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Archive for mars, 2012

William McGuinness, på CBS, skriver:

Perhaps it’s safe to note that Barack Obama has been less popular than “Mad Men” since 2008, the year each took powerful positions in the American psyche.

[…]

Mad Men is often lauded for presenting the conflicts and pitfalls of a rapidly modernizing American society. Undoubtedly, conservative candidates seek to do the same as they position themselves as more fitting “chief execs.”

Övrigt: I morgon startar femte säsongen av Mad Men i Sverige. Här är allt du behöver veta om serien på sju minuter.

Annonser

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USA | Mitt Romney bygger en stor del av sin image på att han som framgångsrik affärsman vet hur man skapar nya jobb.

En ständig fråga i valkampanjen är därför om Romney under sin karriär skapade fler jobb än han rationaliserade bort.

Randy Johnson, som 1995 förlorade jobbet i ett av de företag Romney omstrukturerade, bedriver en kampanj för att underminera Romneys presidentambitioner.

Naturligtvis har demokraterna välkomnat honom med öppna armar. Mer oväntat är att samma kritik har framförts av republikanen Newt Gingrich.

Paul M. Barrett har skrivit i Bloomberg Businessweek om striden. 

Randy Johnson organizes steel workers for a living. Before that he worked in a paper factory where he served as union steward. He has waved picket line placards, bellowed through bullhorns, and taken people out on strike. Along the way, he became Mitt Romney’s worst recurring nightmare.

[…]

 “Let me show you something,” Johnson says, rising to get his “Romney box,” a copier-paper carton he’s kept since 1994.

[…]

The box contains records of a long-ago chapter in the history of Bain Capital, the Boston investment firm Romney led from 1984 to 1999. Back in 1992, Bain acquired a manufacturer called American Pad & Paper, or Ampad. Bain then used Ampad as a vehicle to buy and restructure similar companies. Following standard “roll-up” strategy, Bain closed factories and laid off workers in anticipation of selling off a leaner, more profitable company via an initial public stock offering.

[…]

On and off since 1994, when the former Massachusetts businessman made his first run for public office, seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Johnson has haunted Romney. During the hard-fought Senate race, Johnson led a “truth squad” of Marion workers who drove overnight to Boston to confront Romney. Kennedy’s campaign, recognizing a gift from the political gods, made a series of television commercials starring the unhappy Marion workers. The ads helped Kennedy pull out of a temporary slump and defeat Romney. In 2002, when the Republican ran for governor of Massachusetts, Johnson popped up again to remind voters about Marion. Better prepared, Romney weathered the attack and won the statehouse, vowing to improve the Massachusetts economy based on his business expertise.

Now, as Romney battles to become the Republican Presidential nominee, Johnson is working with the Democratic National Committee to plague the politician yet again. Once an aggrieved line worker avenging what he considered an injustice, he is, many years and several campaigns later, a seasoned operative fluent in the language and tactics of political combat. Democrats, for obvious reasons, seek him out, and he seems happy to be sought. Since late last year, the DNC has shepherded Johnson around the country in a preview of President Barack Obama’s populist-tinged fall campaign. Johnson has visited Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Florida, talking to journalists and schmoozing state Democratic chairmen. In January, when Romney told an audience in Nashua, N.H., that he “enjoy[s] firing people,” Johnson cracked to reporters: “That’s not news to me. Mitt Romney fired me and everyone at the plant.”

[…]

Romney maintains his business career generated employment on an impressive scale. “The jobs created at Bain Capital by companies that we helped start or that we helped manage, those companies today employ well over 100,000 more jobs than those that were lost,” Romney told Bloomberg TV on Jan. 7.

Asked for data to back up that claim, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul points to comments the candidate made in Greer, S.C., on Jan. 12: “There are a number of businesses that we helped start which collectively … added well over 100,000 jobs. Staples (SPLS), Bright Horizons children centers, Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics (STLD). Those four alone added well over 100,000 jobs. And then the press has also reported on businesses that lost employment and that was a few thousand jobs that were lost. In each case, where there was job loss, there was an effort on the part of the management team to try and preserve the business to have a brighter future.” To this, Saul adds: “These experiences give Mr. Romney the unique skills and capabilities to do what President Obama has failed to do: focus on job creation and turn around our nation’s faltering economy.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Bloomberg Businessweek den 27 februari – 4 mars 2012.

