If it weren’t so sad, this story from the Washington Times would be too funny. It seems that money from President Obama’s $862,000,000,000 “stimulus” bill of two years ago has been spent to upgrade the Wilmington, Del., Amtrak station. Vice President Biden lobbied personally, we read, to get the funding for the station he has famously used ever since he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. Now, Amtrak, grateful for his support, has all on its own initiative decided to name the spruced-up station the Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. Amtrak station.
Well, we all wanted to know who would replace the late, beloved Robert Byrd of West Virginia as the king of pork. Now we know. Washington legend has it that Sen. Byrd modestly turned down all attempts to re-name the Mountaineer State for him. It seems the name “Byrdland” was already taken.
Now, where might this newly famous Delaware train station be located? You’ll remember the old English rhyme — “Send a Fool to Dover/He’ll come back a Fool all over.” Wrong. Joe Biden is no fool. He travels to Wilmington. So that’s where the station got named for him. He bragged that he has logged some 7,000 roundtrips between Wilmington and Washington.
And he travels in style. We all recall how President Obama named Biden as his “sheriff” for the gusher of stimulus spending. He memorably said Joe Biden would watch over the expenditures to make sure no funds were misspent. That’s because, the president said:
“Nobody messes with Joe!”
But the president neglected to tell us what would happen if we caught Joe messing.
“We would not be spending a penny on it today without the Recovery Act,” Mr. Biden said. “We have no time to wait. We cannot wait. That’s what the Recovery Act is about.”
So we didn’t wait. Why, if we waited, the unemployment rate could go as high as eight percent, Joe warned us. Currently, the jobless rate is closer to nine percent.
The Washington Times reports that the refurbishing of this particular railroad station went over budget by some $5,700,000. Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste seems not to have gotten President Obama’s order not to mess with Joe, especially while Joe was messing with our national debt.
“It’s an absolutely perfect monument to a guy whose entire history has been overspending and overpromising,” Paige told the Times. “It would make sense [Mr. Biden’s] name would be slapped on a bloated, over-budget train station in Wilmington.”
Ah, but Leslie Paige, you don’t appreciate the historic nature of this particular Amtrak station. Grove City College Professor Paul Kengor found this gem while sifting through ash heap of former Sen. Warren Rudman’s memoirs:
“At first, I didn’t see Joe; then I spotted him waving at me from far down the platform,” Rudman later recorded in his memoirs, Combat: Twelve Years in the U.S. Senate. “Joe had agonized over his vote for [Supreme Court Justice David Souter], and I knew how thrilled he must be. We started running through the crowd toward each other, and when we met, we embraced, laughing and crying.”
An ecstatic Biden wept tears of joy, telling Rudman over and over: “You were right about him [Souter]! … You were right!”
The two men were so jubilant, so giddy — practically dancing — that Rudman said onlookers thought they were crazy: “[B]ut we just kept laughing and yelling and hugging each other because sometimes, there are happy endings.”
Not since Napoleon met Tsar Alexander on a raft in the middle of the Niemen River had there been such an historic meeting. Or, perhaps since Lee and Grant shared a little writing table at Appomattox.
And the epochal event that inspired that famous embrace during the Rudman-Biden Wilmington Summit? Souter had just voted to keep abortion-on-demand legal. Biden and Rudman could weep for joy. The rest of us could just weep.
Maybe since they’re already $5.7 million over budget at the Wilmington station, they could spring for a few thousand to put up a plaque to commemorate the meeting of Rudman and Biden on that platform in 1992.
So, President Obama is right: “Nobody messes with Joe,” at least not while he’s messing with us.
Ken Blackwell, a former U.S. ambassador to U.N., is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and is a Senor Fellow at the Family Research Council.