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Question of the day

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* I have some errands to run ahead of Father’s Day weekend so blogging could be light to non-existent the rest of the day. Speaking of Father’s Day…

* The Question: Do you have any fond political memories of your father? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Dad used to take me into the polling booth on election day and let me cast a few votes. He always strived to be the first to vote on election day, so it meant getting up at 5:30 a.m.

  2. - Mister Whipple - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Calling the precinct captain to get a traffic ticket to go away in Cook County, circa 1960s

  3. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    My dad having a ‘legislative aid’ sticker that get got from a friend of his…

  4. - Mr. Big Trouble - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    My father was a trustee in a north suburban village for many years while I was growing up. it took a lot of time and energy, and he was gone many nights to the necesary various board meetings, which wasnt very good for the family life. Nevertheless, I do remember helping to put together flyers for him when he ran for re-election and walking around with him when he knocked on doors asking for votes. He was the catalyst for a greatly improved park facilities in our town and he was proud of that accomplishment. As was I !

  5. - flea - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Loading up the Bonneville Station Wagon with 8 kids and enough pamphlets to cover several precincts in very little time…

  6. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Re: Michael Bilandic; he’s a very nice man who’s not long for this job because he’s so nice.

  7. - OldSmoky2 - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    My dad was a staunch Republican, and I’ll never forget watching the evening news with him the day the Nixon Watergate tapes were made public. This was, of course, while Nixon was still in office and trying to defend himself. After they played some of the more incriminating excerpts from the tapes, I remember my dad just sat there and finally shook his head and said, “He lied… he lied to all of us.”

  8. - Jimbo - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    My grandfather, back when he was alive and healthy, went with my dad and me to march in D.C. He shared stories of marching for Civil Rights and witnessing the “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King. Those stories shared as we marched along with the wisecracking on the drive to and from DC will always be one of my favorite memories of my grandpa. He, an ordained minister, also gave some counter protesters a lesson about what Jesus was really all about. Great times.

  9. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    I was instinctively opposed to whatever it was he supported. So he forever lauded over me how he just knew Ronald Reagan would be a great president, so I needed to listen to him about who would make the best presidents.

    Yeah Dad. You were right. Glad he didn’t live long enough to see the one we have now.

  10. - Norseman - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    I remember the smile on my Dad’s face while I called Fosters’ Office to complain to a staffer about the congressman’s support of Obamacare. He had problems getting his complaints acknowledged The staffer was evidently inexperienced and couldn’t respond coherently during the discussion. Because of the congressman’s vote later in the day, my dad wanted Foster to get beat.

    My father suddenly passed away two days later. I’m sure he was pleased that Hultgren defeated foster that November.

  11. - Roadiepig - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Back in the day, my father had to be a Republican precinct committeeman in order to keep his job as a county roads engineer (ah, the good old days of patronage) . I can remember meeting a bunch of local political candidates at various chilli dinners and chicken fries (some good, some bad0, but my most vivid early memory was walking around our kitchen table, helping him fill those old doorknob plastic bags with each piece of campaign literature, nail file, pocket comb, and whatever else each candidate slapped their name onto to increase their chances of getting elected. My father is battling terminal cancer but is still hanging in there at 85, and to this day he still has a deep distrust of most politicians of all stripes. He might have been stuck doing patronage work for the old Republican party (he has no use for the people running it now), but he almost always split his ballot, leaving races where he couldn’t back either person running blank. I inherited that from him (if y’all haven’t figured that out from my postings on the comments boards here). I remember him telling me that he originally became a Republican because when he was young the local Dem’s were all negative without every having any ideas of what they would do to make things better if they got in power. Strange how things have swung the other way…

  12. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    Sitting on his shoulders as a youngster watching Nixon give a speech on a rooftop. Later, watching Nixon speeches on TV with him and seeing who could make the snarkiest comment about what he just said. We really missed Nixon when he resigned; Ford and Carter just weren’t te same wen it came to family bonding over the TV.

