it sank in…..  I do remember being puzzled by one thing that took place during the Q & A session…  When answering a question on open government, she danced around quite a lot; too much…. Enough to make me who of course knows nothing about HB4, SB4, or any other open government bills, go hmmm…….  The dancing was like that of a marionette,… one where Thurman Adams was pulling the strings… It was as if she was afraid to step on his toes.  In what was a golden public opportunity to say that bills should not be locked in drawers  but voted on up or down…. she hedged….. Why I wonder?   Hmm…..

The announcer (timekeeper) mentioned a scheduled change as someone with a Brady sticker on his lapel edged along the side of the far wall.   That doesn’t look like  John Brady I thought… it wasn’t… Dave Jones, Republican spokesperson for Pencader High (charter school) showed up to speak in John’s behalf… His message was this… John is a lawyer, John is not rich, John does pro bono work for those who cannot get legal help and therefore are victimized, John will work the same vein as insurance commissioner..  John wants to make Delaware the insurance capital of the world, just as Wilmington became the credit card capital of the world…. As old manufacturing jobs leave, insurance jobs come in….

Sounded good, but without John’s charisma to sell it, I began to wonder where Delaware would  be as banking consolidation begins worldwide because of the current financial crises… And since the liberal credit laws were passed in Delaware, the amounts owed by citizens here and out of state, has soared…  So if we were to make Delaware an Insurance very-very friendly state…. what kind of protections would we have covering ourselves? Weak?  I will need more information.  On the other hand, if as with banking we could get a twenty year ride out of it before the floor caves in…..( and being smarter now, were we to elect in our future, Democratic internet inventors over Republican cowboy oil strikers, our floor may just stay intact…)  As I said, I wasn’t sold.

Biden spokeperson, Meg Stapleton??, next took the mike and read Joe’s message to us…  A reverent silence came over the room… I’ve had that feeling just once before.  It was after 9/11 when we were ready to do anything, anything for our country.. And back then it was Bush who was talking…  Some belittle what was said, but the emotion of that Bush televised conference, was suddenly resurrected in that room.  I am sure a copy of this letter will turn up, so I don’t want to massacre Biden’s words here, but instead discuss the emotion I felt as it resonated through me…  I would almost say it was similar to what a Revolutionary battle captain would read to his men on the field, as penned by the Commander George Washington..  I am not good with words, but I got the feeling that our country was fighting for its survival in this banking war; and as of yet, the outcome is not decided; it could still fail; and that our efforts were needed, and only through them, could we prevent that from happening…  It was a beautiful moment.  Biden has moved on from just being a Senator.. He has become a part of the history of this great country…  And I decided then, that this election is not about the little things… it is about who can better lead this country….

Christine O’Donnell grabbed the mike, and began touting that Biden wasn’t there… How COULD he care, if he was not there?  And if he is elected Vice President, Ruth Ann Minner will appoint the next Senator… herself?  Why not?  In her best Fox talking heads voice, with energy and excitement, she tried to pull the room back into the present.  Unfortunately a good reporter I am not… for while she was talking I turned to look at Mike Matthews who was sitting three rows behind me.  His face went from light rose, to red, to crimson, to scarlet, and held for a couple of minutes before it gradually returned to its natural color.   Delaware Talk Radio should have more about that tomorrow afternoon when he is on.  Please call and tease him…  it was my highlight of the meeting.  Oh my goodness, even I felt somewhat embarrassed for him…  When he stood up and asked her a question, and the rest of you turned around, his facial color was back to normal by then… but yep, it was scarlet.  lol

Being an expert of the bailout, I was surprised that she beat the bailout drum…. we shouldn’t be doing it… Apparently she as many others who do not understand the consequences of NOT doing it, insisted on calling bailing out banks worldwide, a slide towards socialism… “Sorry Honey, but we are already there… In case you didn’t know, the Fed’s today bought a majority of preferred shares of the top 9 banks…guaranteeing they will not fail… and at a 900 Dow Jones stock points rise in one day, investors worldwide cheered the advent of socialism…  In truth, if it weren’t for socialism, every bank would be broke today, every stock market would be stalled near the bottom ..  So during uncertain times, socialism is not a bad thing… it occasionally saves our ass.  Christine, bless her, is still not on top of her financial facts.  Constituent concerns… maybe; but facts… no.  To be honest, as rapidly as things moved forward this past week, it would be a reasonable assumption that very few people are economically up to speed….

