The Son Also Rises

Page 3 of 5

The Hall of Politics

The large copper bust you see at the front of this area should be easily identifiable: It's former Huntington (Indiana) Herald-Press General Manager J. Danforth "Skippy" QUAYLE, who currently is one heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States. Skippy's place of honor in this Hall should be easily identifiable as well. He's the foremost current recipient of Big Daddy largess. Plus, Eugene C. Pulliam was his grandpa, making Skippy a fine example of a third-generation beneficiary of Big Daddyness. Who doesn't know the Skipster's life story? The Old Man put Dan's Big Daddy, Jim Quayle, to work when Jim married the Old Man's daughter. Big Daddy Jim married into Big Daddy Eugene's fortune, in other words. At one point Dan's dad worked for Eugene C. as head publicist for the Phoenix newspapers. Jim Quayle eventually bought the Huntington paper from Eugene and put Skippy to work. Before he went to work for his father, though, Skippy slouched his way through college and law school, where he majored in Contemporary Viet Cong Avoidance. He left his dad's employ to join the U.S. Congress, then the Senate, then the George-B ticket. Odds are high that someday Skippy will run the country.

Without major help from Big Daddy and Even Bigger Granddaddy, Dan Quayle would be where? Fingering the coin-return slots in the Herald-Press canteen? A name on the black wall in Washington, D.C.? Or, even worse, a name on a newspaper masthead in dusty Wickenburg, like his brother Michael's name? You'll notice that there are no busts of Mike Quayle in this exhibit. Big Daddy is better to some sons than he is to others.

One political Big Daddy who was ever so kind to his offspring was John RHODES Jr., long-time congressman from Arizona and former House GOP leader. Rhodes' primary gift to his son was giving the boy his exact name (no Pulliam-style funny business with the middle initial) and his prim, nebbish demeanor. John Rhodes III ("Hey, call me `Jay.'") was elected to the U.S. House from his father's district in 1986 and then completely disappeared from public view. The painting you see on the wall above the title "John Rhodes III" was done by a law-enforcement sketch artist working from secondhand accounts of a campaign appearance by the congressman-to-be in July 1986. A much more visible Son of Big Daddy was recently re-elected (again) as Phoenix mayor. Big Daddy Sam GODDARD used to be governor of Arizona. He had his son Terry educated at Harvard, then brought him home to join the law firm of--care to make a guess?--Goddard and Goddard. Soon enough, young Terry was mayor, a position he will hold until he becomes governor, a position he will hold until he becomes senator, a position he will hold until he becomes Senior Democratic Doofus of the State of Arizona with Big Sideburns, the position his father now holds.

The only visually interesting thing about the Goddard exhibit is the stunningly faithful holographic re-creation of Sam Goddard's trademark sideburns. This dazzling three-dimensional display was made possible by a contribution to the Hall by the Arizona Republican party.

The Hall of Car Dealers

An entire wing of the Hall of Fame is dedicated to car salesmen and their sons. Appropriately, we start with a man who once had a foot in two worlds: politics and car trading. The slight, thin-lipped figurine you see standing in the hallway is none other than former Arizona Governor Evan MECHAM.

Mecham once made his living selling Pontiacs. When after four tries he was elected governor in 1986, he left the day-to-day workings of his dealership to son Dennis. At about the same time Big Daddy Mecham was being impeached, his son's enterprise wasn't doing so well, either. The Mechams eventually had to sell out. Now no longer in the car business, Mecham the elder can devote himself full-time to reality denial and unwitting insults. Son Dennis has gone on to lesser achievements, including starting up (and quickly folding) a wacky pottery-import business. Perhaps Dennis will soon turn again to a career in music, a calling for which he has shown little talent but plenty of blind courage.

The lyrics to a campaign song Dennis wrote for Big Daddy take a prominent place on the wall here. The song is sung to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain." Its title is "Vote for Ev." A sample of the lyrics: Let's eliminate corruption

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Dave Walker