Dispatch from NH Primary: Monday before Election Day

Monday Dispatch – last day before election

Snow expected so we got an early start to beat bad weather.

Met Gov. Christie out of the revolving door into the Radisson in Manchester. Relaxed, friendly, shook my hand.

By the time we walk to Bernie Sanders event at the Palace, snow is falling.
Secret Service searches everyone, even press. Audience of 350, press of 150.

Bernie sounding more nasal than usual, must be nursing a cold.
Memorable lines:

“With the freedom they bought, Wall Street brought this economy into the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.”

“Getting an education in America should not be punished; it should be encouraged.”

Themes are a corrupt American campaign system is undermining democracy.
Democracy is not about billionaires buying elections.

I feel like I’m in a Frank Capra movie and Edward Arnold is about to turn the lights out.

Showtime from 4-6! Guests included Eric Trump, former Congressman, ambassador, and Steve Chaggaris of CBS news. Find on iTunes as podcast or WGCH.com.

We hightail it to Trump rally at Verizon arena, snow coming down. Traffic cop ushers us across a major intersection diagonally across the street- that’s a first. Waaaay around back is press entrance, again secret service, many of them.

It’s a big snow, yet the arena is almost full. Tiny Dancer followed by Andrea Boccelli and the Rolling Stones; I’m at a political rock concert. Crowd a bit scruffy, angry, passionate. The Donald intros his beautiful family, then takes the stage for an hour. Rhetoric in a million directions, constantly interrupts himself with random thoughts and comments, mostly about the nuances and his grievances about the campaign itself. Uses the word “pussy” for mere shock value; the man is a born entertainer, plays to the basest impulses of the crowd. That’s the scary Trump. The inspirational Trump has great ideas and some gutsy convictions. Which one will we get if we elect him?

Tomorrow we begin to find out.

Dispatches from NH Primary

Sunday report, Feb 7

The Lisa Wexler Show takes it on the road, accompanied by producer Danielle Costa and board op James Forte

Sunday Notes:

Rubio

Crowds build at MCkelvie Intermediate School, Bedford NH to wait for Rubio. Word is 1100 people showed to Nashua for pancake breakfast early this AM. Rubio joked about last night’s weak performance at debate.

Packed crowd in Bedford, tons of press. People here to observe, not all committed to him, but many are. Rubio says his message is for people living paycheck to paycheck. Talks about student loans , parental values, strong families, undoing damage of Obama. Says we have a selfish generation of leadership and we all may have to retire at 68.

Rubio says Obama divides the country , but he won’t. He will be the president
of people who disagree with him. Memorable line: “I have a debt to America. I will never be able to repay”

Crowd listening but not roaring. Sounds like another stump speech but performed well. Rubio looks young, fit, energetic.

When asked about Supreme Court ,Rubio says he wants more judges like Thomas and Scalia. Crowd goes for that answer.

Kasich

Onward to smaller but still sizable crowd for John Kasich at Nashua Comm College. Kasich is friendly and approachable enough to take a picture with me as he enters. Patient, too.

The governor opens with stories of addiction, cancer , personal stories of pain and hope.
Hundreds of volunteers from Ohio arrived in the state to support him. I’ve spoken with at least 6, each of whom came because they think he is doing a great job in Ohio. All are men.
Memorable line :”We have to slow down because we have so many people around us who are so lonely and they live right next to us. Can’t we slow down and listen ? ”

Kasich takes questions from the crowd. On abortion, he says the only exceptions he believes in are rape, incest and the life of the mother. He turns around the answer to stress his support of pay equality and child care for working moms. Throws in that this issue is not a litmus test for him in choosing judges.

Against the wall stand Mike Barnicle and John Heillman. I take a picture .

As I leave, my reflection is that John
Kasich reminds me of Henry Fonda in Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man”. He would be a fine president, but he probably won’t make it .

Bill Clinton

By 3, we are at Milford MS, waiting for Bill Clinton . No chairs for anyone except a few of us lucky press. Feet and back starting to ache after standing all day- this kind of thing requires a special kind of stamina. Or flats . I end up sitting on the floor with my back against the wall. Apparently I started a trend.

Sizable crowd , guessing around 150. Music notable for anthems of powerful women. “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson seems an apt fit.

Chris Matthews in the room, leaning against the wall.

Bill Clinton enters. He is gaunt, pale, white- haired and hoarse. But he’s still got it. When he starts speaking, you can hear a pin drop.
Memorable line: “When I got elected it worked out pretty well for you , didn’t it?

“When you realize you have more yesterdays than tomorrows you want for other people to live their dreams.”

Pres. Clinton talking about bringing down cost of health care, refinancing student loans, lots of platitudes.
Defends Muslims in America.
Defends gay rights.
Says next president will have 1-3 seats to place on the Supreme Court. Says Hillary wants to reverse Citizen United case, and will go to a constitutional amendment to reverse it.

