Veepstakes: Trump Campaign Vetting VP Picks With Same Attorney Who Vetted Sarah Palin

With the Republican National Convention slated to begin in just over two weeks in Cleveland, presumptive nominee Donald Trump is stepping up his search for a suitable vice president. As is tradition in the VP selection process, Trump is keeping his shortlist close to the chest and is having his top choices vetted by campaign operatives before he makes any announcements. And who is doing the vetting, you ask? The same guy that vetted Sarah Palin in 2008. Because that went so well.

Trump has asked attorney Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr. to vet his top VP contenders, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Culvahouse is a partner at major law firm O’Melveney and Myers, and served as Chief White House Counsel to President Reagan from 1987-1989. Culvahouse made his first foray into the presidential election process in 2008, when he was asked to vet then-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Everyone knows how that turned out: love her or hate her, I think we can all agree that there was a lot that John McCain didn’t know about Sarah Palin when he asked her to be his running mate in 2008. While it can be argued that nobody could have stopped the Obama movement that year, Palin’s inability to answer simple questions about foreign and domestic policy, her rumored volatility behind closed doors, and a slew of scandals pertaining to her family ultimately contributed to McCain’s devastating defeat.

So with Culvahouse at the helm of the vetting process again, is history doomed to repeat itself? Hopefully not. For one thing, the needs of the candidates are vastly different. While McCain needed a running mate who would be a breath of fresh air to the party. Trump, by comparison, is considered so volatile that he needs to choose a candidate who lends stability and credibility to the ticket. It is unlikely that Culvahouse would be asked to investigate a candidate that was a complete unknown, simply because that wouldn’t help Trump very much. And we know that Trump doesn’t do anything that doesn’t help Trump. Pence, Gingrich, and Christie can each bring stability and credibility to the ticket in varying degrees, but none would be nearly as controversial a choice as Palin was. Gingrich and Christie, in particular, have put their lives on national display for years. Neither has been immune to scandal, but the scandals are already out in the open. (Bridgegate, anyone?) It is unlikely that there would be any surprise teenage pregnancies in a Trump-Gingrich or Trump-Christie campaign.

After all, Trump is full of enough surprises, all by himself. 

Brexit and Caitlyn Jenner's Playbook

Brexit. You’ve heard about it ad nauseum for the past month. That song by the Clash, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” comes to mind. Global investors have been sitting on pins and needles, forecasting huge financial consequences, while politicians the world over have voiced the fervent hope that Britain remain in the European Union. But what exactly is Brexit? And what does it mean going forward?

By now you know that Brexit is shorthand for “British Exit”— an abbreviation like “Brangelina” or “brunch”. Basically, a bunch of politicians in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) decided that the UK was getting screwed by being a member of the EU—the UK was paying way more than its fair share of dues, and not getting nearly enough benefits to justify the cost. Also, being a member of the EU means that you have to play by its rules: the EU has very specific edicts on economics and immigration, among other things. And those that wanted to leave the EU thought that the UK would be much better off if it could dictate its own rules, stem the tide of immigration, and not have to pay those pesky dues to prop up other struggling EU countries like Greece and Spain.

On the flip side of the coin, those who wanted the UK to remain in the EU argued that leaving would have dire economic consequences, plunging the British economy into recession and virtually ensuring that the UK’s relationship with its trading partners, including the United States, would be driven into the ground. Basically, they threatened the apocalypse.

Cue the gloomy music, my friends, because the apocalypse has arrived. Some 17.4 million citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last Thursday, and now the UK has to divorce itself from the EU without destroying its political and economic relationships in the region. This is no small feat: picture a particularly messy divorce in which one of the parties still has to be best friends with her ex’s family. Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Kardashian (formerly Kris Jenner) come to mind. Let’s call Caitlyn Jenner the UK, and the Kardashian family the European Union. Caitlyn wants out on her terms. She wants to be able to transition and start a new life without the interference of Kris and her brood, because really, all they’ve done for years is suck the life out of her. They’ve told Caitlyn what to wear, what hobbies she can have, who she can be friends with, and Caitlyn is DONE. So she says she’s leaving.

