Today is Father’s Day. I shall phone home to apologise for forgetting to send a card and listen as my father tells me it is all commercial nonsense before innocently mentioning all the cards he has received from my siblings.
I am similar to my father in many ways. We both love Jacques Loussier and Benny Goodman, crosswords and Giles cartoons, and documentaries about World War II. We both hate television reality shows and happy-clappy church choirs (Dad: “They played bongo drums last week. It was VILE.“).
Dad and I disagree on politics, but share a dislike of the nepotism that weaves its way through the echelons of power (Dad: “Blue-eyed boys who haven’t done a day’s work in their lives. DISGUSTING.“). I once received an email from my mother that read: “We’ve been watching a programme about the Popes and the Sistine Chapel. It’s probably going to be a good series, although Pope Sixtus was followed later by his nephew Pope Julius. Your Dad says nepotism is a load of balls.”
The politics of dynasty are centuries old but no less common in a relatively young country like America. From the Adams men who helped shape American republicanism, to the more recent Kennedy clan and the Presidents Bush, fathers and sons punctuate the timeline of American politics.
Of the current stable, Mitt Romney’s father was Governor of Michigan and served in the first Nixon administration, and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s son Rand is a serving Senator and crafty little sod who recently endorsed Romney over his own father. How will you top that today, Rand? A Father’s Day card smeared with dog shit and dead flies?
The desire to emulate the father drives the ambition of the son and, in politics as in business, nepotism helps to shove the anointed arse up the ladder of success.
Meet Weston Wamp. A 25 year-old public relations executive from Chattanooga, he is challenging for the Republican nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district.
His crazy-ass name alone qualifies him for a successful career in American politics, but as the son of a former Congressman he has a head start. According to the Chattanooga News, Weston’s father has helped him with much of his fundraising. I am not talking the millions of dollars raised by Romney or Obama – Romney raised a staggering $76 million last month, more than the total sum raised by all political parties in the UK in 2011 – but enough to enable Weston to broadcast his first television commercial this week.
And here it is. What do you think? Because I haven’t got a fucking clue what he is on about.
This Father’s Day, Wamp Junior should sit down with his Dad and take a wee bit of advice about political messaging, because he just wasted a shit-load of his father’s hard-lobbied cash.
Happy Father’s Day to Dads everywhere, and especially to my Dad in this, his 80th year.