Cleverly takes on Bernie Sanders without ever mentioning his name. Not once-, I was paying close attention. Bill goes after Bernie re looting info from DNC. Says Bernie drove the car away after the DNC left the keys in it ..
Bill says Hillary believes in going after bad actors in the system, not in changing the system . As opposed to the opponent, who is unrealistic.

Memorable line: “The New Hampshire I knew would not have voted for me if I had done what the opponent did. ”

Closing theme: “Hillary always makes something good happen”.

After an hour, in which I admit to closing mr eyes here and there, we take ourselves to the Radisson to partake in a group media Super Bowl party.

Hoping snow will not get in the way for tomorrow’s festivities. Broadcast starts 4pm.

Fast List of Government Spying on You

Your federal government has been really busy lately prying into your affairs. Consider the following:

1. Monday’s revelation that AT & T has gotten paid to permit DEA agents to routinely access EVERY call that passes through an AT &T switch !!!

2. Thousands of untrained Obamacare workers to have access to your IRS info.

3. New HUD regulations that empower data collection by race per zip code and give themselves the right to “remedy” neighborhoods by attacking zoning.

4. Daily new reports of more invasive collection by NSA.

5. DEA admits it sets up drug busts by wiretapping citizens without a warrant first.

Confirming what we knew all along, the Patriot Act provides perfect cover to allow all law enforcement to pry into our personal records and data without probable cause or suspicion of particular criminal activity. Terrorism, which was the original excuse for changing our Constitution without going to the trouble of amending it, is just the ruse, the topical excuse for the government’s warrantless invasion of our personal lives.

What can we do about it? Actually, it’s not that hard. Here would be my quick fixes:

1.Immediate repeal of the Patriot Act. Time to start over.

2. Congressional hearings on all of these issues  to curtail the misuse of executive power of the President.

3. Repeal those HUD regulations which are designed to cure a “problem” that is really a political agenda.

4. Fire the head of the DEA immediately.

5. Prosecute all those who decided to pay AT &T to wiretap our phones.

Watch what happens in a democracy. Sometimes we are slow to wake, but eventually we look up and take notice. President Obama is on the defensive on Syria because he acted like a dictator instead of a former Constitutional law professor. The Press is finally starting to question all of these secret government surveillance programs. Polls are showing the tide is turning- the public is starting to realize that Ed Snowden is a patriot, not a traitor.

Tonight I will be in shul for the beginning of the Jewish new year, which is a time of personal reflection and repentance. These trends seem overwhelming, as if beyond the ability of individual people to change their direction. But we need to remember that there are people behind all of these decisions, individual people who grabbed power, turned on the spigot, and never shut it off. They have been manipulating our fears of another terrorist attack ever since September 11, 2001. We have been too complacent and too fearful ourselves of being called unpatriotic.

Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan became democracies against all odds. Surely we Americans can reclaim our Constitutional heritage.
But we have to get moving. Time to stop merely exercising our biceps, and start moving our vocal cords as well. Time to speak up.

Wishing you a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year.  Much Love, Lisa

Ain’t That a Shame

Ain’t That a Shame

By Lisa Wexler

I’d like to have a dollar for every politician who got caught with his pants down, from Gary Hart to Bill Clinton to Robert Livingston to Wilbur Mills (anyone still remember Fannie Foxx?). For a primer on ego massage as an art form, just look at John Edwards, whose closest confidant publicly tarnished his own reputation to cover up the sins of his boss. In the old days, pols knew that if they got caught, they were done. Public embarrassment would finish their public careers. Shame is a real downer. Today some pundits and pollsters will have you believe that the world has changed- that we have come so far in our morally lenient society that we will now make room for Wiener and Spitzer to take their place as our elected representatives, now that they have formally confessed their sins.  Don’t believe it.  Not only will they not win, each will spectacularly lose.

Remember The Court of Public Opinion, whose measure used to be gauged by editorial writers and is now better calibrated by twitter followers? The Court would tell the egomaniac, “Sorry, fella, you blew it “ (so to speak). No more elections for you. Consultancies, board positions, speaking engagements? Maybe. But public elections? Over. Why? Because we are a curious people, we descendants of Puritans and Pilgrims.  We like to think that our public officials behave with integrity in and out of office. We like to think they keep their promises to those they supposedly hold dearest.  Cavorting with hookers just doesn’t jive, not here in America.

