Monday, March 10, 2008

All Roads Lead to Scranton

Once again, Scranton manages to make the news, with The Electric City being the first stop in Pennsylvania on the campaign trail by Hillary Clinton.

Of course, Hillary Rodham Clinton has history in Scranton, the home town of her father and his family. Actually, the Rodhams lived a few blocks from where I grew up (and my parents still live). Like many people from Scranton, we spend a lot of time over the summer at Lake Winola, where the Rodhams still have a summer place.

The NYTimes discusses Scranton in Pennsylvania Ties Could Help Clinton:

When Mrs. Clinton comes to Pennsylvania on Monday, her first visit to the state after winning Ohio and Texas last week, her first stop will be Scranton, where her familial ties extend deeper than they do in Park Ridge, Ill., the Chicago suburb where she grew up. Look for the image shapers to link the values of this gritty region — where her grandfather, descended from Welsh coal miners, raised his family — to her character and especially her perseverance.

“She’s tough,” Christopher Doherty, Scranton’s mayor, said in an interview. “That’s a real Scranton trait. That’s an anthracite trait.”

And look for the politicos to do everything they can to pump up enthusiasm here over the local girl made good — and perhaps displace “The Office,” at least temporarily, as Scranton’s claim to cultural fame (the television show’s fictional office is located in Scranton). Steve Corbett, a local radio personality, says the area is more “All in the Family” than “The Office” anyway.

The region is a major Democratic stronghold. Ed Mitchell, a Democratic consultant in nearby Wilkes-Barre, said it is central to the Clinton strategy for winning the state. “They need a big, big turnout here to offset the turnout for Obama in Philly and the upscale suburbs,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Hearing about this visit brought back my own memories of a memorable presidential visit. I remember meeting John Kennedy when I was a little kid when he came to Scranton during the 1960 election.

It's amazing to me, but as I've said before, Scranton is one of those towns whose political prominence belies its size. As I noted in The Electric City:

Politicians on the state and national level always pay homage to the old coal town -- in fact, Rick Santorum's replacement, Bob Casey, is from Scranton and his father was Governor of PA. Scranton was home to a major mafia Don, Russell Bufalino, who was linked to the FBI plot to assassinate Fidel Castro Mafia Spies in Cuba, and the disappearance of former Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, The American "MAFIA". The show The Office is set in Scranton, see 'Office' Actors Party in Scranton, Pa.

And I have to add that I'm jealous that Hillary Clinton got to have Old Forge pizza at Revello's. There's not a pizza place in Philly that can compare with Old Forge pizza.

I especially like the reference in the Times piece that Scranton is more like "All in the Family" than "The Office" -- truer words were never spoken. On the other hand, Ain't No Party Like a Scranton Party.

(Photo via The Daily Examiner)

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