  13. - Ray del Camino - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    My dad was a *real* Libertarian–social liberal, economic conservative. He put me on the Cato Institute mailing list, so his ghost is still bothering me with that nonsense! Almost all his friends were liberals, so Dad taught me you can get along with people whose politics you disagree with, if you try.

  14. - Noy Noy - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    36th Ward Regular Democratic Organization Windbreaker Jacket.

    Enough said.

  15. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    When I was six, I remember driving around all day on a Saturday putting up McGovern signs in Limestone Township. Talk about lonely work, but the looks we got from the neighbors were priceless. I don’t think they’d ever actually met any real liberals before my old man moved us to Kankakee County.

  16. - Noy Noy - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    Speaking of my dad’s 36th ward windbreaker, why no discussion of Rosemarie Andolino stepping down as Chicago Aviation Commissioner?

    Does it have anything to do with her cousin Larry Andolino gearing up to run for Alderman?

  17. - Nieva - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    Dad ran for sheriff back in the 60s in a 5 man primary and came in 4th.

  18. - Soccermom - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    Yes. My dad took me out to the Rockford airport to shake hands with then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. I was part of the “crowd on the tarmac.” It was great.

  19. - anonymoose - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    No disrespect intended to my own father…but to honor a father figure who recently passed away this year. He was the mayor of the small town where I grew up. The man really would give you the shirt off his back. He was on call 24/7, would ALWAYS listen politely and would fix nearly anything in the town. For example, broken village water pipe…he would be there to help fix it.

    Thank the good public servants who take the office to heart and go above and beyond. RIP Red.

  20. - Motambe - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Dad was a staunch union guy and also a Republican - silent majority going back to the 1950’s. Made sure that I got a solid education and emphasized it was my duty to vote. He never told me who to vote for. His employer had a parade of politicians come through for interviews, and he made sure I was there to meet them - former Pres. Eisenhower, VP Johnson, VP Humphrey, Sens. Goldwater, Dirksen, Douglas, and Stuart Symington. And also a guy named Truman, who sold clothes to Dad’s great uncle in KC, who in turn brought HST to his poker games with a guy named Pendergast. Dad fired my interest in our political system and I thank God for that.

  21. - x ace - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    Ma: Who’d you vote for ?

    Dad: None of your business , this is America !

    ( as a small kid learned importance of Secret Ballot )

  22. - He was right.... - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    I grew up in a solid R part of Illinois, and remember picking up “Nixon, Nixon, he’s our man, McGovern belongs in the garbage can” on the bus home from elementary school.

    I thought my parents would be impressed that I knew something about politics so I recited it for them, but quickly learned, for the first time, that they were closet liberals when they told me in no uncertain terms that George McGovern was a very nice man and I should never repeat that again.

    Thanks, Dad, (and Mom) for setting me straight.

  23. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Late in his much-too-short life, my old man developed a highly unlikely and completely accidental friendship with Bob Dole.

    When I was a kid. in 1977, my peeps and I went to Norfolk to see my old man’s brother, who was in port as chief engineer on an oil tanker.

    On the way back, we stopped for a few days in DC to see the sites.

    Back then, security was nil. You pretty much had the run of the place. We went to Rep. Simon’s office on the Hill and the very nice people there loaded us up with same-day passes for the White House, the Pentagon, and some special exhibitions at the Smithsonian.

    Just imagine; on the same day, we got a pass for a special White House Rose Garden tour, and got to shake hands with Pres. Carter, Rosalyn and Jackie O., who was there for some reason (my mom thought that was way cool).

    Long story short, over the course of a couple of days, we kept bumping into Sen. Dole, all over town.

    You have to remember, Dole had been Jerry Ford’s hatchet man in the 1976 race, and was considered to be in the GOP right wing (can you believe it?).
    My folks were Norwegians and red-hot, anti-fascist, anti-commie, civil rights liberals.

    Finally, after bumping into him one more time, Dole approached us and said “we have to stop meeting like this” and started chatting up the old man.

