El Dorado Kansas is small town America writ large.

It’s a couple of hours drive from Kansas City, south west as crow flies over the wheat and corn fields.

It’s pretty solidly Republican in political terms.

As such, it falls in line with Kansas generally.

And it has contributed mightily to the Democratic Party in giving us Barack Obama and Tim Kaine.

Go figure!

The 44th president’s maternal grandfather, the formidably named Stanley Armour Dunham, lived in the town with his own grandparents for a number of years.

And Tim Kaine’s mother, Mary Kathleen Burns, is a native of El Dorado.

W/my parents in Appomattox for #APX150th. Honored to be here to commemorate 150 years since the end of the Civil War pic.twitter.com/qVD3QL66HB

— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) April 9, 2015

Paddy Power would give pretty long odds on a political coincidence such as this one.

What odds he would give on Kansas voting Democrat in November is another matter altogether.

But it would sure be interesting to see Tim Kaine have a cut at convincing folks in El Dorado that he doesn’t sprout horns after dark.

Kaine introduced himself to a new and far broader American audience with his speech to the Democratic Convention Wednesday night.

He was clearly enjoying himself and the moment.

“Kaine in a candy store” might be a headline.

Might already be.

These days, Tim Kaine counts himself as a Virginian, but Minnesota and Kansas are also in his American family lineage.

And in the latter case there is El Dorado.

Before I go on to ask the question based on the headline above: what’s in the water in oh-so conservative El Dorado that would give us, at least to a partial familial degree, the likes of Tim Kaine and Barack Obama, it is the moment to state that it was water that led me to…….El Dorado.

Yes, I have been to El Dorado.

And it’s a visit that I will forever remember, if not exactly cherish.

It was my early time in America.

Ronald Reagan, popular in El Dorado no doubt, was still president.

My wife and I were on a road trip that took us to Colorado.

We had a fine time but there can be problems betimes with the Rocky Mountain water.

I came down with a bad bug as we were driving back to New York.

On a Saturday morning I was in a very sorry state.

Once my American wife had conceded that I was not an over-mothered Irishman chancing his arm she decided on a course of action.

And that course followed a road – a road to a town called El Dorado.

Suffice it to say, the name did stick out on the map.

It sounded exotic.

It wasn’t.

But it did have a medical clinic and it was open Saturday morning.

So in I trooped and sat down with a posse of local seniors in for their weekly iron injections and such.

Eventually, I was seen by a young doctor and after describing my symptoms he asked a question.

“Were you in Colorado?”


It was an instant diagnosis based on the fact that I had eaten a salad in a restaurant that had been washed in contaminated water.

A magical elixir was produced and I bowed and scraped in humble gratitude.

When I say that I don’t cherish the memory of El Dorado I will always gratefully remember that young medico and his miracle powers.

I would have voted him for the presidency on the spot.

He was, after all, from El Dorado, a very big town indeed on the nation’s political map.