Then came Mark Sanford, the Republican governor forced from grace for cheating with his new soulmate.  (Out with the old soulmate, the one who bore him 4 beautiful kids.)  . In Sanford’s comeback to Congress, he faced tough competition from a Democrat whose brother gave her instant, national name recognition. But districts are gerrymandered for a reason, and nothing could stop a Republican from taking his rightful seat in a South Carolina district. Forced to choose between adultery or abortion, those voters choose adultery every time. And remember Sanford was an unusual case. He actually plans on marrying his mistress. How many adults do you know that have made a better match the second time around? I know plenty. I could see why the voters would cut him some slack.

Emboldened by Sanford’s win, in comes Anthony Wiener, shockingly inserting himself into the New York Mayoral race, after a sex scandal that notably lacked in actual sex. Wiener is a different kind of creep. Wiener is every parent’s nightmare, the guy that stalks your naïve, gullible and curious teenage girl into thinking there is a guy out there who really likes her.  The next thing you know she is sexting her breasts in exchange for his bulging underwear.  How this guy believes any actual voter is going to pull the lever for him is incredible to me.  Wiener, to follow in the footsteps of Koch, GuiIiani and Bloomberg? Preposterous. I simply do not believe any polls that show the public willing to vote for Wiener. If anything, I believe Wiener’s presence will increase the turnout of people who can’t wait to vote against him.

Now Elliott Spitzer is trying to gather enough signatures by Thursday to get on the ballot for New York City Comptroller.  Spitzer is the former New York State governor who was forced to resign after being exposed as the infamous “Client #9” in a  prostitution ring. The Feds estimate Spitzer spent up to 80 grand on hookers in the last two or three years before he got caught.  Another skinny guy with a different kind of appetite. His wife Silva was not there for this latest announcement, and is reported to be living apart from her husband, contrary to her stalwart presence during the scandal. Yes, even though Spitzer broke the law himself, he believes the public needs him to take on the bad guys. We are supposed to forget that prostitution goes hand in hand with sexual slavery, that thousands of young women are coerced, drugged and forced into lives of misery and degradation, that by his example, Spitzer sent a message that being a prostitute was somehow “okay”. And if Spitzer were to actually win, you know he would turn the Office of the Comptroller into a rival for the Office of the Mayor. Can you just see him now, squeezing the levers of power as he did when he was attorney general, using the threat of a lawsuit to force settlements of millions of dollars from taxpayers who neither admitted nor denied any guilt?  Not to worry, he isn’t going to get the chance.

What is most fascinating about these men is that neither Wiener nor Spitzer has actually rehabilitated himself in any meaningful way during their absence from public office. Wiener spent his time using his wife’s connections to secure work as a highly-paid consultant so that those who hired him could ask his wife for favors later on. Spitzer stayed in the public eye as a television commentator, a narcissistic enterprise that had no public impact whatsoever. Is there any compelling reason to vote for either one of these men? Absolutely not.

We keep hearing about name recognition, as if we voters are so stupid that we can never learn another name on a ballot, as if we will only vote for the guy whose name we recognize. That’s ridiculous.  We can learn Catsimitidis and Thompson, MacDonald, Llota and Quinn, Albanese, Deblasio and Springer. Unlike those people, Wiener and Spitzer got the chance to prove their worth. They failed. Why should we let them try again? We aren’t bereft of able citizens who will serve with decency and integrity. Give those people a chance. Spitzer and Wiener apparently don’t get the old cliche “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. They feel no shame. But when the Syracuse Post- Standard’s editorial board asked Governor Andrew Cuomo what he thought when he first heard of Wiener’s quest to become New York City mayor, Cuomo said “Shame on Us”. He got it right. Second time, shame on us.

A Week To Remember

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Life is such a blur most of the time that we can barely remember what we had for breakfast, much less what we did a whole week ago. But last week was so momentous, so full of stimulation and joy, that I owe it to myself, dear reader, to write it down. If I kept a journal, instead of an on-line open-to-the-police state and hackers everywhere calendar, here is what it would have included:

Monday night: Featured as an author in local library fundraiser, Books & Cooks. Highlight- meeting Stephanie N, frequent listener, apparent fan, mother of 5, who called into the show once to tell me of her son’s suicide. She won a contest to come to the event, and so I got to meet this remarkable woman in person, together with her husband. Saw a picture of their other four children, one more accomplished than the next, posing together marathon-fit before a race. Truly moving.

Lisa and Stephanie at Books 'n Cooks
Lisa and Stephanie at Books ‘n Cooks

Tuesday night: Spoke to UJA Women’s Business/Professional Group of Westchester. Great crowd, fabulous women. Spoke about reinventing yourself, moving from one career to the next. Sold lots of books, met so many great women. And of course, being a Jewish event, the food was fabulous.

Wednesday: Signed a deal to start a brand new, second radio show at WFAS AM, details to be announced soon. Totally in keeping with my brand of Turn Your Brain On.  Beyond thrilled.