    My parents were immigrants and could be very self-conscious about their accents. So when Dole asked if there was something he could do for us, they kept mum.

    I knew what my folks wanted, though, so I piped up “we’d like to meet Sen. Humphrey.”

    “Let’s go,” Dole said.

    “Senator, we need to be…” a Dole aide started to protest.

    “Shut up,” Dole explained.

    As we made our way down to the Capitol Hill subway system, Dole and my old man got lost in conversation. Dole had had a tough time in WWII, and I know the old man had, too, though he never talked about it.

    As my aunts recounted over the years, when he was about 21, the old man and his crew had been arrested by the Gestapo for stealing food from a Nazi storehouse. They were in a slave labor camp until VE Day and some of them were worked and starved to death.

    Meanwhile, the Dole aide who had been told to “shut up” was trying to find out why the Senator was taking such an interest in us.

    My mom wouldn’t talk, so he was pressing me, the kid with corncobs coming out of his ears.

    “So, where in Kansas are you folks from?” he asked.

    “We’re from Illinois,” I said.

    “Oh?. Huh. So how do you know Sen. Dole?”

    “Um, from TV.”

    Now he’s getting pissed. “No, I mean why is he taking you to see Sen. Humphrey right now?”

    “I don’t know.”

    We took the subway to some huge Senate hearing room. The old man and Dole sat together and continued talking. I sat with Mr. Shut Up. My mom sat with Sen. Kennedy (she considered herself an honorary Kennedy after meeting Jackie O and Teddy, and would talk about them like family whenever they popped up in the news).

    I think it was the Foreign Relations Committee.
    But we didn’t go in for a while. The old man and Dole stood to the side, continuing to talk.

    I know they were talking about the war, when they were young men.

    The old man had never said ten words to anyone in his family about the war, but here was this old Norsky liberal, thick accent and all, chewing the ear of the GOP vice presidential nominee. And Dole was listening.

    Finally, Dole approaches the big doors, and they’re swung open for him.

    He marches us down the center aisle of this huge, crowded hearing room, takes us right up to Humprhey and says “Hubert, your Illinois fan club is here.”

    Humphrey was dying from the cancer and didn’t have any hair. But he lit up like a light bulb, took us to some back corridor and he, Dole and my folks chatted like old friends about this, that and nothing in particular.

    My parents were thrilled and talked about their day with Dole and Humphrey for the rest of their lives.

    Dole didn’t have to do any of that. We were nobodies. My parents weren’t from Kansas; they weren’t citizens, they couldn’t even vote.

    But he did because he was just a decent man, and made my folks feel like big shots in Washington, like they’d really made it in America.

    It’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Just a sweet, selfless act of kindness.

    Dole and the old man would exchange Christmas cards til my Dad died. My old man didn’t change his politics, but nobody could say a word against his pal Bob.

    Years later, when Dole was running for president in Iowa, I got to know Dole a little better. I liked him a lot then, I like him more now.

    And I voted for him for president, for me, my mom and my old man.

  24. - bottom rung. - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Him getting red-in-the-face at the mention of anything that was in any remote way anti-union or republican, and me and my brother, as bratty little kids, provoking him. Sorry about that pops.

  25. - Rayne of Terror - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    My dad ran for state rep when I was quite little. I loved riding the fire truck and throwing candy. My grandpa was a chemist and a Terre Haute city counsel member. He invented solid state rocket fuel. During that time my teenaged dad was tailed by surveillance men every where went and at some point Nixon came to dinner at my grandparent’s house.

  26. - Stones - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    I have many great political memories with my father. He was an office holder at the local, State and Federal level. We were fortunate to win more races than we lost over the years and I’ll never forget how great it felt to prevail on most election nights.

  27. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    Dad in the kitchen, in the morning, sitting, crushed as he told us the news that Bobby Kennedy had been murdered. 1968 was the end of innocence.

