- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2004

NEW YORK — Tim Campbell and his son, Scott, came to the Republican National Convention to affect the major players in American politics.

Tim, 58, stays in the swank New York Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan, donning his plaid jacket, neatly pressed gray pants and polished brown loafers when he makes his calls to government officials.

As senior vice president of government relations at St. Paul Travelers, an insurance company, he is enjoying doing business this week with the Republicans gathered here.

Scott, 23, an unemployed activist, crashes at the East Village apartment of a friend he met via the Internet, and dons sloganeering T-shirts and ragged cargo pants while making his calls from the streets of New York, which break down to “Bush bad.”

The two are worlds apart when it comes to politics, but it’s a divide that will never be enough to shake their love for each other.

Even when his father praises President Bush, Scott shakes his head with an “Aw, Dad” look that is tinged with affection.

“President Bush has done a very good job in this challenging post-9/11 environment,” said Tim, a lifelong Republican, who lives with his wife in Avon, Conn.

“It’s just hard to hear that,” said Scott, who dropped out after two years at Vassar College and lives in Oakland, Calif. Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, both Democrats, are more to his liking.

His father just smiles calmly. The convention highlighted their differences, putting them in the same place geographically, but also outside a giant ideological divide.

“I would like to see him in a button-down shirt and tie,” Tim said. “And if he were to want to go back and finish college, that would be great.”

Not at this juncture, Scott said. He is a rock-solid activist, and the only thing he plans to do after a long week of protesting is find another job when he gets back to Oakland.

“I’ll look for one on Idealist.org,” he said, referring to a jobs Web site that caters to the activist community.

Their differences are tempered by the father-son bond.

The two have a standing Sunday-night phone call to catch up, and Scott e-mails his political articles to his parents, in part to explain his stances and sometimes with the vague hope of changing their minds on issues.

“What he has done is broadened my understanding of some issues,” Tim said. “He feels passionate about so many things, so strongly about these things. But to me, there has to be more to it than youthful idealism. Changing the world is a pretty big agenda.”

That idealism has fostered a change in one respect. After explaining to his father the treatment of young cattle on veal farms, Scott’s advocacy paid a dividend.

“I no longer eat veal,” said Tim. “He showed me something that just wasn’t right.”

As he grew up in tiny Canton, Conn., Scott was groomed to be a conservative. He played Little League, soccer and tennis and appeared to be ready to follow in his father’s footsteps into the corporate world.

Youthful zeal transformed the bespectacled man into a full-fledged protester as his father prospered in the business world.

Both were heeding their callings when they arrived in New York this week.

As the convention wrapped up last night, Scott attended a stridently anti-Republican rally at a Greenwich Village restaurant that verbally savaged the country’s current leadership.

A few dozen blocks to the north inside the Garden was Tim, beaming with American pride for a president he heartily supports, as well as his son, who, despite his wild-eyed anti-Bush fervor, will never be able to do much wrong in his eyes.

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