Well, it’s one on the Democrats now. Dan Bice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s political gossip columnist, is reporting that James Bryce gave $25 to the likely Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District, Bryan Steil, instead of Bryce’s brother Randy, the likely Democratic candidate in the district. The story also contains the juicy detail that James Bryce even considered running for Congress as a Republican himself despite his brother Randy Bryce soaking up the Hollywood cash while running as a Democrat.
Earlier this year the shoe was on the other foot when it was learned that Kevin Nicholson’s parents and brother maxed out their contributions to U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. At first, Bice reported on contributions before Nicholson entered the race, which was completely silly, but then Nicholson’s parents timed their next contributions to Baldwin to fall right before the filing deadline, possibly so they would be noticed. Nicholson’s family troubles even drew national attention and Nicholson himself used the story in a fundraising email.
Now every candidate will be calling relatives they haven’t spoken with since Aunt Dottie ran off with the Kaiser’s nephew. (Don’t ask me what that means.) “Yeah, about that last Facebook fight we had over Laurel vs. Yanni. I’m sorry, you’re right, and please don’t give money to my political opponent.”
This isn’t the first election cycle where relatives have been dragged out of the family tree to comment on a political candidate. Democrats and the Milwaukee media had some sport back in 2010 when it turned out Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch’s uncle disagreed with her about same-sex marriage. Her uncle got more media time that campaign season than Billy Carter. (You young ‘uns, you go look that up.)Subscribe to our free newsletter, the RightWisconsin Daily Update – free!
So I have a confession to make. In college, one of my cousins wrote for the liberal newspaper on campus while I wrote for the conservative newspaper. My uncle and I not only don’t agree about politics, but he and I don’t agree about football. My parents and I disagree about football, too. My wife agrees with me about politics but agrees with my parents about football. My father-in-law barely agreed to let me marry his daughter, although I’ve grown on him. He still disagrees with me about football, politics, music, fishing, and Miller Park. My children don’t agree with me about the importance of doing their homework, eating their vegetables and going to bed on time.
This may shock people, but family members disagree from time to time. Unfortunately, in the age of Obama, it got worse when the liberals actually put out talking points about Obamacare for some of them to use at Thanksgiving Dinner, never letting it occur to them that there is more to life than politics. And, unfortunately, Wisconsin politics got a lot more strained during the recalls, especially during the recall of Governor Scott Walker.
I can’t begin to understand how someone can contribute money to a political candidate opposed to a family member. Family, I teach my children, is family, and we shouldn’t share any of our family troubles with strangers. (I know, I just did, but I hardly consider those disagreements “trouble”.) Or as Michael Corleone said to Fredo, “Don’t ever takes sides against the family again. Ever.” (Of course, Michael had Fredo killed, and killed his brother-in-law, too.)
I’m not sure of the news value of these stories, but I’m hoping that they run their course. There’s speculation on social media that Baldwin might ask Nicholson’s parents to appear in an ad if Nicholson wins the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. For the sake of the Nicholson family, including his children, I hope that doesn’t happen. But if it does happen, I hope there’s a strong backlash against dragging the families into the political fight and Baldwin’s campaign suffers accordingly. Maybe then we’ll stop asking every relative of every candidate about their campaign contributions. Maybe then some families will remember there is more to life than politics.
Unfortunately, football is another matter, and I’m still forced to go in the other room when my favorite team plays the Green Bay Packers.