The best politician I ever knew never ran for office. He never held a fundraiser or asked anyone for votes. Never even put up a lawn sign. But he knew better than most what makes people tick because he understood human nature. He knew how to talk to people on their level, and people liked him immensely because he always made them feel comfortable, valued and respected. There was nothing phony about him.
He was my dad, Clarence James DuBos Jr., and he died Nov. 5 at the age of 95.
If I have understood anything about politics, it’s because of the things Clarence taught me about people. A salesman at heart, he had a ready smile, a genuine warmth and a dry yet playful sense of humor.
A member of what Tom Brokaw and Stephen Ambrose called “the greatest generation” of Americans, Clarence lived by a few simple rules: work hard, treat people right, be a loyal friend, trust in God, provide for your family, help those in need.
He attended college for barely a semester, but he was a voracious reader — from the classics to Zane Grey, from the daily newspaper to John le Carre. Depending on the circumstances, he might quote Shakespeare or W.C. Fields. He distilled his wisdom to a few memorable quotes, which I heard many times as a boy:
• “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
• “I trust everyone — until they give me a reason not to.”
• “It costs you nothing to give someone a compliment, but it may be worth the whole world to them.”
And my favorite, which he would utter (with a wry grin) on those rare occasions when I did something well: “Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.”