Malia going to Harvard

May 1, 2016

Whatever you may think of the President and First Lady, they have been outstanding parents, putting the lives of their children above politics. Recently announced plans for their daughter Malia are a good example.

The word is that Malia will have a year off before beginning her studies at Harvard in 2017. This will coincide with the post presidency of the President and First Lady and give the family time to adjust to a new life.

Presidents are notoriously bad parents.  Too severe or too indulgent.  Abraham Lincoln was estranged from his son and the White House servants were on edge when he visited from Harvard. Grant was typical of many presidents who indulge their children. It may have come from guilt for being away so much.

The Obama’s by contrast offer discipline and structure in the lives of their girls. Limiting the Internet and television, for example, while not hesitating to defy political theater by acting in their daughters’ best interest.

Liberal Democrats are champions of public education and for that reason, Jimmy Carter sent his daughter to public school.  Critics said Obama would be a hypocrite if he didn’t do the same but he and Michelle did what they thought was best for their girls and took the political heat, sending them to private schools.

They took them on foreign trips when it would make a difference and left them home when academic needs demanded it.

In contrast to the infidelities of many modern White House families, the Obama’s have given their daughters an example of a good marriage. In the long run it may be their greatest gift to the girls.

The inclusion of the grandmother in White House life was very important. I have interviewed 19 presidential children and almost all agree that they needed someone else – who was family – to help them but they didn’t get it.

When Mailia Obama enters Harvard in the fall of 2017, she will join a long list of presidential children who followed the same path.

John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, followed in his father’s footsteps when attending the University but he took a circuitous route to get there. Homeschooled at a young age, he was taken to Europe with his father, who was representing the American colonies during the Revolutionary War. By the time he got to Harvard he could speak five languages. He graduated second in his class in 1787.

The sons of President John Quincy Adams tried their best to keep up. George Washington Adams needed special tutoring to get into Harvard. He would die in his twenties from what most historians believe to be a suicide.

His younger brother, John Adams II, became the next deadly focus of the family’s desire for performance. When Harvard invited President John Quincy Adams to speak at his son’s graduation he said he would not do so unless his son improved his standing.  The young Mr. Adams was 45th in his class.

The President refused to allow his son to come home to the family for a White House Christmas. Young Mr. Adams focused on his studies and improved to 24th whereupon his father announced he would not attend graduation anyway.

A few weeks later, John Adams II was seen drunk, racing across Harvard Yard in the nude. He was expelled. He would die of alcoholism in his thirties. His mother First Lady Louisa Adams would write, “Another child sacrificed on the altar of politics.”

In later years presidents tried to soften the blow of excessive expectations. Theodore Roosevelt once wrote his boys, saying that “each of my sons is doing or has done better than I was doing and had done at his age.”

But no matter how well intentioned he could not resist. “There is not leeway for the smallest shortcoming on your part,” he wrote Ted, Jr. before his exams at Harvard.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt would not win any awards for parenting. And their five children would pay the price for it. The five children of FDR would have 19 marriages between them.

James Roosevelt, the first son had a Harvard career described by the Los Angeles Times as “unbrilliant.” (August 13, 1938.)  While Doris Kerns Goodwin thought it was “brilliant.” (No Ordinary Time, p. 170).

James was caught up in many scandals but also served for six terms in the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, his brother Elliot flunked the Harvard entrance exam.

And finally there is George W. Bush. Who not only followed his father by graduating from Yale but picked up an MBA at Harvard as well.

The Obama’s represent a new time and a new family in the White House. And Malia represents the first daughter of a president to take on Harvard. We will all be wishing her well.

(Start reading All the Presidents Children on Kindle right now.)

Why Bernie won’t quit?

April 28, 2016

Okay, those who read my blogs already know the answer to this question.  It is the answer to almost any other question.  Altogether now… in chorus, please…


That’s right. Money.

You will hear the most nonsensical, idiotic discussions on television coming from pundits who have never met a payroll. They will tell you why Bernie Sanders is still in the race.

He wants to get his message out, they will say. Okay, that’s a little bit true. But what is the key to getting your message out?


