Biden Deserves George Clooney Award & Train Station


biden amtrak.jpgJoe Biden had AMTRAK trips between D.C. and Wilmington, Delaware so imprinted in his DNA that he must really miss them now.
For 35 years, then Senator Biden commuted each working morning and each working night — 100 miles each way — to be with his wife and children. After losing his first wife and daughter in a tragic auto accident that nearly also took the lives of his two sons, Beau and Hunter, who survived, he made sure he was home.
I figure that Biden did about 48,000 miles a year on AMTRAK.
At 35 years, that’s approximately 1.68 million miles. In air flight miles, that’s like ten million miles – particularly given the number of segments traveled and frequency. The Hill newspaper previously approximated Biden’s travel at 1.44 million miles — but I give Biden credit for non-working session days that he still commuted.
George Clooney would be proud, even though we are talking trains.
wts03.jpgI am this morning back in Wilmington’s AMTRAK station — Vice President Biden’s daily arrival and departure spot for 35 years — and am watching the station undergo some new raily retrofitting and station modernization. The waiting area for the public is pretty small for the time being — as construction continues — and the clustering is pretty intimate. But I’m sure that the Senator turned V.P. would have said hello and met every person at that station. Just the way he is.
I remember several times getting off of the AMTRAK in Washington on my way down from New York and seeing his long time national security adviser Antony Blinken or his legal counsel Brian McKeon. I’d say hello to them and would ask if the boss was with them. They’d say, somewhat sheepishly, yes — he’s still back there talking. He’d always find someone to talk to — Biden’s great strength and easy-to-spoof weakness.
But I think it’s probably fair to say that Biden deserves a Guinness Book of World Records distinction for the Member of Congress who has traveled more on AMTRAK (or rails of any kind) than any other Member in American history.
Thus, I think he deserves a train station — and while Wilmington AMTRAK is doing all of this fix-up stuff, it’s about time that AMTRAK, the State of Delaware, and the City of Wilmington rebrand the station there:

The Joseph R. Biden Jr. AMTRAK Station

I’m one of those who generally likes AMTRAK, though my feelings are less warm and fuzzy when I’m on Shanghai’s MagLev or one of the Shinkansen lines in Japan.
But this morning on this northeastern corridor line, I feel lucky to have it — and think that it was good that someone like Biden, who despite having his own auto entourage now whenever he leaves his temporary home at the Naval Observatory, probably still feels a pull to trains.
— Steve Clemons


6 comments on “Biden Deserves George Clooney Award & Train Station

  1. WigWag says:

    Houghton was a good guy (presumably he still is); I actually met him once. As you may know, his family was the founding family of the Corning Company, and Amo spent many years as the CEO of that company before running for Congress.
    Most people think of Corning as the maker of pots and pans but it is far more than that; Corning is one of America’s great high-tech companies. They make tools used by most biotechnology laboratories and they are one of the biggest producers in the world of fiber-optic cable. The successful conversion from a stodgy old industrial company to a high tech jewel was stewarded by Houghton.
    I actually met Houghton when I was visiting the Corning Glass Museum in upstate New York (he happened to be there on a campaign stop). I collect Venetian Glass and the Corning Museum has a magnificent collection that is amongst the finast in the world.
    Upstate New York is really suffering; but thanks to Houghton and his great family it does have one thriving company. Sadly so many of the others are faltering; IBM is not what it once was and neither is Eastman Kodak.
    As for Castle, he’s reputed to be a fine person. How moderate, fair minded people like Houghton and Castle can survive in today’s Republican Party is beyond me. I hope Castle maintains his moderate ways once he enters the Senate.
    Either way, Castle isn’t likely to serve long and he’s the only Republican who will ever win an election in Delaware. Castle is 71 and he’s been in relatively poor health for several years; so he’s likely to serve only one term.
    I hope Castle’s health holds out but he seems like an old 71 not a young 71. With Delaware represented by Cardin and Castle one thing is sure; compared to the old days when Biden was in the Senate, Delaware will be suffering from a charisma gap; but also thankfully a gaffe gap.


  2. Steven Clemons says:

    oops — that should have been Republican Main Street Partnership.


  3. Steven Clemons says:

    On Mike Castle Wig, probably true. Castle has been a very good,
    sensible pragmatist in the House, the head of the Republican Main
    Street Coalition, succeeding Amo Houghton as the organization’s
    head when Amo retired from the House. He’ll be a great Amtrak
    officianado too no doubt. best, steve


  4. WigWag says:

    Unfortunately for Obama, Biden and everyone else who supports the Democrats, it looks like come November it will be Mike Castle doing the commute every day between Wilmington and Washington, D.C.
    Obama and company are looking increasingly foolish for denuding the Senate of Democrats in the attempt to staff his Administration. With the exception of Hillary Clinton’s old seat in New York, the Democrats look like they will lose every single seat vacated by a Democrat who went to work for Obama. Even Obama’s old seat in Illinois is seriously imperiled.
    When the Democrats are down to a 2 or 3 seat majority come November it won’t be hard to figure out who to blame; chalk it up to another in a long line of mistakes by our hopelessly confused President.
    I hope Mike Castle likes the Acela (I’m sure he already rides it back and forth from his home to his seat in the House of Representatives); he might as well make his reservations for the next six years.


  5. Mr.Murder says:

    …announce it, and let the band at the event to christen it play some Johnny Cash….


  6. DCPundit says:

    I’d be very surprised that this wasn’t in the works already. It’s such an obvious win, and a great way to get a bipartisan salute in Congress to Biden. I generally don’t like old style building naming, but some good come out of what you propose. And as you say no one deserves to have an AMTRAK station named after him than the guy who rode it the most. I have learned to admire Joe Biden more from your insights into him.


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