COLUMBUS _ ``But why Biden?'' asked Alice, who was on the couch peering at a fuzzy pattern on the old portable television.
``Because he's a fighter and he's safe,'' said Uncle Chet, who sat on the rocker. ``He's got warts, but we've seen them before.''
``Warts? That's gross,'' said the little miscreant, our 10th-grader.
``Keep going; you're getting closer,'' Hon called upstairs to me.
``I can't go any farther; I'm in the hall closet,'' I replied.
``I'm in the closet!'' I yelled.
``Stay there,'' said Uncle Chet. ``We can hear voices now.''
``I can see something, too,'' said Alice. ``Isn't that Katie Couric?''
``Hear the music?'' said Hon. ``That's Sousa, isn't it?''
``I hear it,'' said Buddy, who was up past his bedtime to watch a little of the Democratic convention. ``Where's Obama?''
``Wait! Stop, right there!'' said Hon, for I'd found a weak TV signal beaming between camouflage hunting jackets.
``Hip-hip hooray,'' I murmured. I set the antenna down carefully and backed out of the storage closet, but the audience below was howling.
``You've lost it,'' said Hon. ``We can't see a thing.''
``Put it back where it was,'' called Uncle Chet.
I picked up the little antenna and hooked it over the closet pole.
``Better,'' Hon called. ``A little more in that direction.''
``That's the best I can do,'' I announced, following the flat wire downstairs. ``It's hanging upside down in the closet.''
``We can see people, but the sound is bad again,'' she said, vainly turning the fine tuner.
``Why don't we use the big TV?'' asked Buddy.
``That doesn't get anything over the air,'' I said, and squeezed onto the couch.
``And we don't have cable or satellite,'' the second-grader noted.
``Right,'' I said. ``If they ran cable down this road, I'd go for it, but I can't see paying $40 a month to watch America's Next Top Model.'''
``Since when?'' said Uncle Chet.
``Since it costs $40 a month,'' I said.
``Well, this isn't worth watching,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Maybe we should go over to our house.''
``Or we could just play Scrabble,'' said Alice.
``Why don't we watch it on the computer, and play Scrabble, too?'' said the little miscreant.
``That's an idea,'' I said as she booted up the laptop. She typed in CNN and in seconds, there was Caroline Kennedy in perfect clarity, discoursing on the election.
``Now, she helped select Biden,'' said Uncle Chet, ``and the more I think about it, the better I like the choice. Biden will go toe-to-toe with McCain and probably Romney. Can't you hear him asking them, `Hey, between you two, how many houses do you own?'''
``So you think McCain's going to pick Romney,'' said Hon.
``The people investing in McCain are looking for a payback,'' he said. ``McCain's an aging party boy, like Bush, and he's going to need his Cheney from Big Business to divvy up the resources and assignments.''
``Obama-Biden versus McCain-Romney,'' Hon tried it out.
``Should be a slam dunk,'' I said.
``Except the media are treating McCain with kid gloves,'' said Uncle Chet. ``When's the last time you heard about the Keating Five?''
``The media want to make it a contest and boost ratings,'' said Alice. ``I think they'll be fairer in October.''
``The computer's on our side this time,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And if Obama and Biden talk about the distribution of money, they'll win.''
``Republicans will call that class warfare,'' I said.
``We're in the middle of a class war, and the victims already know it,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Shipping middle-class jobs overseas is class warfare. Raiding Social Security is class warfare. Devaluing the dollar is class warfare. Starting wars to boost oil prices is class warfare. Jacking up health care costs is class warfare, so why not acknowledge it?
``Harp on that theme, and mix in a little, `Who's more like you, America: Obama, who worked for years to pay off his student loans, and Biden, the senator who hasn't enriched himself, or the privileged scions of an admiral and a governor who grew up to be multimillionaires?'''
Cooperstown News Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears twice monthly.