But let’s realistic: Caitlyn knows that, on the whole, the Kardashians have been really good to her. They’ve provided her with the kind of economic security that she really never could have dreamed of achieving on her own. Even though Bruce Jenner was independently famous and wealthy, the strength of the Kardashian brand has given Caitlyn a lot of options she wouldn’t otherwise have and provided her with tremendous financial security. So going forward, she doesn’t want to alienate herself too much from Kim and Kanye. She wants to stay on good terms. Not to mention, Kendall and Kylie are her biological children and she can’t just tell their mother to go eff herself because really, what kind of message would that send?

So Caitlyn makes some very shrewd, calculated moves.  She goes on Diane Sawyer to announce her transition and gives fans insight into her new life. She is charming and confident and vulnerable, all at once. In a word, she is lovable, all on her own. Then she does the Vanity Fair article to make it crystal clear that she is no longer part of the Kardashian brand. In it, she slams her ex-wife just enough that people believe that the marriage is really over, and this isn’t some big publicity stunt. This is happening, people. It’s real.

Further highlighting Caitlyn’s independence, she stars in a reality show that showcases just her and the joys and trials she faces as a trans woman. But here’s the really brilliant part to which pro-Brexit politicians should pay close attention: now that she’s shown the world her value on her own, Caitlyn begins to redefine her relationship with the Kardashians. After all, she was part of that family for ages and she helped raise all those kids. She doesn’t want to pretend that her past doesn’t exist, she just wants to move forward on her terms. So she does. She features various members of the Kardashian family just enough that everyone knows she hasn’t completely alienated herself from the fold. She makes appearances at Kanye’s fashion show and goes to Kim’s birthday party and gets lunches with her ex, just to show that there are no hard feelings. And you know what? Everyone looks at Caitlyn and says, good for you, girl. You made a really hard decision and you found a way to be who you really are while still maintaining your connection to that incredibly famous meal-ticket former family of yours. Well done.

As shocking and absurd as it sounds, the UK needs to take a page out of the Caitlyn Jenner playbook. They’ve decided they’re leaving. Fine. Now they have to find a way to stay connected to their meal ticket. The European Union provides incredible access to the global market for the UK, and many countries (the USA included) have stated that the UK would fall to the bottom of the trading queue if they left the EU. Does this mean that I won’t be able to get my LK Bennett’s anymore? Or that Barbour jacket I’ve been coveting for months is going up in price because the UK couldn’t get a good trade deal with the US? EFF NO. Make. It. Stop. 

Time for the UK to do some damage control. Meeting with EU leaders this week is a start (think Caitlyn and Kris having lunch at the Ivy to show that there are no hard feelings). After that, UK politicians themselves have to start demonstrating that they have control over the situation and a clear vision going forward. No more infighting in the parties, no more dire predictions from the Treasury Department or Downing Street. The British now have to do what they purport to do well: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Even if you guys are freaking out on the inside, you gotta fake it till you make it, baby. It’s the only way the rest of the world will believe you when you say that this move will actually be better for you in the long run and won’t cause a global meltdown.

And maybe, if you guys can swing it, you should see if you can get front row seats at the Yeezus show. Next to Caitlyn Jenner. 

Very, Very Good

Happy Tuesday, my friends! It is (finally) a gorgeous day here in the Granite State and I was finally able to break out my summer work dresses. Thank God, because let me tell you, those black stretchy pants that are kind of leggings but kind of professional have been worked overtime this spring. They are ready for a break. Hello, bare legs! We are finally free! I can’t wait to get outside at lunch. How glorious.

