The low bar for Father of the Year

We love politicians too much and we have too low expectations for fathers.

How else to explain the choice for this year’s Father of the Year?

Think of the possible choices. Personally, mine would have been David Briscoe, who has been by his daughter’s side from the moment she crashed her bike during an unorganized race in downtown Minneapolis almost a year ago.

But he didn’t get the award. Neither did anyone else who quietly does the things that makes a father a great father.

The envelope, please (courtesy of the Associated Press):

NEW YORK (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a break from traffic scandals and budget woes Wednesday as he accepted an award for being Father of the Year.

The National Father’s Day Committee crowned the Republican governor at a ceremony in Manhattan. Other honorees included football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, shoe designer Vince Camuto and Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring.

The famously combative Christie joked that when his four kids, ages 10 to 20, found out he’d been chosen for the honor, they reacted with disbelief.

“The response was universal. They just blankly stared back at me and said, `Really?”‘ Christie told attendees gathered in a hotel ballroom. “And I felt very warm about that.”

Christie often mentions his kids at public events, joking about their argumentative dinner table conversations.

He said he was also surprised by the award and, in a more serious tone, thanked his kids for putting up with “me and my crazy life.”

“For me, today is really recognition for the best thing that I get to do in my life. I get recognized and criticized and praised for all kinds of other things, but the most important thing that I get to do every day is to be a father to my four children,” he said.

Still, Christie couldn’t quite escape the George Washington Bridge scandal that has cast a shadow on his 2016 presidential ambitions.

As she introduced the governor, joking about his “small personality” and “modesty,” awards presenter Norah O’Donnell of CBS took a dig at the scandal, describing Christie as “governor of New Jersey – you know, that state right across the GW Bridge.”

The governor took the remarks in stride, however, playfully raising his eyebrows.

Later he joked that while in New York, he would refer to New Jersey as “the place on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.”

Previous recipients of the award include former presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

The award’s standard is fathers “who have attained professional success and have found the time to be role models in raising their children.”

Because being father of the year, apparently, involves squeezing in a little time for the kids.

Christie received his award today at a luncheon attended by one of his children.

Who else could have won besides my recommendation?

How about Dick Hoyt, who at age 73, pushed his son in his wheelchair along the Boston Marathon course for the last time?

Or Daniel Murphy, the New York Mets player who gracefully handled the criticism because he missed opening day to be with his wife when his child was born?

Or this guy, who told his son that he can do better than an “F” in math?

Or this guy, who stayed home with his daughter until she was 12, and then was forced to bury her.

Or the guy in Ohio who left a party for his kids this week to jump in the lake to save a drowning girl? He’d need to receive the award posthumously.

Your nominees?