They say that Bernie Sanders is in denial. He wants something from Hillary. He has a big ego, okay but what is the ultimate ego booster?


Anyone who has run a company, an NGO, a charity, a think tank, a newsletter, a political campaign can tell you a very simple fact. 30% of all donors or subscribers come from California.

For Democrats it means $100 million a year, first in the nation. And while it is 10th in percentage of states population, the total is ginormous, far and away, the biggest part of the annual budget of the DNC.

This means that if Bernie Sanders can keep his campaign going, for any excuse, just a few weeks more, he can get to California where thousands of innocent young people will crowd into his rallies and sign his petitions and give up their email addresses.

This is about California.

Pardon me for sounding cynical.  .

But facts are facts. And if Bernie gets to California he pads his mailing list by tens of thousands and these names will be the little oil wells that will fund all of his projects and his grandchildren’s projects for years to come.

Hillary doesn’t want that.  She wants to stop him.  She is hysterical about it.  Because she thinks that every dollar for Bernie is coming right out of her own pocket. Got it?

So Bernie must get to California. Win or lose.  Doesn’t matter.  Just get there.

Ignore all the idiots on television.


Inside the Trump delegate hunt

April 27, 2016

What’s going on inside the Trump campaign’s hunt for delegates?

Having been a part of ten presidential campaigns I can give you a pretty good idea.

1.) Identification: The first phase is finding and identifying each of the delegates. Names, emails, addresses, phone numbers. This process is ongoing and changing right up to the RNC.

2.) Categorize: Who do they support and how firm is that support? This too is an ongoing process with various categories from 1-10. “Never Trump” to “True Believer.”

3.) The alter-delegate team: This involves assigning a person to be the “alter-delegate” of each delegate.  Their job is to get inside the head of the delegate. Who are they? What do they believe? Who is their favorite college football team, restaurant? What is their faith? This should create a bulging file that gets bigger each day.

The alter delegates will be separated into groups based on their categories, with leaders and facilitators for each of the groups. For example, the “True Believers” will be dealing with a different set of problems and goals than the “Leaners.”

4.) The Care Package: Every delegate should receive a “care package.” It usually includes an autographed photo of the candidate and an autographed copy of his book and from time to time auto-penned notes created and approved by senior staff. “Feeling good about Pennsylvania, hopeful for Indiana.”

5.) Birthday cards: Signed with the auto-pen, these should go out for every delegate up to the Convention and General Election. It can be expanded to the children and spouse and parents of the delegate. If you win the White House they will be carried into the Political Affairs Department.

6.) Delegate Concierge Services: Each delegate will be contacted by their alter-delegate in the campaign / or supervisor, and will be offered a phone number to call 24/7 to help them with special needs. Hotel rooms, recommended restaurants, ideas and suggestions for the campaign.

Every communication from a delegate should have a response.

7.) Recommended notes and calls: Each alter-delegate will recommend personal notes from the candidate for special issues. “Deeply sorry to hear of your mother’s passing, this must be a tough time. We are praying for you.”

The candidate should have a one paragraph brief before calling delegates. He should have a list of several calls to make each day until everyone has heard from him multiple times.

8.) Turning strategies. This is the real work. Each alter-delegate, working with their supervisors and their fellow alter-delegates should develop a strategy for moving a delegate to the next higher category.

9.) Surrogate sugar: Some delegates will have been early supporters of Chris Christie, Ben Carson and other candidates who have come on-board the Trump train. They should get “care packages” from their early favorite, notes and phone calls. Alter-delegates should recommend scripts and ideas for leveraging this surrogate power.

10.) Triangulation: Alter-delegates should search Facebook to look for Trump supporters among the friends and relatives of the delegates and enlist their help and suggestions for turning their friend into a “True Believer.”

Of course, the 80-20 rule will dictate how this operation progresses.  Some alter-delegates will have very little impact while others will be promoted to handling 10 delegates or an entire category, such as “2012 Rick Santorum delegates.”

Finally, the RNC is not the end. It is only the beginning. Wining presidential campaigns will go after the opposition delegates after the convention is over making them feel part of the team, giving them titles, listening to their ideas.

