People are thankful for many different things by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Some are thankful for their health. Others are happy they have close friends and a loving family.

I'm thankful for politicians.

Seriously, without those do-nothing bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money, I would have to remove the "political" from my political cartoons. Suddenly, what passed as biting satire about the relevant issues of the day would quickly become an illustrated guide to your Facebook feed.

Delaware doesn't scream out to many people as the center for political discourse. After all, this is the home of the "Delaware Way," where our politicians make a point of working together with the least amount of public squabbling (and a healthy amount of backroom dealing).

Still, we get our fair share of colorful characters, mindless knuckle-draggers and non-stop showman eager for our attention. Whether it's Senator Tom Carper doing push-ups at a Kent County campaign event, or Christine O'Donnell still frightening GOP donors, there is a lot in tiny Delaware for a cartoonist to be thankful for. If I thought about it sooner, maybe I would have hired Alex Pires' documentary crew to film me while I was drawing during the political campaign. Maybe next time.

Despite the fact that two of my favorite cartoon subjects - former Congressman Mike Castle and former Governor Ruth Ann Minner - are no longer part of Delaware's political landscape, I'm thankful that some local politicos have stepped up to fill the gap.

First of all, Joe Biden is a cartoonist's godsend. Apart from his "unique" hairstyle and caricaturable features, his personality in my cartoons has taken on a life of its own. I spoke to journalists in New York during Election Day - seasoned reporters that have covered Washington for many years - and nearly all of them thought of Biden as some sort-of folk hero.

Another local politician I'm fond of drawing is Governor Jack Markell, whose head reminds me of a light bulb with ears (respectfully). He's not as fun to sketch as loud-mouth New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but I have had fun drawing him sprinting from a runaway Fisker car and shocking himself on a Bloom Energy box. We'll see what other types of pain I'll inflict on the poor guy in his second term.

So this Thanksgiving, I'm going to raise my glass and toast our unique cast of Delaware politicians at my family's dinner table. I'm just curious how quickly it'll take my aunt to lob a head of cabbage my way.


Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.