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“It Won’t Be Enough To Win”: Trump Considers Another Old White Male Politician For Veep

Donald Trump’s shortlist for VP looks like just another communications and demographic nightmare for the GOP. The main candidates that we know of so far appear to be Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and now appears to include Indiana governor Mike Pence:

According to two Republicans familiar with the meeting, the conversation between Trump and Pence lasted for more than an hour, and the governor was joined by his wife, Karen, as he visited with the real-estate mogul.

One person described the session as “warm and friendly,” while the other called it a “getting to know you thing, a chance for both of them to connect.” They both noted that the presence of Karen Pence is probably a sign that the Pence family is comfortable with the prospect of the Republican governor joining the ticket, although they said they have not spoken with her.

Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the meeting, the location of which had been closely guarded for days.

Pence’s stock has been rising in Trump’s orbit, they said, describing him as respected by the candidate, despite Pence’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) in the Republican primary.

Trump’s camp says that he will pick a running mate before the convention. That would be common sense. Less commonsensical is Trump’s shortlist of older white male Republican government types as VP. Even Trump must realize at this point that political appeals to older white men won’t be enough to win him the election. He has to expand his base to have a prayer of winning that doesn’t depend on Hillary Clinton self-imploding.

Trump could try to win votes by expanding demographically by picking a woman or minority. The challenge for him there is that he has alienated most of the reasonably potential choices, from Nikki Haley to Meg Whitman. He could try to expand the map geographically by choosing someone from the midwestern states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

Or he could use the vice-president slot to communicate that he’s not your typical Republican politician by selecting someone from the business community, perhaps a tech entrepreneur.

But it’s not at all clear what Trump stands to gain from picking someone like Christie, Gingrich or Pence. The voters to whom those figures appeal, Trump already has. And that won’t be enough for him in November.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 1, 2016

July 3, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee, White Men | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Lot Of People Like Me”: Donald Trump And The Ku Klux Klan: A History

For months, as Donald Trump developed his political repertoire, he adopted an uncharacteristic reply for questions about fascism and the Ku Klux Klan: silence, or something close to it.

He used the technique as early as last August, when his opponents, and the press, still generally regarded him as a summer amusement. On August 26th, Bloomberg Television anchor John Heilemann brought up David Duke, the former Klan Grand Wizard, who had said that Trump was “the best of the lot” in the 2016 campaign. Trump replied that he had no idea who Duke was. Heilemann asked if Trump would repudiate Duke’s endorsement. “Sure,” Trump said, “if that would make you feel better, I would certainly repudiate. I don’t know anything about him.” Changing tack, Heilemann pressed Trump about an article in this magazine, which described Trump’s broad support among neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other members of the far right who were drawn in by his comments about Mexicans. Trump maintained a posture of indifference. “Honestly, John, I’d have to read the story. A lot of people like me.” The interview moved on to other topics.

It should be noted that Trump’s unfamiliarity with Duke is a recent condition. In 2000, Trump issued a statement that he was no longer considering a run for President with the backing of the Reform Party, partly because it “now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke.”

Throughout last fall and into the winter, Trump continued to accumulate support among white nationalists. In November, on a weekend in which he said that a black protester, at a rally in Alabama, deserved to be “roughed up,” Trump retweeted a graphic composed of false racist statistics on crime; the graphic, it was discovered, originated from a neo-Nazi account that used as its profile image a variation on the swastika. In January, he retweeted the account “@WhiteGenocideTM,” which identified its location as “Jewmerica.” Shortly before the Iowa caucuses, a pro-Trump robocall featured several white supremacists, including the author Jared Taylor, who told voters, “We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people.” Each time Trump was asked on Twitter about his white nationalist supporters, the candidate, who is ready to respond, day or night, to critics of his debating style or his golf courses, simply ignored the question.

Only under special circumstances did Trump summon a forceful response on matters of the Klan: in January, BoingBoing unearthed a newspaper report from 1927 on the arraignment of a man with the name and address of Donald Trump’s father; the story was about attendees of a Klan rally who fought with police, though it wasn’t clear from the story why the Trump in the piece was arrested. Asked about it, Donald Trump denied that his father had had any connection to a Klan rally. “It’s a completely false, ridiculous story. He was never there! It never happened. Never took place.”