In 1988, Lee Atwater brought back to Washington all of the opposition delegates. When they entered the closed door – day long meetings they were angry and resistant. By the second day of this marathon they were laughing together. Loyalist were almost jealous.  Compare this to the 2012 election cycle where opposition delegates were harassed by the winning campaign even after the RNC was over.


Outsiders and some of my less experienced journalist friends will suspect that this scenario is a bit overdone. But having been inside many campaigns I can assure you that anything someone like me can conceive of in fifteen minutes is far less sophisticated than the real operation that has now been underway for many weeks.



Trump-Clinton: Bad choice?

April 25, 2016

Have we ever had an election where both the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates were flawed? And the voters had to choose between the lesser of two evils?

How about 1884?

The American people had to choose between a corrupt politician and a misogynist.  Both presidential candidates were seriously flawed.

Grove Cleveland and Charles Blaine, the misogynist vs. the corrupt politician.

Grover Cleveland and Charles Blaine. The misogynist vs. the corrupt politician.

The misogynist was member of a law firm in Buffalo, New York. He and his partners shared the sexual favors of a young lady. When she became pregnant our erstwhile, future, presidential candidate, stepped forward to assume paternity.  It was the gentlemanly thing to do since his law partners were married.

When one of his law partner’s died, he assumed guardianship over his daughter, a risky proposition that turned out as one might expect. When the young lady became a teenager they fell in love and at age twenty-one she finally married him.  He was forty-six.

Meanwhile, the corrupt politician ran a pay to play scheme that hampered his political career and made winning the presidential nomination of his party quite problematic. In one transaction that later became public, future presidential candidate, Congressman Charles G. Blaine, received the equivalent of $1.5 million in today’s money. In return he helped a railroad obtain a federal grant.

Today’s critics may see this as a modest bribe when compared to the alleged accumulation of $1.5 billion taken in by the Clinton Foundation. A great deal of the later was allegedly raised from foreign governments and foreign businessmen while Mrs. Clinton was serving as the United States Secretary of State.  In his New York Times bestseller, Clinton Cash,  Peter Schweitzer carefully tracks the long list of transactions.

In the end, the Republicans nominated Charles G. Blaine anyway.  And the Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland. In this case, Cleveland, the misogynist won.

Incidentally, Cleveland became the only president to be married in the White House while in office. He married his 21 year old ward, Frances Folsom. Sensitive to the public outrage Cleveland did not kiss the bride at his wedding. But the nation soon took to the couple and became enchanted with Frances who was the youngest First Lady in American history.

Grover Cleveland is ranked by historians as a very good president and by some as a great one. He lost the White House in 1888 but was returned to power again in 1892, making him both the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, forever confusing history students on exactly how many men have served as president.

How Trump beats a rigged convention?

April 18, 2016


“That’s not fair!” Donald Trump supporters say. They are complaining about the fact that millions of votes are ignored as the GOP establishment continues to try to rob him of the nomination by stacking the delegate process.

What an irony.

In 2012, former governor and GOP Rules Chairman, John Sununu, said the exact same thing to Andrea Mitchell of NBC news. Ron Paul was successfully winning delegates at State Conventions, in spite of the GOP establishment efforts to stop him. The establishment printed false slates, changed meeting locations and closed down District Conventions when they were losing. It was all captured by cell phone and is available to see firsthand.

Even so, the Ron Paul insurgents arrived at the 2012 RNC in Tampa with more than 500 delegates and alternates.

When Paul won almost all of the Iowa delegation Sununu was furious. “That undermines the votes of a million Iowans who went to the Caucus,” he said, “And that’s not fair.”

Sununu, the poster boy for the GOP establishment, is now trying to run an insurgency against the frontrunner, Donald Trump.  Sununu made it clear from the beginning that the establishment wanted anybody but Trump. But now, the outsiders are the frontrunners and the establishment is using Ron Paul tactics.


President George H.W. Bush, John Sununu and Doug Wead in the Oval Office in 1990.


To understand how Donald Trump and Paul Manafort can shut down the Sununu – insider insurgency at the RNC in Cleveland, take a good look at how they, themselves, shut down Ron Paul when the situation was reversed.

