Both were tall, awkward and gangly men with large hands calloused by hard labor. People sneered at both when they first took public office, certain they'd been elected by accident and could never last. One of these men, Abraham Lincoln, is arguably our greatest president. And the other fellow, John Stoffa, will probably be remembered as Northampton County's best county executive.
I was at Stoffa's house Wednesday night. He threw a little party for his former campaign manager, Russ Shade, who's looking to upset Julie Harhart in the state rep. race for the 183rd legislative district. I read LVDem's post and decided to crash it. I wore my Angle disguise and slipped right in. Stoffa didn't mind. He's easy that way.
I'll let you all in on Russ' terrific effort in the next few days. Local luminaries decorated this little shindig like Christmas tree candles, but Stoffa was clearly the shining star. He introduced Russ by telling us, "I first met Russ Shade on the Internet ... ." When we finally stopped laughing, he actually said very few words that had more meaning than anything I've heard any politician say for some time.
"There's nothing wrong with government. But sometimes, some of the wrong people are in government."
"Everybody should run for political office at least once. If you lose, you're no worse off than before. If you win, you might get something done."
Like Lincoln, Northampton County politicians are finally beginning to see Stoffa's qualities, and that's good news for this county. Before I left, I wandered through a few rooms, and was amazed by the number of books strewn about, written by the likes of Hemmingway, Faulkner, Vidal and Vonnegut. I'm not honest like Lincoln or Stoffa, so I stole one of them. I've already tossed the cheap yarn Stoffa was using as a bookmarker. I'll sell it at a yard sale.