But recently, as Trump’s campaign has received much belated closer scrutiny, his reliable approach to the Klan problem has faltered. On Thursday, Duke offered his strongest support for the candidate yet, telling radio listeners that a vote for one of Trump’s rivals would be “treason to your heritage.” The next day, when Trump had hoped to focus on his endorsement by Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, a reporter shouted a question about Duke’s embrace, and Trump said, “David Duke endorsed me? O.K., all right, I disavow. O.K.?” For the moment, it worked, and the press conference moved on. Christie, in fact, bore the brunt of the Duke association: he appeared on the front page of the Daily News on Saturday, as the “MAN WITH A KLAN,” with his picture beside a group of hooded Klansmen. In a different spirit, the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that long ago endorsed Trump, awarded Christie the title “Heroic Deputy.” (Christie’s overnight evolution from trashing Trump to obeying him repulsed even the political class, a group that is usually more forgiving of self-rationalization. The technology executive Meg Whitman, who had been one of Christie’s top backers, called his alliance with Trump “an astonishing display of political opportunism,” and asked Christie’s donors and supporters “to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright.”)

Over the weekend, Trump’s purported indifference to support from white supremacists and fascists became an inescapable problem. He had retweeted a Mussolini quote from @ilduce2016 (which, it turned out, was an account created by Gawker to trap Trump)—“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep”—and, when asked, on NBC, if he wanted to associate himself with Mussolini, he said that he wanted “to be associated with interesting quotes.” He added, “Mussolini was Mussolini. . . . What difference does it make?” On CNN, Jake Tapper pressed him about David Duke, and Trump, seeming to forget that he had given a one-line disavowal, reverted to a position of theatrical incomprehension: “Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, O.K.?” Tapper asked three times if Trump would denounce the Klan’s support, and each time Trump declined. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” he said. “So I don’t know. I don’t know—did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”

By Monday, less than twenty-four hours before primary voting on Super Tuesday, his non-answers about the Klan were creating a crisis, and Trump introduced a new explanation: audio trouble. “I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying,” he said on the “Today” show. “But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke.”

There may be no better measure of the depravity of this campaign season than the realization that it’s not clear whether Trump’s overt appreciation for fascism, and his sustained salute to American racists, will have a positive or negative effect on his campaign. For now, his opponents are rejoicing. Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, pronounced him “unelectable.” Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, called Trump’s comments “just horrific.” But it is by now a truism to note that Trump has survived pratfalls that other politicians have not. A surprisingly large portion of Americans believed him when he pushed a racist campaign denying the birthplace of Barack Obama; a comparably chilling portion of Americans were attracted when he called Mexicans rapists. By the end of the day on Sunday, he had received the endorsement of Senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, the first sitting senator to officially line up with Trump. Sessions was not likely to be bothered by Trump’s flirtations with the Klan. In 1986, he was rejected from a federal judgeship after saying that he thought the Klan was “O.K. until I learned they smoked pot.”

In the weeks to come, Trump is virtually guaranteed to accumulate additional endorsements from politicians like Christie and Sessions, who have divined their interests in drafting behind the strongest candidate for the Republican nomination. Whether driven by fear of irrelevance, or attracted by the special benefits of being an early adopter, Christie seemed compelled to do it, and now the remnant of his political reputation is going from a solid to a gas. But the true obscenity of his decision, and those of other Trumpists, may take years to be fully appreciated. In an editorial last week, the Washington Post declared that “history will not look kindly on GOP leaders who fail to do everything in their power to prevent a bullying demagogue from becoming their standard-bearer.” That’s true, but history will judge even more harshly those who stand with Trump now that it is indefensibly clear with whom they are standing.

 

By: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, February 29, 2016

March 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Carly Failorina”: HP Employees Won’t Give Carly Fiorina A Dime

The employees at Hewlett-Packard, where Carly Fiorina was CEO for six years, don’t seem interested in seeing their old boss become commander-in-chief.

Of the 302,000 employees at the company, not one has given a reportable amount to help Fiorina fund her 2016 presidential campaign, according to the campaign’s most recent FEC filings, which lists all donations over $200. HP’s corporate leadership also doesn’t seem keen on the idea of Fiorina in the White House. Among the 12-member board of directors, just one, Ann Livermore, has given a donation above that threshold.

Also missing from the donor list are current CEO (and former GOP gubernatorial candidate) Meg Whitman, any members of the senior leadership team, and all but one member of the HP Board during Fiorina’s tenure there from 1999 to 2005. Tom Perkins, a venture capitalist and former board member who voted to fire Fiorina in 2005, has since had a change of heart and donated $25,000 to CARLY for America, the super PAC supporting her.