In 2012, the GOP establishment used the Credential’s Committee to strip Ron Paul of his duly elected delegates and had them bodily thrown off the floor of the Convention.  The Governor of Maine was so heartbroken for the young people from his State who had worked so hard for a year to get to the RNC that he left with them out of solidarity.  The media mostly ignored it.

Andrea Mitchell of NBC asked John Sununu if the establishment was afraid that their heavy handed tactics would cost them party unity in the general election.

“Well, let’s understand, fundamentally, what the concern of the Party is.” Sununu told Mitchell. “Iowa’s a great example. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum each had about 35% of the vote. That’s 70% of the vote. And the rest was distributed among the rest of the candidates.  Ron Paul’s numbers were close to single digits.”

This was totally false but went unchallenged by Mitchell. In fact, the actual vote was Santorum 24.6%, Romney 24.6%, Paul 21.5%, with the other seven candidates falling behind.

When asked by Mitchell how they could justify removing the duly elected delegates Sununu said, “They go and cram the next part of the [Iowa] Caucus and they come away with all of the Iowa vote. That undermines the votes of a million Iowans who went to the Caucus. And that’s not fair.

“And so they like to abuse the process, in my opinion, when it serves them but when people follow the rules as we did here they get upset with the Rules Committee.

“But the vote we had here that they are concerned about was 78 to 14. They really have nothing to complain about.”

Sununu failed to mention to Andrea Mitchell that Romney security operatives routed the bus carrying the opposition Rules Committee members all around Tampa for hours, keeping them from arriving at the Convention in time to vote on the issue. This included not just Ron Paul delegates but any Rules Committee delegate not approved by the Mitt Romney-John Sununu-Ben Ginsberg team.

Today, ironically, Sununu is encouraging the establishment leaders to play the same Ron Paul game. Ted Cruz and all of the other “Never-Trump” operatives are encouraging the establishment to take delegates at the State Conventions and laughing at Donald Trump supporters who are now saying exactly what the establishment was saying four years ago, “That’s not fair!”


Meanwhile, Sununu is revising the narrative of what happened in 2012. Now Sununu is telling reporters that the reasons behind Rule 40(b) were to speed up the Convention because of an impending hurricane. When Fox News anchor, Bill Hemmer, recently asked about the rule Sununu could hardly believe his luck. Hemmer didn’t even seem to notice or care for the reasons behind the change.

This revised narrative is important because the establishment wants to justify what was done in 2012 and keep Trump from responding the way they did.

Trump’s solution?

Like Sununu in 2012, he can seize control of the Credentials Committee and throw the establishment delegates off the floor of the Convention.

It is the old story. “Hurt people, hurt people.” The victims of abuse become the abusers themselves.

And like Sununu he will conclude that when they are confronted with the prospect of a Democrat president they will come back into the fold.

Don’t count on it. If Republicans want to win someone must break the cycle of abuse.

Ron Paul’s lost delegates: Why they may decide the 2016 GOP nomination

April 15, 2016

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are locked into a death embrace for delegates to the Republican National Convention. The showdown seems headed to California. But there is another block of delegates, big enough to settle the contest on the first ballot. I will call them the lost delegates and whoever finds them first just might be the nominee.

 I am talking about the old Ron Paul delegates from the Tampa Convention in 2012. Several hundred of them are even now still in place, re-elected and headed to the 2016 RNC in Cleveland. They are scattered across several States and who they chose is up in the air.  You can call it the Ron Paul Primary.

Here’s what I’m talking about.  In 2012, candidate Ron Paul led an insurgency campaign to try to get his name nominated at the convention. He wanted a chance to speak in prime time about the issues of corruption that concerned him. The RNC blocked him at every turn, changing the rules to stop him and using the Credentials Committee to disqualify many of his duly elected delegates.

The Ron Paul campaign, with its stealth delegate strategy came far closer to success than the GOP establishment has ever admitted. Without strong arm tactics in the Credentials Committee they would have succeeded, even with the Rule change of 40(5).

John Sununu, Chairman of the Rules Committee in 2012, stood on the Convention floor and told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “It’s not fair.” And Sununu added, “A million voters are disenfranchised in Iowa.”

