Visiting Joe Biden’s Rehoboth

Four years ago, Vice President Joe Biden was in a golf cart when he pulled up next to Raegen Richard. The vice president was vacationing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Richard also has a family house here, just two doors down from the Bidens. The vice president playfully asked Richard to hop in for a ride.

Richard refused.

“I just wasn’t into it,” Richard, 40, says over the phone from Philadelphia, where he works as a financial advisor. “I just didn’t care to associate with him at all based on his history of grift and graft, which I had some inkling of even prior to everything that came out during the presidential run.”

In Washington, D.C., or New York, the golf cart incident may have made national news, become a viral video or and resulted in a shouting match. Not here. Richard has a good sense of humor and speaks with a calm, even voice. He turned down the vice president with a shrug, not with an angry rebuke. He says he’s the only libertarian in a beach house full of liberal family members, and they all get along.

It’s emblematic of the attitude in Rehoboth, the resort with boutique shops, pizza parlors, farms, a large gay community and million-dollar homes. People have opinions about their presidential neighbor, both pro and con, but like Richard, they are easy going about it.

Rehoboth is an oasis of classical liberalism in a country that’s being devoured by far-leftism. It’s true that in the rural farm areas west of beach towns like Rehoboth and nearby Bethany people are much more conservative. Yet to say that they are some kind of insurrectionist crazies is to believe the media, which no one does anymore. Ernesto Lopez, a Republican representing Rehoboth in the Delaware state senate, says this part of the state is not conservative red or liberal blue, but purple. In a phone conversation as he drove to the state house, Lopez points out that people here have a beach town vibe that lets them “disagree without being disagreeable.” The brawling political battles waged in D.C. “are left behind once you cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.” He adds that while he is a Republican senator, Rehoboth’s state representative, Peter C. Schwartzkopf, is a Democrat.

About 10 miles down the road from Rehoboth is the even smaller and quieter town of Bethany Beach. Bethany, a few readers may recall, is where I drove to from Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2018 to escape the mob out for my blood during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. I had gone to high school with Brett, and because our Stasi Democratic Party and the media believed the pathology of a psychopathic opposition researcher, I became a hunted man. 

Senators, who ought to be ashamed of themselves, and the press, which has no shame, shouted that I was “holed up” or in hiding in Bethany. In fact, they were furious that I was on to them. They had spent weeks setting up an oppo research and media trap, they had more garbage in the pipeline, and the hearings were a show trial. Reporters followed me to Bethany. It was like the orcs invading the Shire.

I also think part of my coming to Rehoboth was to remember a time and place in America when everything wasn’t, as Christopher Lasch once put it, “a war of all against all.” Liberals, at one time, were almost sane. People in Rehoboth may vote for Joe, but if there is trash that doesn’t get picked up, you hear about it—unlike, say, in Los Angeles—and it gets fixed overnight. “People here are fiscal conservative and socially liberal,” Lopez says. “They want local services and appreciate that Rehoboth as a tourist spot is an economic driver for the state.” The state senator notes that a majority in Sussex County, which covers the southern part of Delaware, voted for Trump in 2020, while the “blue coasts” of Rehoboth and Fenwick went for Biden.

Lopez does note one inconvenience, however. A Catholic, he has to alter his mass time at St. Edmond’s when the president is in town: “I used to go to mass at 4:30 on Saturday. That’s the mass Joe goes to. Now when Joe is here, I go Sunday morning.”

At the Blue Moon restaurant, a famous spot in the heart of Rehoboth’s gay community, co-owner Tim Ragan is a fan of the president. “I think Biden is doing a great job,” Ragan, 66, says as he prepares for that night’s dinner crowd. “I’m glad he is president. It’s important to have someone presidential in this world, which is different from what went before. I agree with most of what he is doing.” 

Ragan, who has been with the restaurant’s co-owner Randy Haney for more than three decades, cites Biden’s work on Ukraine and with he LGBT community as strengths. “He’s also certainly put Rehoboth on the map,” he says.

Just around the corner from the Blue Moon is Double Dippers, the ice cream shop the president, known for his affection for the sweet dessert, always visits when in town. Now that it’s April, the shop is open and ready for the seasonal crowds. Rehoboth’s year-round population is about 1,400 people, but that can surge to 40,000 during the summer months.

Many of the people who work in the shops on the strip along the boardwalk complain about the traffic that happens when the president arrives. Several refer to it as “the Joe Jam,” a motorcade that bottles up cars for miles. They also say they know the president is coming when a notice goes out prohibiting the use of drones, which are popular at the beach. Restricted airspace means Biden is coming to town.

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