House divided: Politics in play at Raleigh family's Christmas

Posted December 25, 2012 6:45 p.m. EST
Updated December 25, 2012 7:02 p.m. EST

— It might be bad manners to talk politics over Christmas dinner, but for the Woodhouse family in Raleigh, it simply can't be helped.

Dallas Woodhouse is the state director for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity. His older brother, Brad Woodhouse, is the communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

Their mother, Joyce Woodhouse, just wants a peaceful family Christmas.

"I ask them not to talk about politics," she says. "They don't pay me any attention."

Over the years, Joyce Woodhouse has watched her older son move further to the left and her younger son go just as far in the other direction. It wasn't always that way. Dallas Woodhouse lived with his brother for a while after graduating from college.

"If I had known then what I know now, I would have evicted you," Brad Woodhouse jokes. "I would have kicked your butt right out of my house. I was subsidizing you."

"You were not subsidizing me," Dallas Woodhouse fires back.

"You don't believe in subsidies."

Though the differences run deep, the brothers say they still enjoy getting together.

"I do look forward to getting together with him and doing things with our children and doing things to enjoy being together," Dallas Woodhouse says.

Still, he keeps a few zingers up his sleeve. This year, Dallas Woodhouse gave his brother an ornament of the North Carolina Legislative Building, where Republicans have the majority. Brad Woodhouse says he plans to return the favor with a White House ornament.

"I don't know what makes them like they are," Joyce Woodhouse says. "I rocked them in the same rocker."

Brad Woodhouse is quick with an explanation: "I think you dropped Dallas on his head."

The barbs are mostly in good fun, the brothers say. They go on annual ski trips and visit several times a year. After all, they're family.

"You try to make it not personal until you can't help it and it becomes personal," Dallas Woodhouse explains. "But then you get over it pretty quick."

"Well, you have to," his brother chimes in. "It's a philosophical rivalry. I don't think he could be more wrong, and I don't think I could be more right. He thinks the same."

Some debates, such as healthcare, have been harder to weather than others, Brad Woodhouse says, but in the end, their bond is strong.

"We're brothers. I love him."