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AVGÅNG | Att Sten Tolgfors valde att avgå som försvarsminister var överraskande.

Det fanns inget som tydde på att han inte skulle klara att rida ut stormen kring den s.k. vapenfabriken i Saudiarabien.

Däremot fanns det andra märkligheter kring hans ledarstil som bara låg och väntade på att brisera i media.

I en lång söndagskrönika Dagens Nyheter skrev Peter Wolodarski t.ex. om Riksrevisionens rapport om försvarspolitiken som visade på märkligheter där – till skillnad från Saudiaffären – Sten Tolgfors har varit direkt involverad.

Den process som Sten Tolgfors ansvarat för har kännetecknats av bristande underlag, usel dokumentation och framhastade beslut. Riksrevisionens rapport kastar omkull eventuella föreställningar om rationalitet och öppenhet.

[…]

Riksrevisionen konstaterar att regeringen med sitt sätt att toppstyra försvaret skapat extra kostnader, oklara ansvarsförhållanden och en otydlig bild av vad besluten innebär. Ur ett demokratiskt perspektiv är detta mycket illa.

[…]

Det svårgenomträngliga mönstret går igen både i vanskötseln av försvarets materiel och i samarbetsavtalet med Saudiarabien.

Fram träder bilden av en regering som detaljstyr informellt, utan öppenhet och klara ansvarsförhållanden.

Att Riksrevisionens rapport inte har fått större uppmärksamhet i media är bra märkligt. Att de rödgröna partierna inte har använt sig av innehållet är därför snudd på misskötsel av sitt uppdrag som opposition.

Men så här långt hat Tolgfors lyckats väl med att förklara alla turer kring vapenfabriken på ett någotsånär trovärdigt sätt. Bilden som tonat fram är snarare att försvarsministern inte har fått veta allt som har pågått bakom hans rygg.  

I princip skall en minister alltid veta allt om vad som händer inom det egna fögderiet. I realiteten är en minister sällan bättre än sina tjänstemän. Detta vet väljarna instinktivt.

Någon bristande krishantering har det därför knappast varit tal om. Presskonferensen den 9 mars genomfördes t.ex. på ett skickligt och pedagogiskt sätt.

Och Tolgfors har hela tiden därefter varit bra på svara på journalisternas frågor. Att media sedan inte har varit nöjd med svaren är en annan sak.

Granskningen har inte heller varit värre än vad man har kunnat förvänta sig med tanke på situation. Det har inte varit tal om något mediedrev som skulle kunna tvinna honom att avgå. Regeringen har aldrig varit hotad.

Affären har dessutom varit så pass komplicerad att det aldrig har varit tal om att Tolgfors, Moderaterna eller regeringen skulle riskera att tappa speciellt mycket förtroende i väljarkåren. Åtminstone inte på lång sikt.  

Trots detta väljer han att avgå.

Och för en gångs skull låter standardsvaret om att han avgår för att kunna tillbringa mer tid med familjen trovärdigt. Han verkar helt enkelt inte vilja ägna en stor del av året eller mandatperioden till att vara under journalisternas blåslampa. 

Tiden sätter sina spår, jag kände att jag tappat den energi och glädje som krävs för att göra det här jobbet.” Inte konstigt om han då väljer familjen.

Trotts detta är det inte helt osannolikt att både han och Moderaterna har insett det lämpliga att minimera kostnaderna för regeringen.

Att avgå nu är bättre än att behöva avgå närmare valet. Varje vecka och månad kommer p.g.a. det försämrade opinionsläget kommer att vara av betydelse om regeringen skall kunna vinna nästa val.

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POLITIK | Frågan om president Barack Obamas pålitlighet i utrikespolitiska frågor riskerar att bli en valfråga.

Det är pinsamt för demokraterna och Vita huset att han har avslöjats med att vädja till ett annat lands president om att i princip hålla inne med kritisk till efter presidentvalet i USA.

”This is my last election. After the election I have more flexibility”.

Mitt Romney var inte sen att svara på händelsen via Twitter och många andra har naturligtvis följt efter på #ObamaFlexibility.

Obamas vädjan kan tolkas som att han inte önskar att de amerikanska väljarna skall få information om hans egen planer för att han då riskerar förlora röster.

Det är svårt att tolka hans kommentar som något annat än att hans egna planer för de europeiska missilerna ligger nära ryssarnas. Misstanken finns nu att Obama är beredd att gå Dmitrij Medvedev och Vladimir Putin tillmötes och dra bort missilerna.

