Jack Tame: Maybe my old man has the right idea after all

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You could call him a martyr or just plain old-fashioned. You could exploit his bung knee and tease him for carrying his cellphone in a soap container to protect it from the rain, but you'd still call him my old man.

And in 25 years and nine general elections, for all his observations and theories on how the world should be run, my father has never once told me for whom he voted. I've asked often enough, and from a childhood of impassioned socio-political dinner-table lectures I've been left in no doubt as to his politics. But every three years when the question pops up, he delights in saying not much at all.

"Aaah" he'll sigh, a smile creasing his ruddy cheeks. "What makes you think I'll tell you?"

On election day, I'm still not sure he even tells Mum. Maybe it's a Kiwi-ism to keep voting choices close to the chest. Maybe we actually don't so much any more but there's certainly a level of subtlety in average Kiwi voters that you don't see in their American counterparts.

Six weeks out from the presidential election on November 6, Republicans and Democrats wear gaudy badges on their chests and put stickers on their bumpers and signs on their lawns. And all manner of bizarre supporters are popping up to pick a side.

For those still astride the fence it's become a good excuse to search for guidance on the lists of presidential endorsements.

For example, Mitt Romney enjoys the support of two televangelists, five astronauts, a professional wrestler and the former President of Poland.

Barack Obama appears to have trounced his opponent in the political leanings of the sartorially savvy. Fifteen top fashion designers wear Obama on their sleeves and Romney doesn't have the support of one.

In sports and entertainment it's not much better for the Republicans, although there are no shortage of names prepared to speak up.

Imagine the All Blacks, the Silver Ferns and the cast of Shortland Street all publicly picking a political party. By the present count they probably wouldn't pick Mitt. But Romney does have the backing of Chuck Norris and our own Russell Crowe.

When it comes to athletic pursuits he is endorsed by more bobsledders than basketballers. Obama, on the other hand, can count on boxers, gymnasts, and about half the players in the NBA. He is publicly backed so far by 154 Hollywood actors.

However, you must wonder how much the candidates benefit from some of their high-profile supporters.

Anyone looking to Kim Kardashian (Obama) or Donny Osmond (Romney) for political guidance might not actually be fit to vote.

How many swing voters Jerry Springer turns I'm not too sure.

Sometimes all the high-profile side-picking can simply add weight to the impasse. If you're one to make voting decisions based on the political leanings of porn stars, this election you're in a real pickle. Ron Jeremy is apparently an Obama man and Jenna Jameson backs Romney. Six weeks out, the score is stuck firmly at one apiece.

Things will only intensify in the coming weeks. Leanings will become sharper, divisions will cause greater tiffs.

One colleague swears he knows people who have cut off their friends in the election season through sheer rage at their different political leanings.

It does seem a stupidly steep toll to pay.

So while Meatloaf and Lady Gaga are free to endorse who they like, perhaps the old man isn't so daft in keeping things between himself and the ballot.

- Herald on Sunday

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