But most of what she said was covered up by her make up… By that I mean I kept thinking about her makeup, and lost focus of what she said… Too much dark around the eyes honey.  Girl to girl, you look better with lighter shadow.  I looked at your on line images and nowhere, nowhere do you use the dark like you did this night…  Maybe it was the position of the overhead light, which accented the shadows of your eye sockets, hiding your eyes entirely,  maybe it was the black Gothic outfit you wore… maybe being late, you didn’t primp as much as you could have… but just between us, lose the dark?… But even despite that…girl… you can still light up a room…

But honestly, you are not yet the stature of Biden yet.  But I was able to figure out where you could be most effective…  After this election, start gearing up for a primary run against Castle…. Don’t worry about party hierarchy… pull a Markell.. If you run against Castle you will get every Democratic male pulling for you in the primary, maybe recapturing those who left your party to side with Markell,  and with that buzz pulling in your direction,  you will win among Republicans, and then ride that wave of good fortune over the next two months through the election…  That is your niche.

Matt Denn stepped up to the microphone… He mentioned four things he wished for in that room four years ago in 2004.. All four were accomplished… Insurance rates are not tied to credit scoring. Your housing insurance could not be dropped from a claim caused by a freak storm.  Retired doctors could work around malpractice clauses and assist at the Veterans Hospital in Elsmere…Foster children could get car insurance after all.  On education, Matt says we need to keep focused. Graduation rates are the statistic that is truly important.  Equally important, although not politically expedient, helping those with disabilities to achieve a better life, is just something that Matt Denn likes to do…  As Lieutenant Governor he will work with Markell to improve governments role in our daily lives.. Things are changing rapidly, making it hard to deal in specifics, but keeping Delaware’s options open, would be a primary focus in the Markell/Denn administration.  But, Matt… you need to wear a lighter suit.. With your red hair and light skin, a stiff dark suit takes away way too much from you… You are at your best in a pair of khaki’s and blue chambray shirt…  if you have to wear a suit, go with a double breasted navy, left open, undercut by a blue oxford and colonial buff tie… But despite that small distraction, you are a man who fights for little people.  Which in corporate coded Delaware, makes you a hero…

I should mention that Stephanie Ulbrich stood up during Matt’s Q & A to comment that all schools were public, both charter and public schools, since they all relied on the state stipend per student… The difference was in who paid the capital costs…  private or taxpayers…  The rest of us exchanged knowing glances, like “yeah…ok… so just why are you bringing that up?”  She might as well have stood up and stated that “the moon is 240,000 miles from earth..”  The fact checks out, but the relevancy does not….  umm… ok… Afraid people had forgotten who you were, Steph?

Next was Charlie Copeland, and wow, did the negative energy level go up… Not by Copeland himself, but from the room in front of him.  He gave a generic speech worthy mostly for its unworthiness.. His approach was biographical.  Duke, physics, computers, family business, AGS, from 10 to 80 people, won a software award in Germany…. can grow jobs, only person running who’s run a business and made a payroll.  When done he took a question on his view of charter schools… He spoke of cutting spending.  I couldn’t help but think of Red Clay’s students, using the facilities and afterward just rinsing their hands under plain water then going back to class, putting their hands all over their desk…bell rings, class changes, and a new person sits down.. How much more can we cut?  He spoke of need for new jobs, new sources of energy, and not once, not one single time, did he mention Bluewater Wind building an offshore wind farm off Rehoboth, bringing 500 start-up jobs, with 100 remaining over the twenty five year period.. I wonder why… Then John Kowalko, slowly stands up to ask a question…and I think “oh, boy.. here it comes… History will be made…” but John asked about Copeland’s vote on an insurance bill instead… Lastly someone asked how he stood on minimum wage bills… ” I’m one for three” Copeland responded back.. “when the economy is good, I voted for one, when it is bad, I didn’t vote for two.. Most likely you are referring to my “no” vote on the tipped wage minimum upgrade.”

And that’s the difference, ladies and gentlemen, between these two candidates.. “When times were bad”  Matt Denn sided with the people… Charlie Copeland sided with big businesses.  That… Is… The…  Difference.  In a nutshell…  It is only when times are good according to Charlie that we should say, ” Oh darn it, let the people have something… throw them a bone…”

Wow.  Just curious as to how you feel;  since we have bad times coming… who do you want to be in charge”…( ok, ok, yeah I know it’s an office that does nothing).  But that doesn’t mean you still can’t vote your conscious now, does it?