Last night I consented to watching Fox News with my dad because, as I pointed out to him, the Bachelorette starts in two weeks, and I will once again assume control of the remote on Monday nights. But fair is fair, so we watched Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly and, per usual, it was amazing. There was a segment on O’Reilly about the marijuana industry in Colorado in which a reporter actually went to Colorado just to get high. I mean seriously. The segment didn’t really deal with any of the financial or social implications of legalizing marijuana, it just showed this reporter stoned out of his mind. That’s hard hitting journalism right there. On the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly (whom I actually really respect and think is a good journalist) smirked mercilessly at a representative from the Trump campaign who tried to justify his rhetoric toward women. Of course, Kelly has been the recipient of Trump’s sexism, and she knows better than anyone that Trump would never suggest that a male journalist asked him questions because he was “bleeding out of [his] wherever.” I actually love watching Megyn Kelly deal with people that she doesn’t think are smart, because it’s so painfully obvious. She wears her heart on her sleeve, just like I do. Some say it’s a flaw, but at least we’re not hiding anything.

You know who else is being super honest these days? The new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Khan is a Muslim, meaning he would be subject to Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. When Trump was asked about whether Khan would be able to come here, Trump stated that there would “always be exceptions” to the rule. Khan, to his credit, said "no thanks, Donald." Khan flatly rejected Trump’s “exception” for him, stating that it wasn’t just about him but about his friends, his family, and others who wouldn't get special treatment. Khan noted that the ban would prevent him from visiting the United States to exchange ideas with American mayors—he’d like to visit New York and Chicago to talk to their mayors, but plans to do so before January, just in case Trump is actually elected.

When Trump was asked how he felt about Khan’s election, Trump stated, “I was happy to see that … I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good. You lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job … that would be a terrific thing.”

Mr. Trump, you are, per usual, a brilliant orator. God help us all.

Have a great day everyone! xoxo

The Presumptive Nominee

Friends! I am sorry I did not write last week. I was feverishly preparing for an event at work that, ultimately, never came to be. All my preparation was for naught and I missed FIVE DAYS of writing. Sadness.

But, it’s a new week, and here I am! So much happened last week in the political world, I can’t even believe it: Lucifer dropped out of the presidential race. And so did John Kasich. That means, really and truly, that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Blech. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! It’s unbelievable! There are hundreds of millions of people in this country, and this guy is the Republican nominee? Come on, you guys. We deserve better. And lest you think I’m the only one that feels this way, there are some real heavy hitters in the GOP that agree with me: Mitt Romney, of course, as well as the entire Bush family and current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Last week, Ryan was asked whether he would endorse Trump and he said something to the effect that he “wasn’t ready” yet. To me, that means that he’ll eventually toe the party line, but he finds the thought so distasteful that he’s not willing to do it yet. I agree with you, Mr. Speaker. I agree.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to amass delegates as Bernie Sanders refuses to concede. Some pundits have suggested that he’s slowing down in his campaigning and adopting a more conciliatory tone towards Clinton, but honestly, I’m not seeing it. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for this guy to throw in the towel: I can’t decide if I respect his tenacity or if I wish he would just acknowledge defeat. Maybe those two emotions don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Probably the greatest gift to politics last week was the Donald’s posting on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday which does not celebrate Mexican independence, as many Americans think, but celebrates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Normally, I would insert a snide remark here about France’s military prowess, but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of Hamilton lately and am feeling warm fuzzies for the Marquis de Lafayette. So, I’ll hold off. Anyway, the point is, on Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump posted a picture of himself in his office at Trump Tower in New York eating a taco bowl with a caption stating that the best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower, and then stating, and I quote “I love Hispanics!”

Ummm. Okay. So here’s the thing. 1) I guarantee that the best taco bowls in the country are not made in Trump Tower. I mean I would be willing to state my citizenship on it. I’m willing to bet that they aren’t even close to being the best taco bowls in New York City. 2) All Hispanics do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s a Mexican holiday, and not all Hispanics are Mexican. It’s unclear to me whether the Donald knows that. 3) “I love Hispanics!” is not the way that the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party of the United States of America should refer to an enormous and influential voting bloc. Especially when he has already branded them as rapists and drug dealers. Just my two cents.

