PUBLISHED: March 15, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4685 words)
Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who left office in 2009 after revealing an affair with an Argentine woman, is now running for Congress—and he asked his ex-wife Jenny to run his campaign:
"According to Jenny, she had already told Mark she would be taking a pass on the race the day before, at the funeral of a mutual friend. So when Mark came to visit her, he arrived with a proposal. 'Since you’re not running, I want to know if you’ll run my campaign,' he said. 'We could put the team back together.'
"Jenny told him, in so many words, that wasn’t going to happen. Mark made one last appeal.
"'I could pay you this time,' he said."
PUBLISHED: March 4, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4227 words)
A writer goes through "the most invasive process in politics"—being vetted as a running mate by the same person who vetted Sarah Palin in 2008:
"It starts unobtrusively enough. 'So you're the vice president, and the president is visiting Seoul,' Frank begins, unspooling an elaborate scenario in which the president's hotel gets decimated by a car bomb, 200,000 North Korean troops cross the DMZ, and the Joint Chiefs urge me to take out Pyongyang with a tactical nuclear weapon. 'Do you authorize the strike?' he asks, trying to get a sense of my political judgment (as much a part of the vet now as excavating secrets). I wonder if the question is also a reaction to Frank's Palin experience, recalling the scene in Game Change in which Palin reveals that she doesn't even know that there are two Koreas. But I push those thoughts aside and dodge the question by asking for more military options, trying to cover my fecklessness by name-dropping Seal Team Six. Next, Frank hits me with an easier hypothetical, about a deadlocked Senate and a Supreme Court nominee who appears to be against gay marriage. 'Do you support the president and cast the tiebreaker in favor of the president's nominee?' he asks. Of course I do, I respond. I'm a team player. The president can always count on me."
PUBLISHED: July 17, 2012
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4870 words)
"If Karl Rove was Bush's brain, then [Eric] Fehrnstrom is Romney's balls." Meet the former Boston Herald reporter-turned-consigliere to the presidential candidate:
"It was January of 2008, the last time Romney ran for president, and Fehrnstrom was getting in the face of an Associated Press reporter in a Staples store in South Carolina. The reporter, Glen Johnson, had just challenged Romney during a press conference, interrupting him in the middle of a claim that he didn't have lobbyists working on his campaign—Mitt definitely did—and when the press conference was over, Romney rushed after Johnson to press his case. 'Listen to my words, all right? Listen to my words,' Romney sputtered, smiling through gritted teeth. That's when Fehrnstrom stepped in and cornered Johnson in front of a Post-it notes display. 'You should act a little bit more professionally instead of being argumentative with the candidate,' he hissed at Johnson. 'It's out of line. You're out of line.'"
PUBLISHED: April 25, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4004 words)
[Not single-page] The departing congressman reflects on what's wrong with Washington, and how his coming out in the 1980s was first received by his Democrat and Republican colleagues:
"Robert Bauman had written a book in which he outed me. He incorrectly referred to somebody as my boyfriend—he wasn’t; he was a close personal friend—but he referred to me as gay. The press didn’t pick it up, but I thought, I’d better tell Tip. So I went to Tip. We were sitting on the floor, it was a bad day, we were losing the vote on the Contras, and I sat next to him. I said, 'Tip, I’ve got to tell you something. Bob Bauman is coming out with a book that says I’m gay.'
"'Awww, Bahney, don’t listen to that shit. You know they say these things about people.' I said, 'Well, Tip, the point is it’s true.' He said, 'Oh, Bahney, I’m so sad.' That’s when he told me he thought I was going to be the first Jewish speaker. He acted as if it was the end. But he was wonderfully supportive."
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2012
LENGTH: 28 minutes (7189 words)
Paul Clement, a former solicitor general under George W. Bush, is representing state attorneys general in the Supreme Court fight against Obama's health care law—and it's just one of seven cases he'll be arguing before the court:
"There are two ways to assess a Supreme Court argument. One is to view it as an act of persuasion. You can read Clement’s brief primarily as a letter to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who’ll likely be the deciding vote if the Court overturns Obamacare. Clement quotes Kennedy’s previous opinions throughout his brief, and he leans on broad themes rather than legalistic detail, which is a style that has worked to good effect on the justice in past cases. The other, more cynical way to view a Supreme Court argument is as an act of manipulation—to provide the justices with a plausible rationale for reaching a decision they’re already predisposed to make. If you believe that the Court’s conservative majority is itching to strike down Obamacare, then the task is to launder this decision of partisan motivation. And so Clement argues that there are, in fact, other ways to fix America’s health-care system without an individual mandate; it’s just that Congress chose not to avail itself of those means because they were politically unpopular."
PUBLISHED: March 19, 2012
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4362 words)
Brock’s decision to abandon conservatism was a gradual one—and, unlike other famous apostates’, more personal than ideological. “I didn’t wake up one day and say, you know, ‘Supply-side economics doesn’t make sense,’ ” he says. In fact, his move from the right began after he failed to deliver the goods in a book about Hillary Clinton and some of his conservative friends expressed their displeasure with his efforts. Brock, in turn, began to suspect that these friends valued him only for his ability to destroy liberals—and possibly loathed him because he is gay.
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2011
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4927 words)
Jeff Smith was a rising political star. Then the FBI started asking questions about his past. "That evening, Smith gave a speech at a fund-raiser in a downtown loft. He found it difficult to focus. 'As I was talking, I had an ominous sense of foreboding about what was to come,' he says. 'I looked around the crowd and thought to myself, "This is going to be our last fund-raiser."'"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 14, 2011
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6150 words)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is no longer just a popular governor; he has become a national Republican star. His focus on fiscal issues and his reluctance to wade into the culture wars—during his gubernatorial campaign, he declined Sarah Palin's offer to stump for him—have endeared him to members of the GOP's sane wing. "The breakthrough he's scoring in New Jersey is hugely promising," says David Frum, a conservative writer who fears that the Republican Party is being swallowed by the tea party.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 22, 2010
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5135 words)