Every Family Has a
Loser, Who Invited You?
by Mad Dog
It started with Abel, who had Cain, a brother who, in spite
of murdering Abel still gets top billing whenever the boys are
||Most people have at least
one loser relative. You know, someone like Uncle Donald who shows up for
a wedding having not slept or showered in four days, especially
unfortunate since itís his wedding. Or the nephew whoís the basis of
a betting pool to see who in the family he hits up for a loan most
often. Luckily, relatives like these are a personal problem we can
pretty much ignore in between family affairs. Politicians, on the other
hand, arenít as lucky. For them, a loser relative can be a very public
What brings this to mind is Michael
Fairman. Heís the son-in-law of former Illinois Governor George Ryan,
who is on trial for corruption. Fairman testified last week that
Ryanís co-defendant, Lawrence Warner, loaned him $5,000 to help clear
up some niggling gambling debts. Fairman canít quite remember if he
ever paid it back, though he does recall filing bankruptcy shortly after
having gotten the money. He also admits to having received $55,000 in
Ryan campaign funds, for which he busted his butt. Well, if you call
passing out a few fliers and putting up a sign or two butt busting. On
the stand, Fairman admitted to a gambling addiction, drinking problems,
ongoing financial disasters, and an inability to cut a deal with the
D.A. like Ryanís four daughters did so he wouldnít have to testify
and embarrass himself. Sons-in-law like him make a dad proud.
It would be nice to say heís the
exception, but heís actually the latest in a long, undistinguished
line of loser relatives. It started with Abel, who had Cain, a brother
who, in spite of murdering Abel still gets top billing whenever the boys
are mentioned. Saddam Hussein had Uday and Qusay, Mitzi Shore had Pauly,
and Lindsey Lohan has both of her parents. Iím telling you, itís
Just to prove that he had indeed reformed, he almost
immediately turned around and got himself arrested for drunken driving.
Somewhere, Franklin D. Roosevelt is thanking his lucky stars he was an
Politically speaking, loser relatives have been around for a long
time. Lyndon Johnsonís brother Sam Houston Johnson was known to leak
information to the press while drinking. Thatís why his brother
stashed him in the White House where the Secret Service could keep an
eye on him. Richard Nixonís brother Donald borrowed $205,000 from
Howard Hughes to bail out his fast food restaurant. It folded a year
later, he never repaid Hughes, and when his brother ran for president in
1972 he so trusted Donald that he had the Secret Service tap his phone.
With a court order, Iím sure.
A few years later, Jimmy Carter had
his brother Billy to be proud of. After all, who wouldnít like to be
the president of a world power and have a brother who puts his name on a
brand of bad beer, accepts a $220,000 loan from Libya, writes a book
called ďRedneck Power: The Wit and Wisdom of Billy CarterĒ without
thinking the titleís an oxymoron, and ends up having to sell his house
to pay off the IRS?
Then thereís Bill Clinton, who had
his half-brother Roger to contend with. He was arrested for cocaine
possession while his brother was governor, embarrassed the family ó
and nation ó by pretending to be a country singer, then was pardoned
just before his brother left the White House. Pardoned for the drug
bust, by the way, not the singing. Just to prove that he had indeed
reformed, he almost immediately turned around and got himself arrested
for drunken driving. Somewhere, Franklin D. Roosevelt is thanking his
lucky stars he was an only child.
moments like this that make me glad I have no plans to run for political
office. Or for that matter, that no one else in my family does either.
After all, itís hard to say which would be worse, having the loser
relative or being him.
Interestingly, there are no female relatives in this list. Okay,
except maybe the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, who used fake IDs while
in college to buy liquor, were caught drinking while underage, proceeded
to go into hiding for four years, and then magically emerged
reincarnated as The Darling Daughters. Maybe Dadís right that
rendition can be a good thing.
Thatís not to say theyíre the
only loser relatives George Bush has. Brother Neil has the unique
distinction of having demonstrated his loserness during two ó count
Ďem, 2! ó administrations. First, while his father was president,
the bank he was a director of, Silverado Savings and Loan, collapsed,
costing taxpayers $1 billion. Once his brother became president, he let
it be known that he had picked up the habit of sleeping with women who
just showed up at his hotel rooms in Hong Kong and Thailand. While he
was married. And then thereís the $2 million heís being paid by a
computer chip company thatís backed by the son of a former president
of China, this in spite of the fact that brother Neil has no background
in the field and probably wouldnít know a computer chip from a cow
Itís moments like this that make me
glad I have no plans to run for political office. Or for that matter,
that no one else in my family does either. After all, itís hard to say
which would be worse, having the loser relative or being him. Maybe I
should pop open a Billy Beer, listen to a Roger Clinton CD, pretend
Iím eating a Nixonburger, and think about it a while.
©2006 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while pretending you don't know that loser relative.