Both Joe Biden and Barack Obama appeal to the public with outrageously phony stories about their working class, blue collar backgrounds.
For Biden, the masquerade is particularly reprehensible since his pose as a "lunch bucket" Democrat from gritty Scranton, Pennsylvania played a prominent role in his selection as Senator Obama's running mate.
For instance, Kerry Kennedy (daughter of Bobby Kennedy) recently told the New York Times Magazine: "In this election, the fact that Joe Biden is a Catholic with a working-class background is going to play an important role in bringing Catholics who might otherwise vote Republican back to the fold." The Economist called Biden "a perfect example of a lunch bucket Democrat made good" and the Boston Globe hailed him as "an Irish-Catholic lunch bucket Democrat" - even though his father's family ancestry was entirely English. At the Democratic convention the Washington Post reported that Biden "accepted the vice presidential nomination of the Democratic Party with a speech that harkened back to his working-class roots in Scranton."
These descriptions suggest that Biden himself -- or at least his parents-- toiled in factories or coal mines, but his actual background counts as considerably more genteel, comfortable and white collar. His grandfather won election to the state Senate in Pennsylvania and his own father never supported the family with manual labor. Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman bothered to look up the obituaries for the candidate's father (Joseph Robinette Biden, Sr.) who died in 2002. The News-Journal of Wilmington reported that at the time of his marriage in 1941, the older Biden "was working as a sales representative for Amoco Oil Co. in Harrisburg."
The summary of his career went on: "Biden also was an executive in a Boston-based company that supplied waterproof sealant for U.S. merchant marine ships during World War II. After the war, he co-owned an airport and crop dusting service on Long Island." After relocating his family to Delaware, Biden, Sr. "worked in the state first as a sales manager for auto dealerships and after in real-estate condominium sales."
In none of these jobs would the older Biden have carried a "lunch bucket" or brandished a union card. The job descriptions - "executive," "co-owner," "sales-manager," "real-estate condominium sales" identify him as solidly white collar and managerial, and in no sense working class.