Lani Hay is well-known on the D.C. party circuit, hosting the Thursday night party during White House Correspondents' Dinner weekend each year. But she's also a successful defense contractor who has political ambitions -- ones which are outlined in the January issue of Elle Magazine, in an article entitled "How to Succeed in Politics by Really, Really Trying." The profile paints Hay as being both severely girly -- she owns a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted toilet, has a stripper pole in her basement and enjoys the company of small dogs -- and incredibly gutsy, in that she aspires to be governor of Virginia, vice president, the Democratic National Convention's keynote speaker and then president all by, say, 2024.
But is she more style than substance? The most damaging part of the piece, which alludes to it being the former, is when Elle's Laurie Abraham reveals that Hay isn't exactly up to speed in the policy department. After asking Hay questions about taxes and health care, Abraham writes, "by the time I pull into Hay's driveway, I think I know how Katie Couric felt when Sarah Palin explained how Alaska's proximity to Russia gave her foreign-policy cred: flabbergasted and kind of mean. I wasn't trying to play gotcha." But then a recent president comes to mind. "How conversant was George W. Bush in the issues of the day in his midthirties?" Abraham ponders.