The Guy Who Fires You
January 25, 2012
Randy Lavallee is a proud member of the American working class. A New Hampshire resident, he works as a calibration inspector for a jet-engine plant just across the state line in Maine. Four years ago, the plant went through a downsizing that resulted in the layoffs of one-sixth of its 1,600 workers. After the cuts, Lavallee told me, the “CEO and management got big bonuses.” I met Lavallee, 58, recently in Rochester, New Hampshire, where he lives.
I Love the Iowa Straw Poll—And I’m Not Ashamed to Say It
August 12, 2011
It’s hard to imagine a screwier and easier to criticize step on the way to pick a presidential nominee than the Republican quadrennial exercise in mobilization, purchased votes, and kitsch that is the Ames Straw Poll, in which candidates compete for the bragging rights for an event that will draw fewer than 15 thousand voters and has no formal relationship to actual delegate selection. And yet, the results are undoubtedly important.
Caroline Kennedy, Victim Of Sexism?
January 22, 2009
This Caroline Kennedy farce will drag on a little longer, but in the meantime Anne Kornblut has a front page story in Friday's Washington Post on whether sexism had something to do with Kennedy's rough few weeks. Kornblut's piece starts off with this shaky claim: With her abrupt exit this week from consideration for the Senate, Caroline Kennedy added her name to a growing list: women who have sought the nation's highest offices only to face insurmountable hurdles. In what sense were the hurdles faced by Kennedy "insurmountable"?
Snakes On A Campaign
June 05, 2007
I'm not sure what to make of this, but it's, uh, interesting. In his new memoir, Bob Shrum says that when he once broached the topic of homosexuality with John Edwards, Edwards told him he was "not comfortable around those people." Now Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with CNN, has tried to add some context to her husband's remark: "I believe that Bob Shrum brought up the issues of gays and lesbians," Elizabeth Edwards said, "and John said, 'You know, I come from a small southern town, Baptist, you know. . . .
May 23, 2007
I've been reading through an advance copy of Bob Shrum's memoir and have a story online today about how harshly Shrum treats his former client, John Edwards. But the book, which goes on sale June 4, is filled with dishy and revealing moments, a few of which I'll post on the Plank today. Because bloggy people find him so fascinating, let's start out with one about Time magazine columnist Joe Klein. Klein loomed large over the Kerry campaign, Shrum recalls, and not just for his influential columns: Klein himself was trying to play many parts.
Sorry About That...
March 13, 2007
Bob Shrum says he convinced John Edwards to support the Iraq war: Shrum writes that Edwards, then a North Carolina senator, called his foreign policy and political advisers together in his Washington living room in the fall of 2002 to get their advice.
August 30, 2004
Snuffle. Snuffle. Snuffle. The little black nose is cold and wet on my arm. "Gracie, stop that!" media writer Michael Wolff scolds the small, spastic spaniel wriggling next to me on the sofa. Gracie tumbles to the floor, but Trixie the cat soon takes her place and delivers an exploratory head butt. "No. No. No. Come on," says an embarrassed Wolff, leaning out of his high-backed red chair and waving an arm. Wolff and I are seated in the living room of his comfy Upper East Side home.
August 02, 2004
Robert Shrum, John Kerry's chief strategist and speechwriter, is considered the poet laureate of populism--the man who injected the phrase "the people versus the powerful" into Democratic vernacular. Over his 35-year career, Shrum has been responsible for many of the memorable lines to leave the mouths of such Democratic eminences as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, and Al Gore. But one of his most telling speeches won't ever be collected in an anthology of great oratory. For many years, Shrum plied his trade on behalf of Richard Gephardt.