Rich Galen

SAP ALERT: It is Father's Day. As a father I am claiming my right to let the world outside stay outside for a day.

You know, by now that I am a dad. The Lad, whose real name is Reed, is 31.

Regular readers also know that, in spite of my firm instructions that he whisper two words before he went to sleep every night during his career at the University of Texas at Austin, "investment banking," he went into politics.

While he was in college I flew down to Austin so we could be together the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's streak. We had been to dozens of Orioles' games and I thought it was fitting we be together for that event. We went to dinner, then went back to my hotel where we ordered every desert on the room service menu and watched Cal's 2,131st consecutive game on TV.

According to the Washington Post reporting of that game:

The biggest outpouring of emotion came when the game became official at 9:20 p.m. And the crowd wouldn't stop cheering for 22 minutes 15 seconds.Two of the people cheering for those 20+ minutes were a father and son in a hotel room 1,500 miles away.

Reed started out in politics as an intern in the finance shop of Governor George W. Bush's re-election campaign in Austin. A couple of stops along the way with two other statewide office holders and he wanted to get into the Bush-for-President orbit.

As a father, I was worried about the fact that he had only worked in extremely large, extremely well-funded campaigns. As a father, I determined that he needed a stop in a real campaign.

As a son, I believe he thought his father was nuts.

He did a stint in York, Pennsylvania as the campaign manager and sole employee for the campaign of a guy running for a local office. It was the kind of campaign where you can't pick up the printing until you've been to the post office to see how much money came in today then raced to the bank and make the deposit so if the printer follows you out the door, the check you gave him will be good.

He ended up on the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000 and, after working his way up the Executive Branch food chain, he ended up working in the White House in the Advance Office.

In the 2004 cycle I was doing the luncheon speech at a fund-raiser in Connecticut. President George H.W. Bush was speaking that evening and we ended up sitting in the same room. I told him that my son worked for his son and how much it meant to me that I could dial the White House switchboard, ask for my son by name, and be connected.

President Bush smiled and said, "That's what I do, too." That's how we dads talk to each other.

The last event Reed did as a member of the White House advance office was the President's trip to Louisiana. The day before the trip, Reed called and said that he had just seen "the manifest" and I was on it.

In the shorthand of the office, "the manifest" was the list of who was going to be aboard Air Force One the next day. I had never been on Air Force One so this was a very big deal for me.

I have had many great experiences in politics. I've met hundreds of interesting people and been to dozens of amazing places. I cannot imagine a greater thrill in politics than a dad flying back to Washington aboard Air Force One with his son.

During the inaugural in 2001 Reed was known as Rich Galen's son. Four years later young staffers would ask me if I was Reed Galen's dad.

When your son moves beyond you in your joint vocation, that's when you know, as a father, you have done well. And that's the best Father's Day present anyone could ask for.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.