Fathers Know Best

A candidate thanks his hard-working, blue collar father.

Originally published in the New York Times, 9/7/2008

“Champ, when you get knocked down, get up.” — Joe Biden, relating advice from his father at the Democratic convention.

“My dad ... worked hard, lifted heavy things, and got his hands dirty. The only soap we had at my house was Lava.” — Mike Huckabee speaking at the Republican convention.

Arlington, Va.

THANK you, thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be here tonight. My fellow Americans, I stand here a proud but humbled public servant, ready to face the challenges and issues that weigh so heavily on this great land and ever mindful of the sage words of my hardworking father: “People drive like maniacs in parking lots.”

I am the son of that ordinary man, a research scientist like so many millions of others, a man who often toiled late into the evening doing the Sunday crossword puzzle in ink, and I accept the trust and faith you have shown me through this long campaign.

My father imparted his wisdom to me at an early age, more often than not along the clogged Long Island Expressway of my youth. Somewhere around Exit 48 or 49, not far from the great Walt Whitman Mall — but far from the Eastern elitism of my opponent — I remember him uttering the words that would resonate years later, words that would propel me on the course that has led me here to this podium tonight.

“Matthew,” my father said, “if a racing car leaves Detroit at 4 and is going 213 miles per hour, and another racing car leaves Memphis at 5 going half the speed, when will the first car arrive in Chicago?”

Jay Mendelsohn: American hero. For 35 years, dabbling away at the everyday problems of random variables and the Cooley-Tukey algorithm in his lab at the Grumman Aerospace Corporation, kept warm only by an open fire and the strains of the “Moonlight Sonata” wafting through the office.

recent Posts
recent Links
follow Matt
subscribe to Mailing List
Enter your email below to receive updates:

Coming Soon

To schedule an appointment with Matt call 703.795.8659