Here’s hoping this week brings some further excitement! Have a great day everyone! xoxo

It's My Party

Friends. It happened. In just shy of four hours, I'll be 30. THIRTY. And yes, I'm taking advantage of every last minute. But since I'll be in meetings all morning, I wanted to let you know what I think is the difference between 20 and 30: 

This morning, I ran out of the house wearing my slippers. I've done similar things before: meant to put on heels, wore flip-flops instead. In my early twenties I would have been mortified and changed immediately. Now that I'm 30, I have no problem confessing to you that I wore my slippers to work today on purpose. It's cold out. My slippers are warm. And I have dressy shoes at the office. Which I will definitely put on for my meetings and remove immediately after. Because warm, fuzzy slippers are always in style. #sorrynotsorry

Now, be a dear, America, and give me what I really want: a good POTUS come November. :)

Have a great day everyone! xoxo

Time to Throw in the Towel

Friends! Happy Thursday. It is absolutely spectacular outside and it’s almost Friday, so win-win. (Confession, though: it’s been such a busy week that I just had to double-check before I wrote that it actually was almost Friday.) I have been busy attending hearings and writing briefs and doing lawyer-things, but I’m finally starting to catch up and looking forward to a quiet weekend recovery.

I’m not the only one that feels overworked lately: Bernie Sanders took a day off to go home and hang out in Vermont after his loss to Hillary Clinton in the New York primary on Tuesday. I don’t think the Sanders camp can be surprised, given that every poll indicated Clinton was going to win, but the guy is understandably tired. The good news for Bernie (if you can call this good news) is that the math seems irrefutable at this point: Secretary Clinton is going to get the delegates and she’s going to be the nominee. So now, Sanders needs to get behind her. He’s done an incredible thing in this election: he’s somehow managed to be a presidential candidate and maintain his integrity as both a politician and a human being, something that really no other candidate in this race (except maybe John Kasich, who has been true to himself throughout, even if that self is incredibly sexist and degrading to women). Bernie Sanders should be proud of the campaign he’s run, and he should hold his head high knowing that he’s changed the national conversation. My hat’s off to you, sir. I disagree with almost everything you stand for, but I respect the hell out of you.

I also respect ESPN for finally firing Curt Schilling. Listen, I’m a Red Sox fan—not a die hard, by any stretch, but I enjoy a good afternoon at Fenway as much as the next gal. I remember the bloody sock. I know Curt Schilling is a Red Sox legend. But seriously, the stuff this guy says is absolutely outrageous and beyond offensive. I can’t believe ESPN let him stay this long. Of course as a private citizen Schilling has the right to believe and say anything he wants. But as a public figure, he has some responsibility to moderate his tone. I’m sure Schilling will get picked up by Fox News in no time (remember that time when they hired Mark Fuhrman?), but in the interim I’m sure he has a nice fat severance package that will carry him over.

Also. That picture of Prince George standing on foam blocks next to the Queen and holding Prince William’s hand? Priceless. Gets me every time.

Have a great day everyone!

 

xox

Absurd and Illogical

Happy Monday, friends! And when I say “Happy Monday” I mean yes, I am just as miserable as you are and I want to crawl back under the covers and sleep until Friday. Today was one of those days where I drove to work, parked the car, and spent several minutes just sitting there debating whether I actually had it in me to go inside (spoiler alert: I like getting paychecks, so I went inside). It was a little touch and go for about thirty seconds, though. If you are reading this from Boston this morning and you have the day off to “celebrate Patriots’ Day”, aka watch the marathon in your pajamas with a mimosa, I can’t even deal with you today. I am seething with jealousy. (Please have an extra mimosa for me.)

At least we had a gorgeous weekend that actually felt like spring. I hope you got to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. I was finally able to put my new Athleta leggings to the test (they were great, of course. Thanks, Athleta!) and got to spend some time up at the lake, as well. It was a bit chilly but held promises of warm summer days to come, so that was mildly encouraging.