Markell couldn’t make it, another engagement previously arranged. But Bill Lee could….. almost… He staggered up to the podium, after putting a hand on Matt Denn’s sturdy shoulder to keep from falling in his lap.  ( no, no, it wasn’t THAT… he tripped on the carpet! ) lol  Lee is no Jack Markell.  I got the impression Lee was like a prom date that said yes,  knowing the outcome wasn’t going to be pretty.  He’s a nice guy, but is not up to running a state.. We’ve had eight years of that.. (nice guy not up to running a state).  He got some flack from one member of the audience for when he said “he didn’t care if he was running for governor” implying win or lose, it didn’t matter to him…”How can anyone take your run for office seriously, after hearing a statement like that?”  Bill laughed it off..  :”it’s good for Delaware if I don’t care”  he said… huh?  (what he was trying to say was that someone who cared deeply would try dirty tricks to make sure they one, but not he, since he didn’t care, dirty tricks were not in his agenda… just bringing up Markell’s Nextel Lawsuit…)  Bottom line, Republicans should have left both the governors and Lieutenant Governors spots blank this year, considering the damage those two candidate may do to their party…  But watching it made me realize that in politics everyone is a nice guy… our job is to elect the smarter nice guy, or the nice guys who are selfless, instead of selfish….

Tom Savage for Insurance Commissioner.  He is a one issue candidate running on a bill drawn up 11 years ago hat has not yet been passed… or perhaps even voted upon…  Tom lost the Democratic primary and is running as an independent.. After listening to him, there is a reason he runs as an Independent.  No one else can stand to be around him…  He started out with a populist approach against Thurmond Adams that was refreshing, but quickly turned into a rambling attack on all those against him… Sometimes loud, too loud, and sometimes extremely too loud, as one who has not been prevalent in the public eye, it was obvious that he had some misconceptions on how to win friends and influence people…  I guess if I were nice, I would say he just self destructed…. accusing Karen Weldin Stewart of taking money from insurers… Like an old character in a black and white movie, he refused to yield the podium when his time was up… perhaps figuring it was his only moment to publicize his cause and he was not giving an inch of it away..  Unfortunately by this time i was watching the spectacle and to be honest, I have forgotten what he was talking about….  I hope he writes in and chews my ear off so i can at least get it in writing and remember what he said…  My take away was that perhaps his cause was good, but unfortunately it was carried by the wrong messenger..  As he sat down next to his poor wife, (in a lovely green dress by the way, it really pulled out her eyes, she started the critique.)

Karen Weldin Stewart spoke about herself..  She has a hard time pronouncing her S’s… almost using the Georgian form of pronouncing it with as a “ts”.  I began to wonder if she hailed from the Caucuses themselves.  She spoke of her business expertise, but to be honest it was in vague terms, not in plain talk.  She was an interim CEO, but not a CEO..  She apparently during her reign grew whatever she was doing…  But since she was last, I didn’t pay attention as much as I would have liked… I remember thinking to myself… oh dear,… this insurance thing is going to take a lot of work, isn’t it…. But I do remember what she wore… An unnaturally bright teal blazer over a white blouse, with matching black skirt and hair…  I didn’t think of it at the time, but she was wearing Estonia’s national colors…   Maybe she was from Estonia… Unfortunately I don’t know too much about their language…. (alas, perhaps I’ll learn if they get invaded).

After taking one question from the audience, Tom Savage put up his hand… The time keeper said “he’s a candidate, he’s had his time, you don’t have to take his question if you don’t want to..”   But to Karen Weldin Stewart’s credit… she took it..  (To myself I said, “damn girl. You take it on”.  Tom savagely said, (like that?) “you took insurance money! You’re a liar!”; i think was a direct quote.  Karen responded, ” Actually it’s illegal to take insurance money when you are the insurance commissioner.  I have not taken any money from them..”  “Times up,” stated the moderator…”thank the candidates for coming, thank those of you for coming, time to go…By the way, the other candidate for Congress, Karen Hartley-Nagle has just arrived and will not speak, but will take your questions in the lobby”.

As everyone was getting up KHN trapsed in wearing the same dress she used on the televised primary debate, which she got pinged for, and I guess she had something wrong with her shoes, for her gait was rather odd.. Maybe someone will enlighten me (and everyone else) if there is something i should know, but it reminded me of walking on Acme spring shoes.. like that of the coyote on old Roadrunner cartoons…

But the event was not yet over…. as Tom passed by Karen Weldin Stewart on his way out,  “you lied, you took money from the insurance firms. It’s in your report”… pointing to a blue binder he was carrying.  Karen, gosh darn it, held her composure, saying she had not..  Keep in mind this guy is yelling at her. (What was he thinking?… Oh that’s right… he was an independant… they don’t have people skills…That’s why they are always independant.)  ” I’m going to report you; you can’t get away with this..”  To which Karen said “call the Election Board and file a complaint…  Let them look at it.”   Mr. Savage’s wife had enough.  Sliding her arm under Tom’s, she pressed his arm hard against her and pulled him off balance out the double doors…  She left him in the Embassy lobby briefly to return to Karen, and with those beautiful green eyes, I think a couple of tears were starting to well, she told Karen, “I told him..I told him… I’m so sorry….”  The guy can’t be all bad if he has a good women like that sticking to him…..