The lack of early financial support from almost anyone associated with Hewlett-Packard is hard to square with Fiorina’s own description of her achievements there. While she acknowledges the “tough choices” she had to make as CEO, Fiorina aggressively defends her six-year run as a time when she transformed the company from an aging dinosaur into a market leader.

“We doubled the size of the company,” she told the audience at the recent CNN debate. “We quadrupled its topline growth rate. We quadrupled its cash flow. We tripled its rate of innovation.”

But Fiorina failed to explain during the debate that the company doubled in size because she pushed HP to merge with Compaq in 2001. That merger led to a company with two times the revenue, but only half of the value.

Fiorina also laid off 30,000 HP employees, moved thousands of jobs to China and India, and was fired by the board after a period so tumultuous that some disgruntled employees continue to refer to her as “Chainsaw Carly” or “Carly Failorina.” Her severance package was worth an estimated $42 million.

Interviews with HP employees during and after Fiorina’s leadership reveal a deep and simmering well of discontent 10 years after she left the company.

Dean Soderstrom, a sales operations manager at HP from 1999 until his retirement in 2015, said he saw feelings for Fiorina among rank-and-file employees sour quickly after she took over.

“Right from the get-go with Carly, it seemed like it was a two-class company. It was her and the rest of us,” Soderstrom said. “Many of her employees were very disenchanted by her. When she was let go, I think for the right reasons, there was a lot of singing ‘Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.’”

To Soderstrom’s point, Fiorina’s first year at HP not only included an immediate overhaul of the company’s famous corporate culture, widely known in Silicon Valley as “the HP Way,” but also instant celebrity status for Fiorina, who was the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. She appeared on the cover of more than 40 magazine covers in her first year, had her portrait hung in the company’s Palo Alto lobby next to the founders, and bought a Gulfstream IV for her travels. The previous CEO, Lewis Platt, famously flew coach.

“I don’t care if she’s a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. I would not support her for president,” Soderstrom said. “I would not give her two cents.”

Another former employee, who is now a CEO in Silicon Valley, and did not want his name used, said he would never consider supporting Fiorina for president and knows of none of his former co-workers who would. “My thoughts are no employee would donate to her campaign, ever,” he said. “She is a terrible leader, really, really bad. As bad as they come.”

A current employee, who also asked that his name not be used, said he felt HP never recovered from the changes Fiorina made. “HP is still not a happy place to work. It’s pretty much been a disaster for years, but I think Carly set the tone.” The company recently announced another round of 30,000 layoffs and a restructuring that will split the massive company into two smaller units.

Peter Burrows, the author of Backfire: Carly Fiorina’s Battle for the Soul of Hewlett-Packard, who covered Fiorina’s tenure at HP and remains in touch with current employees, said Fiorina started at HP with high hopes among staff that she would change the company, making it more relevant and nimble. Instead, she became the symbol of its demise.

“Everybody at HP knew the company needed to change and she sounded like she had the answers,” Burrows said. “That faded pretty quickly because it became clear that it was not translating into action and it began to seem empty.”

As her time at the company went on, the company’s performance sank, and layoffs were implemented, Burrows said people inside HP and throughout Silicon Valley began to put the blame for the company’s failures on the once high-flying Fiorina, an opinion that persists to this day.

“Most people think that she did not improve the company, that she made the company weaker, that she tore away some of its strengths,” Burrows said. “She had a small but incredibly loyal core group around her, but she lost the vast majority of employees.”

The Fiorina campaign did not respond to several requests for comment on this article.

 

By: Patricia Murphy, The National Memo, September 30, 2015

October 4, 2015 Posted by | Carly Fiorina, GOP Presidential Candidates, Outsourcing of Jobs | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Job Destroyers, Inc”: More Bad Company For Mitt

It’s apparently not enough for Mitt Romney that he’s holding a Vegas fundraising event tonight featuring Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, just as the latter political werewolf is reviving his birtherist act.