You know what is not encouraging? The fact that the North Koreans are now calling Donald Trump “absurd” and “illogical.” Yes. You read that right. The NORTH KOREANS are calling us out on our bad choices. Friends, if you weren’t really awake before this, I implore you, wake up now. We’re being told by a government that has made it illegal for anyone to criticize its leader that one of our politicians is ridiculous. So just think about that for a second. To put the whole thing in context, CNN was granted a very rare interview with a North Korean government official. It’s rare because in North Korea, the government owns and controls all of the media. I would venture to guess that the majority of North Koreans have probably never heard a criticism of their government from the media because the member of the media who dared go rogue would almost certainly be killed. Foreign news outlets are almost never given interviews because the North Korean government can’t control what they report. But in this very special instance, the North Koreans opened up to CNN about Donald Trump’s nuclear policy, stating that it would be both “absurd” and “illogical” to allow the US military to withdraw from its allies, South Korea and Japan, and to allow those countries to have nuclear weapons. Now, you and I might think that Trump’s nuclear policies are absurd and illogical for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that encouraging nuclear armament is dangerous at best, catastrophic at worst. But the North Koreans’ beef is slightly different: they just don’t think it’s fair. North Korea has been told repeatedly by the United States to give up its nuclear program, and has been sanctioned for failing to do so, and now the Donald is telling other countries to saddle up. They are right that it is a double standard. However, as far as I know, South Korea and Japan aren’t run by dictators who kill their own family members for disagreeing with them, so in fairness to Trump, a double standard may be appropriate in this circumstance. Or, you know, we could all just get rid of our nuclear weapons. Maybe. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/17/politics/north-korea-donald-trump/

Meanwhile, in case you were worried that the GOP hadn’t sufficiently degraded women in a while, relief comes to you in the form of “moderate” presidential candidate John Kasich. At a rally late last week in New York, just days ahead of the New York primary, Kasich was asked by a young female college student what he would “do in office as president to help me feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment, and rape.” Kasich’s response? After hemming and hawing over services that are already available on college campuses across the nation, he told the girl to avoid parties with alcohol. Governor. I have no words. You have two sixteen-year-old daughters, and you think that they’re going to be safe from sexual violence if they avoid parties with alcohol?? Just. Stop. Talking. Such uninformed, off-the-cuff remarks are detrimental to survivors of sexual violence everywhere. You can’t seriously be suggesting that, if that same girl goes to a party with a lot of alcohol and suffers sexual violence at the hand of some drunk idiot, then it is her fault because she knew people would be drunk. No. No. No. 

Friends, this is the third remark that John Kasich has made in this campaign that is so crushingly demeaning to women that it makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit: the first was when he called on an excited young woman at a rally on a college campus back in the fall, and before she could even open her mouth, he made a comment about not having any Taylor Swift tickets to give away. Right. Because she’s dumb and thought she had actually called into a radio promotion to guess the lyrics to the latest T Swift jam. The second comment came when he said that women came “out of their kitchens” to vote for him when he ran for the US House of Representatives in the 1970s. I’m sure they dropped their spatulas on the spot and forgot to turn off their ovens, so excited were they to vote for John Kasich! And now we have this. If you want to avoid sexual violence, girls, stay away from parties with alcohol.

Friends, I begrudgingly concede to you that John Kasich is the best candidate for the Republican nomination. But that doesn’t mean that he’s a good choice. One comment I could forgive, two makes me question whether he’s actually a misogynist, and three puts the nail in the coffin. John Kasich demeans women. Maybe he’s not as overtly offensive as Donald Trump (see, e.g. “Who would vote for that face?”) but Kasich strikes me as just as dangerous.

On a lighter note, George Clooney admits that the money he raises for Hillary Clinton is “obscene.” So at least he knows. But he says he’s raising that amount of money to put a Democrat in office who will appoint a liberal Supreme Court justice who will help get private money out of politics by overturning the Citizens United decision that came down in 2010. Smooth logic, Georgie. Good luck with that.

Have a great day, everyone! xoxo

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