Editorial: WB may be ‘Almost Heaven’ to Biden, but we like it

Editorial: WB may be ‘Almost Heaven’ to Biden, but we like it

Everyone knows there have been some famous “Almost Heaven” songs. John Denver singing “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” and Isak Danielson’s “It was almost Heaven, choirs singing in robes of white.” Maybe Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” counts?

There were at least two films titled “Almost Heaven,” one about a Canadian TV director hired to salvage an international fishing show in Scotland, the other about a 17-year old woman in China terrified of ghosts and studying to be a mortician. And there was an “Almost Heaven” novel.

But did you know there are “Almost Heaven Saunas,” “Almost Heaven Ice Cream,” an “Almost Heaven” album by The Kelly Family, an “Almost Heaven Bar & Grill,” an “Almost Heaven Desserts and Coffee shop,” an “Almost Heaven Society” at West Virginia University, and several (probably many) “Almost Heaven” cabins and resorts?

There’s even an “Almost Heaven” Harley Davidson shop — which, one assumes, is not patronized by Hell’s Angels. Or maybe it is. Works either way.

Now, after President Joe Biden’s visit to Wilkes University Tuesday, we can add our county seat to the list. In fact, we’re surprised we haven’t been seeing ads for “Almost Heaven Wilkes-Barre” T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and hoodies. They may actually be out there, but we haven’t seen them yet.

During his remarks Biden gave the hosting Diamond City a left-handed complement while praising the Electric City. Turning to Scranton’s municipal leader, he smiled and said “And, Mayor (Paige) Cognetti, it’s almost — we’re almost near he- — we’re almost in heaven. We’re almost in Scranton. Almost.”

The groans in the newsroom were very audible. We expect the same was true in front of many local TV sets.

To quote a fairly famous Scrantonian, “C’mon, man!”

(And yes, you can get that on T-shirt. Not a Joke!)

You don’t go to a city to drum up political support and tell the residents they would be in heaven if they just moved 20 miles north. For a fact. For real.

It could be worse, we could be labeled “Almost Hell” Wilkes-Barre, or “Not the end of the world, but you can see it from here” Wilkes-Barre.

But look. The fact of the matter is, Biden slipped up plenty. He seemed at one point to have John Fetterman running for governor and Josh Shapiro for senator (it’s the other way around). He made a loopy comment about pool lifeguards and basketball that felt racially insensitive. We’re pretty sure he forged “ask” and “act” into “axe.”

But guess what, despite all the relentless trolling we’ve already seen (and will see again) online, these slips in and of themselves aren’t proof of senility, incompetence or anything else. And by the way, we’re not saying those things aren’t possible, and we’re not “cancelling” Biden’s blunders. We’re also not apologizing for omitting his slips in the next day’s reporting — those stories tried to get to the substantive parts of his speech.

Folks. Here’s the deal. Biden’s been a gaffe pump his entire political career. If they made a movie they could title it Flubber (What? That’s been used? And there was a “Son of”? Oh, give me a break!)

Point is, we’re not taking major offense. We are suggesting Biden keep a real simple rule in mind outside of the Washington Beltway: Don’t say the place you’re in is so close to a better place. Ever.

Now let’s work on the new Wilkes-Barre theme song.

“Almost Heaven, Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming Valley, in the Appalachians. Scranton’s better, better than we are, but that’s not bad ’cause it’s not too far …”

— Times Leader


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