Next up, in California, Romney’s doing a high-dollar event with everyone’s favorite failed political robot and job destroyer: yes, Meg Whitman! In case you (like me) have tried very hard not to think about eMeg since the last of her mind-numbing, soul-deadening 2010 gubernatorial campaign ads faded from the air, she’s been back in the news as the CEO of HP, doing what she does best: laying off employees. Here’s an assessment of her brief but destructive tenure at HP by SiliconBeat’s Chris O’Brien:

Listening to the Hewlett Packard earnings call was an exercise in the surreal today. CEO Meg Whitman started the call with a cheerful anecdote about some really neat-o gizmo she saw at HP. Just the sorta whiz bang stuff that’s gonna get HP back on its feet in no time!

She’s never been more optimistic about HP’s future! Gonna invest more in that innovation stuff!

Then she proceeded with all sorts of other happy talk about the business stabilizing and yada, yada, yada. And oh, by the way, to realign costs with the business we’re going to throw 27,000 people out the window.

[T]his has to be a crushing blow to an employee base already intensely demoralized by non-stop job cuts over the past decade. HP is not so much a company as it is a patchwork of acquired pieces of technology and companies, a kind of Frankstein monster of the high-tech industry.

Meg Whitman is to the technology industry what Mitt Romney is to private equity: an American Beauty Rose of “best management practices” that add up to a lot of misery and dysfunction. Romney could do a lot for the clarity of his economic message by just putting Meg on the ticket with him. Aside from all the many things they have in common, together they could pretty much self-fund the whole campaign if they wished. (Oh, yeah, sorry, forgot that Whitman can’t be on a national ticket because she is not, last time I checked, anti-choice!).

Newt, Trump, Whitman, on back-to-back days, just as Romney is officially nailing down the GOP presidential nomination. It has to be a nightmare for Romney’s staff. Don’t be surprised if they throw a few random punches to distract attention from the company their candidate is keeping.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, May 29, 2012

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea Bags, Wind Bags, and Moneybags

Born Again Baggers?: Joe Wilson, Jim DeMint, Rick Scott, Sharon Angle (clockwise from top left)

So let’s say you’re a Republican politician who’s been working the far right side of the political highway for years, getting little national attention other than the occasional shout-out in Human Events. Or let’s say you’re a sketchy business buccaneer with a few million smackers burning a hole in your pocket, and you’ve decided that you’d like to live in the governor’s mansion for a while, but you can’t get the local GOP to see you as anything more than a walking checkbook who funds other people’s dreams.

What do you do? That’s easy: Get yourself in front of the loudest parade in town by becoming a Tea Party Activist!

There has been incessant discussion over the last year about the size, character, and intentions of the Tea Party rank-and-file. But, by and large, the political discussion has passed over another defining phenomenon: The beatific capacity of Tea Party membership, which enables virtually anyone with ambition to whitewash his hackishness—and transform from a has-been or huckster into an idealist on a crusade.

After all, to become a “Tea Party favorite” or a “Tea Party loyalist,” all a politician has to do is say that he or she is one—and maybe grab an endorsement from one of many hundreds of local groups around the country. It’s even possible to become indentified as the “Tea Party” candidate simply by entering a primary against a Republican who voted for TARP, the Medicare Prescription Drug bill, or No Child Left Behind. It’s not like there’s much upside to distancing oneself from the movement. Most Republican pols are as friendly as can be to the Tea Party; and it’s a rare, self-destructive elephant who would emulate Lindsey Graham’s dismissal of it all as a passing fad (in public at least).

Here, we’ll take a look at two specific types of politicians who have been especially eager to embrace the Tea Party movement: the fringier of conservative ideologues, for one, and also the self-funded ego freaks who can easily pose as “outsiders,” because no “insiders” would take them seriously. Let’s call these, respectively, the windbags and the moneybags.

By “fringier” conservative ideologues, I mean those who have argued, year in and year out, sometimes for decades, that even the conservative Republican Party simply is not conservative enough. Many of these politicians would be considered washed-up and isolated, or at least eccentric, in an era when “Party Wrecking” was still treated as a cardinal GOP sin. But now it’s as if they’ve been granted a license to kill. One classic example of this type is South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who was considered such a crank in the Senate that he was often stuck eating lunch alone as recently as 2008. His views, for example that Social Security and public schools are symbols of the seduction of Americans by socialism, were not long ago considered far outside the GOP mainstream. Now, in no small part because of his identification with the Tea Party Movement, DeMint has become an avenging angel roaming across the country to smite RINOs in Republican primaries, his imprimatur sought by candidates far from the Palmetto State.

