The son of one of the central figures sent to prison as part of the Watergate scandal of the 1970s says that the family name has been more of a benefit than a burden, perhaps because he works in the insurance industry.
“We’re a pretty conservative industry, so there are not a lot of people who were going to hold it against me in any fashion. If it’s held one way or the other, I guess it’s held for me,” says Hank Haldeman, oldest son of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, who was President Nixon’s chief of staff, in a recent interview with Wells Media Group.
Hank Haldeman is executive vice president and director with The Sullivan Group in Los Angeles. He is also current president of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Office (NAPSLO).
In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Andrew Simpson of Wells Media Group, Haldeman discusses his father, Nixon, Watergate, politics, the Haldeman name and more. The interview will be aired for the first time in in its entirety on Thursday, March 19, at 2 pm ET/11 am PT on a special InsuranceJournal.com page dedicated to the interview and excerpts.
“In my insurance career, I think it has had no impact whatsoever that I’m aware of. I don’t see it. Maybe it’s there. If it had any impact at all, I’m sure it was beneficial. I probably am given benefit of the doubt for whatever ‑‑ skills, or intelligence, or whatever ‑‑ simply because of who I am or where the family came from,” he says in one excerpt on the effect of his father’s situation on his own career that was released before the full broadcast.
While his career has not been affected, Haldeman says he has experienced some uncomfortable situations.
“People trying to be nice sometimes can be otherwise. One of the things I heard repeatedly from friends, or even strangers and acquaintances, or whatever is, ‘Well, the sins of the father aren’t visited on the son.’ That puts me in the position, if I thank them for it or whatever, agreeing that, frankly, my father is guilty of sin. I never had that viewpoint. It was always awkward. I tended to resent that a little bit,” he acknowledges.
Near the end of the Watergate hearings, Sen. Sam Ervin asked H.R. Haldeman whether the events had soured him on politics.
“My oldest son would like to go into politics and nothing can make me prouder,” Nixon’s chief of staff answered.
That oldest son, Hank, didn’t enter politics but says he has always been interested in politics. He has been active in the insurance industry on policy matters but he has never wanted to run for public office.
“I love the political environment. What I don’t like is campaigning and I don’t like what our political structure does today to someone who wants to be elected. Campaigning and fundraising for campaigning takes over so much of your time and energy. I would love to be a congressman or senator or something like that, but not to run. I would not like to run for Congress. I would not like to run for Senate, and I think that’s sad,” says the son of a political strategist and White House insider, suggesting there are many others of all political stripes who feel the same way.
The Hank Haldeman interview will air in its entirety on Thursday, March 19 at 2 pm ET/11 am PT. Visit the insurancejournal.com Haldeman interview page for the broadcast and live discussion.
The interview is sponsored by the new Learning Management System (LMS) of the Insurance Journal Academy of Insurance.
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