Dorgan signs his books in Bethany Beach

A line developed at one side of Bethany Beach Books on Saturday as town residents, visitors and store workers patiently awaited Sen. Byron Dorgan’s (D-N.D.) arrival to sign “Take This Job and Ship It.,” his book about the loss of American jobs and economic power that was published about two weeks ago.

Coastal Point • JONATHAN STARKEY: Sen. Byron Dorgan and Grace Wolf, of Millville.Coastal Point • JONATHAN STARKEY
Sen. Byron Dorgan and Grace Wolf, of Millville.

Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.) also made an appearance to buy the book and see Dorgan, who vacationed for a week at Sen. Kent Conrad’s (D-N.D.) Bethany Beach vacation home and even got stuck in traffic on Route 26 en route to the signing.

“It’s reflective of the community. Bethany attracts a lot of people,” said Nancy Oppenheim, the owner of Bethany Beach Books. “You never know who will walk in the store.”

In “Take this Job…,” Dorgan’s first book, the 24-year veteran of the U.S Congress writes about corporations’ outsourcing of jobs for cheaper labor overseas, as well as its effect on the American worker and the nation’s economy. Dorgan denounces the nation’s combined — budget and trade — $1.2 trillion annual deficit, blaming it at least partly on America’s continual loss of manufacturing jobs and seeming disrespect of the average American worker.

“Wealth is measured by what you produce, not what you consume,” the senator, who grew up in a small North Dakota town of only 300 residents, writes early in the book. Dorgan — whose childhood in the small, young town influenced his writing — then notes that America no longer produces much of anything.

“Our biggest export is wastepaper!” he writes. Dorgan continues throughout the book, citing the need for more fair trade agreements, quoting experts who have said that 42 million to 56 million jobs could be sent abroad and offering a solution to what he calls an urgent problem not yet getting urgent attention in Congress or the White House.

“I’m just frustrated as I see what’s going on,” Dorgan said. “Job opportunities are going to be less for our kids.”

Dorgan, who was elected to his first term in the Senate in 1992, said he has been pushing for stricter policy regarding the outsourcing of the American worker but decided it was time to take a “different approach.” So during a 2004 Christmas cruise, Dorgan wrote a 30-page book proposal, received massive interest for the book and worked to get it ready for eventual publication.

Since its publication, Dorgan said, he has started a book tour — which included the convenient stop in Bethany — and television interviews. This week, he had planned to travel to Detroit, Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, to promote his book.

Joanne Macomber, a Vienna, Va., native, said she had watched Dorgan on C-SPAN soon after the publication of “Take This Job and Ship It” and become immensely interested in the book. Macomber took a day-trip to Bethany on Saturday but didn’t expect to see the senator. With hopes of getting the book anyway, though, she said it was a pleasant surprise.

“I got very interested in the things he had to say,” Macomber said, adding that she found the topic of the book “fascinating. I can’t wait to read it.”