Common Sense

Salute to the father in chief

Neil wishes Obama a happy Father's Day


It's not easy being a boss these days. Maybe because bosses aren't lasting too long in their jobs these days. It's a nice gig when you have it, but don't assume you'll always have it.

So bosses are working like the dickens to hold on to it.

I often wonder whether for a lot of them, it's worth it. Even after all the money and power, is it still worth it?

All that time away from home. All that time away from their kids for all that constant beating up at work.

I know one boss who does his darnedest to make the best of it.

Travels a lot, but at least he travels well. Because like a lot of bosses, he's got a jet. But also like a lot of bosses, he's got a family. And he doesn't like being away from them so much.

So we're told he's always calling his kids even helping with their homework. Makes a point of personally saying good night to them, no matter where he is and making every single parent-teacher conference, no matter how busy he is.

Staff members know there's no scheduling around that kid-time and woe to the assistant who forgets that cardinal rule just one time or when he is home, even thinking about interrupting his family dinner time.

Being a boss, he has a lot of help. But his kids sure as heck better do their chores and make their beds, because no way in heck they're going to push that on the help.

From all accounts, he is a proud dad sometimes even bordering on an embarrassing dad, when this full-time boss made himself a part-time assistant coach on his kid's basketball team. We're told she winces when dad loudly questions a referee's calls.

You know how dads can be.

We're told her sister has the same reaction when dad's whooping it up on the sidelines at her soccer games. You know how loud dads can be.

Some say this boss does it out of guilt. He grew up without a father. He'd be damned if his kids grow up without a father.

He is an ambitious man, but still a family man.

A man who lives in a nice house. Perhaps you've seen it. It's the White House and it's President Obama. And it's his kids who are the beginning and end for this boss and his wife

Not just any parents, to be sure, but raising kids in a pretty tough environment, that's for sure.

Policies can be debated, but this man's commitment to fatherhood cannot.

As my colleague Juan Williams once wrote, "this president stands as a defiant daily contrast to the pop culture message that wealthy, strong, successful men are unattached to families."

It doesn't hurt that in a minority community, bedeviled by so many absentee fathers, he is a constant presence. The U.S. Census Bureau reports almost 25 million children live without their biological father at home. The National Fatherhood Initiative says the prospects for most of those kids aren't good.

Kids need a dad. He doesn't always have to be home. He just has to be there. And on this count, by all accounts, Barack Obama has been there.

That doesn't mean you can't fault him on spending and many will. Just don't even think of trying to fault him on spending time with his kids, I will not.

He's a good dad. This Father's Day, no matter your politics, on this, I think the most profound duty a man take on for "dad" Obama, I say, hats off.

So I guess we can and will quibble this election year whether he's a good president. Let there be no doubt Barack Obama is a very good dad. And I very much admire that and the president for being that and all the busiest dads on this planet who take the time never to forget that.

Happy Father's Day.