Chris Christie has not had an easy year. This controversy called “Bridgegate” has given rise to numerous allegations against the governor and has even sparked a couple of lawsuits. Not to mention the federal investigation into his misuse of Hurricane Sandy funds. Add to that the scathing soundbites of Christie berating and bullying reporters and others. The guy just cannot get a break. So imagine the collective surprise when Chris Christie was announced as a recipient of the Father of the Year Award.
According to the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council Inc., this award is given annually to “contemporary lifestyle leaders of our culture.” Joining past honorees such as Hulk Hogan (who won during season 4 of his reality show Hogan Knows Best), Bill Clinton and John Edwards, Christie may want to question his inclusion. All three of these men have seen and created their share of controversy. These so-called “lifestyle leaders” have had extra-marital affairs (Clinton, Edwards), lied about them under oath (Clinton), had secret love children (Edwards) and girlfriends who look like and are not much older than their daughter (Hogan). There definitely seems to be a pattern here.
Controversial figures grab headlines and headlines make money. Better to name someone who everyone has heard of and is curious about than the true astounding father who is too busy being a great dad to ever involve himself in controversy. Those guys do not get the money rolling in. Ultimately, that is the purpose of this philanthropic event. For 73 years this event has raised big donations for various beneficiaries. This year the proceeds go to Save the Children.
Chris Christie is without a doubt an involved father. He is the kind of dad who actually attends his children’s sporting events, he includes them in his Town Hall meetings and talks about them at appropriate opportunities, always with love, humor and a kind tone. It is hoped that he saves the boorish bullying tactics for his working life.
Some people are of the opinion that it was bad fathering to use his children for the Hurricane Sandy relief television spots, but truthfully that may not have been his idea. Others disagree and think that showing them together as a family was an important symbol for those who experienced the devastation of that weather event. Either way, politicians’ children are often used to help bolster their image. Whether Chris Christie was exploiting his kids or not, he is no less a worthy recipient of the Father of the Year Award than any of the previous winners; except maybe Andy Griffith.
Despite his ongoing legal troubles, Christie is still a man of the people. As was overheard recently, Chris Christie represents “old school corruption you can trust.” Even despite his fiscal troubles, more legal fees than are currently in his campaign coffers, Christie is still a phenomenal fund-raiser. And, even despite his public verbal abuse, Christie is still a devoted dad. Perhaps that is all that is required. Congratulations, Chris Christie, you are receiving the Father of the Year Award for 2014. This is not such a bad year for you after all.
Commentary by Stacy Lamy