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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres











2014 Crystal Ball Outlook












"Analysts are noticing the Democrats’ efforts to meddle in Republican primaries. In a Wall Street Journal article from last month, Janet Hook writes 'Democrats increasingly are running ads against GOP candidates even before they win their party’s nomination. By attacking GOP candidates while they are still embroiled in a primary election campaign, some Democrats have seen an opportunity to promote the GOP candidate they think is easiest to beat, or to weaken the one they consider strongest.' Hook points to attempts by Democrats to swing the Republican nomination in North Carolina to candidates other than Thom Tillis, whom many viewed as the most electable Republican. Although Democrats failed to produce a potentially weaker Republican nominee in the Tar Heel State (Tillis won the GOP nomination), they have been more successful in other races. Perhaps most famously, Democrats devoted resources toward enhancing Rep. Todd Akin’s chances of winning the Republican nomination in the 2012 Republican Senate primary in Missouri. Shortly after winning the nomination, Akin made his infamous comments suggesting that a woman who was 'legitimate[ly]' raped could not become impregnated, mostly guaranteeing that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) would win reelection. In 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) likewise helped to ensure that his opponent in the fall would be state Sen. Sharron Angle (R), rather than the (presumably) more formidable Sue Lowden (R). In truth, this is not a new technique. We could draw on many examples across time, but I thought that this would be a good time to tell a particular story, which is the earliest example of a politician attempting to interfere in an opposing party’s nomination contest of which I’m aware. To be clear up front, this story is not the result of my own research. What follows is largely drawn from a 1994 article by William G. Thiemann in Presidential Studies Quarterly. It is told in my own words and has my own interpretations, but the credit for unearthing this goes to Thiemann. The article is titled 'President Hoover’s Efforts on Behalf of FDR’s 1932 Nomination.' In what might be one of the most colossal miscalculations in presidential history, Hoover attempted to swing the 1932 presidential nomination to Franklin Roosevelt, believing him to be the easiest Democrat to defeat. Hoover and Roosevelt had long been seen as rising political stars. In Hoover’s case, he was seen as a star by both parties. At the time, the parties had geographic and demographic bases, rather than firm ideological bases. Both parties sported what we would today refer to as liberal wings." (SabatosCrystalBall)












Soon-to-be newlyweds Michael Shnayerson and Gayfryd Steinberg.


"Then of course, there’s the yachting set, also a growing demographic in these heady days of overnight billionaires, and the prime location remains the Mediterranean. Cruising around the coasts and the islands of the ancient lands surrounding, is not new at all. It is perhaps the greatest luxury in so many ways. What is new is the increasing numbers of Americans -- New Yorkers, Hamptonites --  who are spending a few weeks away from their villas on Gin Lane and Ox Pasture, away from those glad madding crowds, just dallying about the deep blue sea and surrounded by all those other yachts, and ports and islands, like Capri and Sardinia and Corsica and then on to St. Tropez. Who needs the Bathing Corporation or the Maidstone? Meanwhile back among those stalwart clubs by the blue Atlantic, the talk this season is about not divorce or real estate lottery tales, but instead, real Good News -- about a wedding. Invitations went out this week inviting the recipients to attend the marriage of Gayfryd Steinberg and Michael Shnayerson on Sunday, August 10th at the Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor. This is a real romance story, pure and simple. You almost can’t believe it. They’ve both been married more than once, raised children, made solid lives for themselves lasting, and now this. If you witness it, you’re watching something that reminds you of when you were young and naturally intensely passionate. And romantic under the most ideal circumstances. Well, this is it. I’m not kidding. A mutual friend told me she saw the bride-to-be the other day and commented on how this naturally beautiful woman looks more beautiful than ever. My friend recalled the moment in awe. 'It can only mean one thing,' she said: 'she’s very happy.' You’re going to be reading more about this event and its players because it’s a bright light and something for everyone of a certain age – middle and up -- to consider. All this and Michael’s too ... Yesterday was Wednesday. So ... Michael’s was full up but that clatter chatter that sometimes creates momentary deafness was not operating. A little more reserved. A lot of the regulars. In the bay, Table One, Diane Coffey was hosting a lunch in honor of her friend Bob Tierney of the Landmarks commission. This was a table of friends and political chums." (NYSD)






Oct. 24, 2012 - New York, New York, U.S. - BILL O'REILLY arrives for his appearance on 'The Late Show With David Letterman' held at the Ed Sullivan Theater. (Credit Image: © Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMAPRESS.com