Thursday: Talkers Convention in NY, then Jeffrey Modell Foundation Board Meeting. Huge day, wanted to look my best, because that’s all people remember anyway. Up at 4:30 AM, drove into NYC 5:30 AM for Jill’s best hair and make-up team, squoze into my SKWEEZE, and grabbed a cab to Talkers, there by 8:30. Would you believe I can’t find a picture of myself , all dolled up, to show you? So Typical!!!

Talker Highlights:

  1. Glenn Beck on Free Speech, complete with Nazi era props.
  2. Norm Pattiz on Podcast One, his vision of the new way to reach listeners. Dynamic, brilliant guy. I’d like to be on his roster.
  3. Jeff Smulyan, telling us about the new FM button which will be in smartphones by next year. I followed up with Jeff over the weekend, and he actually called me to discuss this. The dilemma for us AM talkers is that we need to get on an FM signal somehow because AMs will not be in smartphones. FM translators, hello?

(Note to self: Had no clue Jeff Smulyan is truly a legend for sports talk people, the founder of the FAN. First time in my whole radio career my own husband was impressed- “Jeff Smulyan? Jeff Smulyan emailed YOU? Lisa, you’ve made it!”.)

  1. As a Panel Participant at Talkers. Interrupted ongoing debate to say “Can I be a caller?”- You had to be there. Great time, loved every second.
  2. Phil Boyce warning Tom Cuddy not to mess with WOR programming too much. If you were really listening, that was the most telling exchange of the day.

Then attended Board Meeting of Jeffrey Modell Foundation, led by Vicki and Fred Modell, two of the greatest people who walk the planet. What a privilege to know them.

Then on to Smith & Wollensky for a dinner at which my friends Ellen Ratner, Blanquita Cullum, Martha Zoller and others attended. Hosted by a Texas fracker. Oh my. Fun in the big city.

Finally back to Jill’s apartment, where I saw Ally and Jonathan. Did I forget to mention the date was June 6th? Exactly 26 years ago, I became a Mommy that day. Happy birthday, Jon.

Friday, June 7th: Exhausted yet? No way! Big day at the UN! Thanks to Michael Harrison and Ellen Ratner, I interviewed Sir Mark Lyall Grant, UK/UN Ambassador, many others, including the Under-Secretary General for Human Population Growth, Prof. Jeff Sachs, the woman who directs the Measles campaign worldwide, many others. A thrill.  Then back to Westchester, to WFAS, to broadcast the show.

Quelle week. Thank you to everyone who made it possible. Thank you God for giving me the strength and health to enjoy it. I feel like saying a Shehecheyanu …Don’t know what I’m talking about? Look it up.

Now, onward to fight the good fights. I feel another op-ed coming on….

A Funny Thing Happened Last Night On the Air….

Last night my good friend Mark Simone emailed me during the show. I always check my emails during commercials. God forbid I should miss an incoming message, even while doing a live broadcast!  Mark is a fabulous DJ for WOR in NY (710 AM), from 10 AM – Noon weekdays. Not only a great DJ, but a mensch.  You have to catch his show. Anyway, Mark emails me that my all-time favorite music jock, the incomparable and irreplaceable Jonathan Schwartz, is with him and the two of them are listening to my show. Better yet, Jonathan Schwartz, THE Jonathan Schwartz, says I’m “very good”.

In case you’ve never heard of Jonathan, he has introduced millions of us to the “Great American Songbook” and its singers, everyone from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to Tierney Sutton and Diana Krawl. I’ve spent almost every Saturday and Sunday listening to Jonathan Schwartz on the radio. Jonathan is a tastemaker, a critic and a teacher.  I’m not a gusher, but even my kids know that when Jonathan is on the radio, they need to hush up and pay attention. My idol is speaking.

So I’m on the air, and I’m hearing that Jonathan is hearing me as I’m doing my broadcast. And I have no presence of mind whatsoever. What I SHOULD have done was give a shoutout to Mark Simone and Jonathan Schwartz. “Hey guys, thanks for listening, how about calling in?” What did I do instead? You guessed it. Not a single thing. Welcome to the land of woulda coulda shoulda. I know it well.

Jonathan, if you see this blog, I’m reminded of the lyric-

Hear my voice where you are
Take a train, steal a car
Hop a freight, grab a star, come back to me”

You know the song. Please- Come Back To Me. And please, come on the show! I’ve read your memoir, “All in Good Time”. We can talk about that. We can talk about Richard Rodgers. We can talk about the unthinkable- who will take over to teach the next generation when you no longer wish to do it? Or we can talk about who is great right now, who are the next interpreters of the Great American Songbook that are out there right now and deserve our support.  I don’t care what we talk about, as long as we talk. Please find me, your good friend Mark Simone knows how.

I really do love what I do. Pinch me.