Then there’s the new House Tea Party Caucus, chaired by Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, best known for suggesting that House Democrats be investigated for treason. Its members include a rich assortment of long-time conservative cranks, including Steve (“Racial profiling is an important part of law enforcement”) King, Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson, Paul (“We’ve elected a Marxist to be President of the United States) Broun, Dan (Vince Foster Was Murdered!) Burton, and Phil (National Journal’s Most Conservative House Member in 2007) Gingrey. The key here is that these are not freshly minted “outsiders”: Burton has been in Congress for 28 years, Wilson for ten, King and Gingrey for eight. The oldest member of the House, Ralph Hall of Texas, who has been around for 30 years, is also a member of the caucus.

Even some of the younger Tea Party firebrands didn’t exactly emerge from their living rooms on April 15, 2009, to battle the stimulus legislation and Obamacare. Marco Rubio of Florida, after all, was first elected to the state legislature ten years ago and served as House Speaker under the protective wing of his political godfather, Jeb Bush. Sharron Angle first ran for office 20 years ago, and was elected to the Nevada legislature twelve years back. And of course the Pauls, father and son, are hardly political neophytes—they have just begun to look relevant again because the Tea Party movement has shifted the GOP in their direction

And, in addition to the hard-right pols who’ve emerged into the sunshine of GOP respectability, the “outsider” meme surrounding the Tea Party movement has also created running room for well-funded opportunists—the “moneybags.”

These are epitomized by Rick Scott of Florida, who probably would not have passed the most rudimentary smell test in a “normal” election year. While there are always self-funding egomaniacs running for office—California’s Meg Whitman comes to mind along with Connecticut’s Linda McMahon—the former hospital executive presents a unique test case for the whitewashing power of Tea Party identification. He has managed to overcome a deeply embarrassing embroilment in the largest Medicare fraud case in history by taking his golden parachute from Columbia-HCA and becoming a right-wing crusader against health care reform, helping to make that a central cause for the Tea Party movement. (Scott was forced out of his position as head of the for-profit hospital chain, which he tried to build into the “McDonald’s of health care,” and the organization was fined $1.7 billion for overcharging the federal government.)

Pushed out of his job after the fraud decision, Scott decided to found the Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR) group that exploded onto the national scene early in 2009 with a series of inflammatory TV ads attacking health reform, employing the same firm that crafted the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth spots against John Kerry in 2004. CPR also played a major role in organizing the town hall meeting protests in the summer of 2009, which marked the Tea Party movement’s transition from a focus on TARP and the economic stimulus bill to a broader conservative agenda.

So when Scott (a Missouri native who moved to Florida in 2003) suddenly jumped into the Florda governor’s race early in 2010, the cleansing power of tea had already transformed his image among conservatives, making his improbable campaign possible.

On the wrong side of this dynamic was Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a former congressman and sturdy, if conventional, conservative who had paid his dues by twice running unsuccessfully for the Senate. McCollum had apparently all but locked up the nomination when Scott, in mid-April, leapt into the ring with ads calling himself a “conservative outsider” who would “run our state like a business,” while tarring McCollum as the candidate of “Tallahassee insiders” responsible for “the failed policies of the past.” Then came a torrent of advertising from Scott ($22 million by mid-July, more than anyone’s ever spent in Florida in an entire primary/general-election cycle) blasting McCollum for alleged corruption, for insufficient hostility toward illegal immigration, for being soft on abortion providers. The assault voided a lifetime of McCollum’s toil in the party vineyards, vaulting the previously unknown Scott into the lead in polls by early June. Worse yet, from a Republican point of view, Scott drove up McCollum’s negatives, and increasingly his own, to toxic levels, handing Democrat Alex Sink the lead in a July general election poll. And now McCollum, fighting for his life, is striking back, drawing as much publicity as he can to Scott’s questionable past, especially the Medicare fraud case against Columbia-HCA.

So the question is: Would Rick Scott have been in a position to carry out what is beginning to look like a murder-suicide pact on the GOP’s gubernatorial prospects if he hadn’t been able to identify himself as an “outsider conservative” with close ties to the Tea Party? That’s not likely, but it’s no less likely than the remarkable epiphanies that have made career pols of marginal relevance such as Jim DeMint and Sharron Angle into apostles of an exciting new citizens’ movement. So the next time you hear a candidate posturing on behalf of the Tea Party, squint and try to imagine what they were like in their former lives. Many of them have only found respectability through the healing power of tea.

By: Ed Kilgore-The New Republic, Aug 5, 2010

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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