"Even on New York City’s Upper East Side, Bill O’Reilly can draw a packed house of true believers. When he took the stage at the 92nd Street Y on Wednesday night for a conversation with his fellow Fox News host Geraldo Rivera, O’Reilly was greeted rapturously by an almost entirely white, white-haired audience (the man in front of me used binoculars to see the stage 23 rows ahead) who whooped and chuckled at the mere mention of President Barack Obama and his potential Democratic successor in 2016. 'Hillary Clinton would envy Bill O’Reilly’s book sales,' said Rivera, by way of introduction, to spirited applause. His opening question was a sarcastic, 'Why are you so unremittingly hostile to President Obama?' The crowd hollered again. 'I’m an ombudsman for the folks,' O’Reilly replied, insisting he merely speaks truth to power. 'When they do bad things, I point them out.'  While Obama is currently the one doing those things, would the country have been better off with Hillary Clinton, Rivera wondered. “With Hillary you get Bill. And Bill knows what’s going on,” said O’Reilly. 'You may not like him but he knows what’s going on. Hillary doesn’t understand how the world works. She doesn’t. But you elect Hillary, he’s there. Whether his attention is diverted, I don’t know ... But he’s there.'  ('If you go after Mrs. Clinton, you’re going to be a bully and a woman-hater, misogynist and all of that,' he added later.) Still, 'She’s a weak candidate,' he said, moving on to 2016, although the Republicans don’t have much better. 'Jeb Bush can do it,' he offered. 'Unfortunately, he’s not a charismatic guy. And do we want another Bush in the White House?' Chris Christie? 'No, he’s done. Christie’s done. And it’s Christie’s own fault.' Rand Paul has 'a big problem in the foreign policy area,' although 'his libertarian values might resonate,' while Ted Cruz 'can’t defeat Hillary,' he said. 'The shutdown of the government was a big mistake for him.'” (NYMag)





"Hollywood’s obsession with James 'Whitey' Bulger, the Boston crime lord who was captured after 18 years on the run, continues. At the same time upcoming 'Black Mass' is in production starring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch, a crowd including Clive Davis, Candice Bergen, Gay Talese, Jeffrey Toobin and former top cop Ray Kelly turned up Tuesday for a screening of a new documentary, 'Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.'After the Joe Berlinger-directed film, guests dined at Rue 57." (P6)











Left, by George Karger/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images, digital colorization by Lorna Clark; right, from Corbis.





"When Clare Boothe married Henry 'Harry' Luce, the 37-year-old founder of Time and Fortune, she was 32 and already well known, as a former managing editor of Vanity Fair. Born illegitimate to poor parents, Clare was a pretty enough child actress to understudy Mary Pickford on Broadway and to act in a silent movie. In her teens she had also briefly campaigned for equal rights with the National Woman’s Party. Then she allowed her socially ambitious mother to steer her into a loveless marriage to the Fifth Avenue millionaire George Brokaw, who was more than twice her age. Six years later, in 1929, now a well-off divorcée with a five-year-old daughter, Clare launched a lifelong series of male conquests, starting with the Wall Street speculator Bernard Baruch. Condé Nast, who was infatuated with her, employed her at Vogue and later Vanity Fair. An early writing assignment at the latter was a 1930 'Hall of Fame' profile of Luce, who in 1935 left his wife and two sons for her. The following year, Clare became even more celebrated as the writer of the all-female Broadway play The Women. She would eventually write eight plays, three books, and several movie scripts. For almost three decades, the Luces were indisputably America’s foremost power couple. Clare covered the early days of World War II in the Far East and Europe as a correspondent for Life, her husband’s picture magazine, then served in Congress as a two-term Republican representative from Connecticut. As the only female member of the House Military Affairs Committee, she twice toured the Italian and French battlefronts and had liaisons with at least two generals. The devastating death of her only child, Ann, in an auto accident at age 19, drove Clare to convert to Roman Catholicism (with the help of Reverend Fulton J. Sheen) and later to experiment with psychedelic drugs. As a formidable television campaigner, she helped Dwight D. Eisenhower win a landslide victory over Adlai E. Stevenson in the presidential election of 1952. Shortly afterward, a summons came for Clare to meet the president-elect at his transition headquarters in New York’s Commodore Hotel, a meeting she carefully recorded." (VanityFair)

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