It is the very charge that Donald Trump is now making about Colorado and Wisconsin. But the situation is reversed. The outsider-insurgency campaign of Donald Trump has won the votes of the people and Sununu and the GOP-insider establishment bosses are trying to steal the nomination from him by using Ron Paul’s stealth delegate strategy.

Overlooked in this battle is the fact that many of those very Ron Paul delegates are still in place, duly re-elected to attend the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio. They were elected at precinct, county and state conventions. In 2012 there were almost 500 of them, both as delegates or alternative delegates. In some states, particularly Iowa and Missouri some have dropped out of the party, disillusioned, but in other places, including many of the Plains and Mountain States they have actually grown and spread.

No campaign has really successfully supplanted these people. Cruz has been recruiting his own folks but hardly made a dent in the old Ron Paul delegates still in place. This means that several hundred of them will be going back to the RNC in Cleveland, voting for either Trump or Cruz. I get emails from them constantly asking for my opinion about whom to support.

Some are voting for Ted Cruz because they see him as the more conservative. Others think he is a tool of the insider bankers, noting that his whole political career was launched by a loan from Goldman Sachs and that his wife worked for the bank.

“What’s the difference?” they ask. Voting for Hillary whose son-in-law works for Goldman Sachs or voting for Ted whose wife works for them?

Some support Donald Trump, seeing him as the target and victim of the same insider, money corrupted, GOP establishment that maliciously blocked the Ron Paul supporters and had them physically removed from the Convention floor, tearing up any poster or placard of support for their man.

Either Trump or Cruz can win this Ron Paul Primary and with it cobble together another 100 or so delegates from across several states. For Trump it means enough to win on the first ballot. For Cruz enough to stop that from happening.

Whoever identifies these delegates first and has the most compelling argument for their support will have an advantage.

All the focus will be on New York Tuesday and California on June 7, 2016. But the silent, unseen, “Ron Paul Primary” may be just as important.



April 13, 2016

A guest blog by Camille Wead,

first year law student. Doug Wead’s daughter.

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, Editor of Law and History.

The Power of Ivanka Trump

Do not underestimate the power of a pregnant woman.

From the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge’s celebrity appearances to pregnant Kim Kardashian’s six-inch stilettos, if these past years have taught us anything it’s to never underestimate the powers of a pregnant woman.

But while the media has portrayed these women as beautiful ticking time bombs, sitting at home, waiting for their babies to be delivered, making occasional appearances, we average television viewers know the truth. These women are found to be more powerful at their most vulnerable stages of life, than at any other time. They work hard and encompass more than just fashion and hair, but surprisingly politics as well.

Ivanka Trump founded #womenwhowork a movement that celebrates hard working women that balance their different roles between their relationships as mother, professional, and business woman.

This hard working mentality doesn’t stop during pregnancy. With the due date coming closer, the very pregnant Ivanka traveled with family to support her dad’s ever growing 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign success.

She has attended every debate, every win, and every loss, all while keeping up business meetings for the new Trump hotel in the District of Columbia.

One would think that with all the many ongoing business appointments, a pregnant mother would stay at home, nesting before her new baby is born.  One must ask why a woman would take on so much?

Truth be told most daughters have the hearts of their father and in this case Ivanka is not only close to the famous presidential candidate, she is his secret weapon.  Donald Trump openly admits to the relational bond and recently joked, “No, he would not be taking her on the ticket as his vice presidential running mate.”

On March 27, 2016, Donald Trump appeared on an interview for ABC television. He was in full defense mode as opponents were attacking his wife Melania. His secret weapon, Ivanka was nowhere to be seen. The Donald looked harried and distracted.

Ivanka Trump with Theodore

Ivanka Trump with Theodore

That same day, right on cue,  Ivanka Trump gave birth to her new baby boy.

Historians had been comparing Donald Trump’s “outsider,” anti-corruption, presidential campaign to Theodore Roosevelt’s trustbusting.

From her hospital bed on April 3, 2016, Ivanka Trump posted the news on Instagram. The boy would be called Theodore.





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