  28. - Levi - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Mom’s Dad was a Crawford County Board member for decades and a precinct committeeman; my Dad was a precinct committeeman in Crawford County and now is precinct committeeman and county board member in Clay County. As my Grandma used to say, “Republican from the butt—- both ways.” I remember watching election returns in 1988 up at the courthouse in Robinson and having to go to bed before we I knew for sure the outcome. My first question in the morning was, “Did Bush win,” and Dad assured me that he had. I also remember marching in the Fall Festival parades and the Oblong Fall Follies parade for Grandpa’s races. I knocked a lot of doors for Dad’s races too, even after I switched to the other team. Most interesting thing I guess we did was organize and host a ham-and-bean supper in Clay City for two Republicans running that year — Brent Winters for Congress against Glenn Poshard and Cory Jobe for State Rep., against Chuck Hartke. We also hosted a George Ryan surrogate who came to brag up the then-Secretary of State and to put in a plug for Bob Dole. We had some dandy cornbread and beans, but Winters and Ryan both ended up in prison, and Winters, Jobe, and Dole all three lost (though I understand Jobe is doing well these days).

    Eight years later, when I moved home to intern/surrogate in six counties for a soon-to-be United States Senator with a funny name, somehow Dad and Grandpa didn’t feel like returning the old favors. ;-)

  29. - Jay Dee - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    I was four years old in 1992. I remember going into the living room where my Dad was watching the election returns in November. I asked what he was watching. He put me on his lap and pointed to Bill Clinton on the TV and said, “He’s the bad guy. We want the good guy to win,” and pointed to George H.W. Bush.

  30. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Trusted people more than positions - a trait I’ve yet to acquire but wish I could.

  31. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    SHould make that present tense, but he’s far less political these days!

  32. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    My grandfather was one of the top Republicans in the suburbs back in the 80s. While I am not a member of that party, he taught me the ethic of working harder than your opponent, the value of personal contact with constituents and the importance of having good voter data. I met two Presidents and who knows how many legislators, judges, etc. as a kid. Some of my earliest memories are of election nights and spending weekends in a HQ (which has continued over the decades). blame/credit him with my immersion in politics to this day.

  33. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Many, some of which I’ve told here previously. Dad’s Republican kahuna-ness shaped my career and life in countless ways.
    I have an old photo of Dad, Cong. Ed Madigan and another fella in their stocking feet on our living room floor marking up a big State highway map with colored pencils. I don’t think they were planning weekend getaways.

  34. - Dave in Moline - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Your dad let me sit behind the wheel of the Obamalac. I will always remember that. Happy Father’s Day to Rich Sr.

  35. - RNUG - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    I remember the political discussions at the dinner table. To simplify with labels, Dad was a union organizing blue collar (mostly) Democrat; Mom was a white collar Republican. When it came to politics they disagreed on some items, agreed on others; the one thing they always agreed on was the corruption in Chicago.

    The other thing that stands out is dad always flew the flag on holidays and always voted. As a WW II vet, he made sure to exercise those rights.

    And FWIW, I ended up working for State government partially because of dad. He worked in construction, which tends to be seasonal in Illinois. His advice to me was “Get an inside job so you can work year round”

  36. - Noper - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    Back in the 70’s, because of his impeccable professional reputation, my Dad was being considered for a position in the new governor’s administration. Until someone tried to squeeze him for a campaign contribution. First time I heard my father use profanity. He went on to further success in the private sector.

  37. - GA Watcher - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    My Dad played poker with our Congressman whose wife owned a bar on Archer Avenue in Chicago. One time, he let me come along. The game that Sunday afternoon included several Chicago pols and an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was my first introduction to the proverbial smoke filled room.

  38. - What's in a name? - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    My father died when he was 43 and I was 13. I actually have no idea what his politics were. I do remember him telling me that a man should leave the world a little better than he found it. He did. I hope I do, too. Simple advice I wish more of leaders would follow.

  39. - Diogenes in DuPage - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 5:41 pm:

    For many years, Dad was a Democratic election judge and poll worker in a small town west of Springfield. He always made sure my brothers and I got absentee ballots to vote when away at college.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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