Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Media-Whore D'oeuvres

"On a balmy summer afternoon, Dave 'Mudcat' Saunders sits in the shade of his porch in Roanoke, Va., with a tall cup of iced tea, a highlighter and a copy of I Heard My Country Calling. That’s the new book by former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a Reagan Democrat whose 2006 upset over one-time GOP star George Allen in Virginia represents the last time Mudcat could claim victory for his 'Bubba Strategy.' Since fallen into disuse, the Bubba Strategy might be the only proven way of getting rural-minded residents of very red states or regions to vote Democratic. It was first road-tested in the state in 2001, when in his landmark run for Virginia governor, Democrat Mark Warner sponsored a truck operated by southwest Virginia’s Wood Brothers Racing team in a NASCAR race, appeared with bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley and slathered the deeply working-class region in 'Sportsmen for Warner' signs signaling his support by and for gun owners. Similar tactics were subsequently used by Blue Dog Democrats and other candidates who sought to win rural areas. Little more than a decade later, the Bubba Strategy almost feels quaint. Shifting demographics have transformed Virginia into a blue-leaning swing state over the last two presidential election cycles. With fresh numbers of Democratic voters, candidates now believe they only need to get voters to turn out rather than persuade people in red districts. Hence freshman Sen. Tim Kaine, in his successful 2012 race, felt free to ignore Bubba; instead Kaine only had to run up huge margins in the urban crescent around Washington, D.C., without worrying as much about the parts west of Richmond. For similar reasons, President Obama paid even less heed to the rural parts of the state in 2012 than he did in the 2008 campaign. Saunders, nonetheless, insists that finding a way to identify with the 'bubbas'—Southern slang for people of limited means and less education—is not only useful but essential to the Democratic Party’s future throughout the South and rural areas of the country. If the party wants to hold the Senate this year, let alone retake the House of Representatives any time soon, it must travel again down many a country road, at least philosophically, Saunders says." (Politico)

by Mark Peterson/Redux.

"Thus began one of the strangest political scandals in memory, one that, should proof be found of Governor Christie’s direct involvement in the lane closings, may go down as the only traffic jam in American history to derail a leading contender for the White House. Even if Christie is eventually cleared, his presidential prospects have sustained considerable damage. Until the scandal broke, in January, he had been a front-runner for the Republican nomination, a loud, pushy political puncher who had shown an ability to draw Democratic and independent voters, even as he did battle with entrenched special interests such as the powerful public-sector unions. Now, however, a scandal that began with a single set of orange parking cones has sapped much of the momentum from his presidential ambitions, prompting many big-ticket Republican donors to have serious doubts.'The accepted wisdom is he’s cooked,' says Gerald Krovatin, a prominent Newark defense attorney and Christie critic, who is married to the writer Anna Quindlen. 'I don’t agree with that. There’s enough of a window between now and the point of critical mass for the 2016 campaign that he can certainly try to come back, and I think he’s pedaling his bicycle as fast as he can now, and he’s got a great platform [as chairman of] the Republican Governors Association to do it. Me, I wonder if this whole thing resonates nationally as much as it does in New Jersey. But if there are indictments returned, and I’m feeling there will be, that’s going to prolong the whole story and the agony for Christie. And that’s going to create an interesting scenario. When his people get that bull’s-eye on their back, how deep will their loyalty go? That’s the whole aspect that’s yet to play out.'" (VanityFair)

"Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Hot, yesterday in New York. Very, with a small breeze late evening with maybe thunderstorms; still waiting for the maybe part at this late hour (midnight). JH and I were entertained at lunch by our Washington Social Diary correspondent Carol Joynt. We met Carol about eight years ago. I was sitting at this desk one night about two a.m. finishing up, waiting for JH to send me the final layout when I got an email from Carol. I hadn’t heard of her at that moment, (New York)-provincial guy that I am, who knew little to nothing about Washington life. At the time Carol was the (inherited) proprietress of a popular meeting spot/brasserie-ish burger joint in Georgetown called Nathans. (Innocent Spouse, Broadway Paperbacks, Random House, 2011). She started out life writing the news for Walter Cronkite and later on in her career produced for Charlie Rose back in the days when he had a very late night show on NBC, and later than that, for Larry King when he was broadcasting from broadcasting from our nation’s capital." (NYSD)

"Many friends came to town and we are having a very groovy time. Most amazing of all is Rachel came for a visit. First class all the way, she was even seated next to a hot young billionaire. Rachel’s world is full of magic. All my local friends wanted to meet the fabled Rachel and there have been dinners (where the famous lobster basil quiche was served) and also lunches, and studio visits and boat trips to private islands and on and on the fun has rolled. Amazing fusion of perfection Xperimento, the best band in the world, were in town and performing at The Green Parrot which, in case I haven’t labored the point enough already, is way and above and by far the best bar in the world. And yes both nights Xperimento played I herded everyone I could think of and led the way and merrily and uninhibitedly I danced my ass off! That we ended up, at the end of the first night, in a swimming pool with the band until dawn, should not be misconstrued as anything but pure clean fun, and with only the merest dash of Boogie Nights. Having Rachel with me has been beyond heaven and I’m so grateful to have my friend back. We’ve had a ball and I’ll cry when she goes home tomorrow.
Now I’m sitting on a terrace in the breeze listening to the wind in the trees and with my hurting head I acknowledge for me to dance through another evening I would need to be borne on a platform carried by those who carry platforms. The bearers could be in loin cloths and drenched in scented oils, oh I must stop dreaming." (Christina Oxenberg)

"Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) scrapped plans to join President Obama at a fundraiser in his home state on Wednesday, saying that he needed to remain in Washington for last-minute votes. The absence of the vulnerable Colorado lawmaker will again raise questions about whether President Obama and his middling approval ratings are an asset or liability for Senate Democrats as they fight to keep control of the upper chamber this fall. Udall's campaign said the Colorado lawmaker did not want to miss the confirmation vote for San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who was nominated to become the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 'Additionally, the Senate will be continuing legislative action on a bipartisan sportsmen's bill, which includes Mark's legislation to expand access to public shooting ranges, as well as introduction of Mark's bill to secure women's access to contraception,' said Udall spokesman Chris Harris. 'Mark is grateful for the president's support, and had hoped to welcome him to Colorado in person, but his responsibilities to serve Colorado in the Senate come first.' Udall had been slated to appear alongside Obama at a fundraiser that jointly benefited his reelection campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That event is closed to cameras." (TheHill)

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