För både Barack Obama och demokraternas självbild var det viktigt när han lyckades eliminerade Osama bin Laden. Han framstod då som en stark ledare.

Han undanröjde inte bara en farlig fiende till USA utan också den traditionella kritiken från republikanerna om att demokrater saknar handlingskraft och är opålitliga i utrikespolitiska frågor.

Nu riskerar bilden av Obamas handlingskraft att raseras. Istället kan bilden av en svag ledare som manipulerar de amerikanska väljarna börja framtona.

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KONFLIKT | I en intervju i Esquire ger f.d. presidenten Bill Clinton sin syn på Barack Obama, Mitt Romney och de republikanska presidentkandidaterna.

Charles P. Pierce och Mark Warren intervjuade Clinton. Först Clinton om varför det politiska klimatet har blivit alltmer konfrontativt.

One of the real dilemmas we have in our country and around the world is that what works in politics is organization and conflict. That is, drawing the sharp distinctions. But in real life, what works is networks and cooperation. And we need victories in real life, so we’ve got to get back to networks and cooperation, not just conflict. But politics has always been about conflict, and in the coverage of politics, information dissemination tends to be organized around conflict as well. It is extremely personal now, and you see in these primaries that the more people agree with each other on the issues, the more desperate they are to make the clear distinctions necessary to win, so the deeper the knife goes in.

[…]

ESQUIRE: What forces created such a narrow field of Republican contenders for the presidency in this election cycle?

CLINTON: Well, there are all kinds of reasons why someone like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour or Chris Christie wind up not being candidates. I think governors in general — maybe not some of the new Republican crop that got in trouble quickly, but that generally, the conservative Republican governors tend to be more oriented toward trying to work with Democrats and getting things done. But it’s been building up since the mid-seventies — this rage against the government — and frankly, on at least two occasions they were richly rewarded for the just-say-no thing. They won the Congress in 1994 and 2010 by just being against everything and saying the sky was gonna fall. And since the people didn’t feel better by the time of the election, it worked. One of the reasons people stay with a strategy like that is it works. And then when it seems not to be working, they tend to change.

Of course, public opinion has a lot to do with this. That means people should really take care when they vote, and pay more attention to what people say they’re going to do — instead of just how they feel about how things are going.

With someone like Newt Gingrich, it’s a different kettle of fish. Because as a private citizen he was for certain important health-care reforms and believed in climate change and believed there had to be a strong reaction to it. And now he’s just like Romney. Neither one of them can say what they believe to be true and get nominated. Romney’s still trying to figure out what he did as governor of Massachusetts and still appeal to this driving vituperative energy.

Övrigt: På hemsidan finns en redigerad version av en intervju som gjordes med expresident Clinton den 30 november och 16 december 2011. Hela intervjun var införd i februarinumret (2012) av Esquire. På hemsidan kan man också se gamla tidskriftsomslag från 1933-2011.

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IMAGE | Academy Award-pristagaren Davis Guggenheim har tagit fram en sjutton minuter lång dokumentär åt Barack Obamas återvalskampanj.

Obama vill att filmen ”The Road We’ve Traveled” skall få väljarna att minnas alla tuffa utmaningar han har stått inför under sina första fyra år.

Adam Sorensen, på bloggen Swampland, skriver:

[T]he burden of Obama’s reelection message is not to tell people how good they have it. Americans clearly don’t feel that way, even with an improving job market. His task, if The Road We’ve Traveled is any indication, begins with reminding people how miserable they were in hopes that they look more favorably on how things are now.

Det finns ett ordspråk som säger att man kampanjar med poesi och styr landet med hjälp av prosa. Och skådespelaren Tom Hanks, filmens berättarröst, lyckas mycket riktigt också få slutklämmen att låta smått poetisk:

Time and time again, we would see rewards from tough decisions he had made; not for quick political gain but for long term and enduring change.

So when we remember this moment and consider this President then and now let’s remember how far we’ve come and look forward to the work still to be done.

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RETRO | TV-serien ”Mad Men” går in på femte säsongen. Med anledning av detta har Newsweek gjort ett nummer som kopierar hur tidskriften såg ut på 60-talet.

Eleanor Clift skriver om likheterna mellan den fiktiva reklambyrån Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce och Newsweek på 60-talet när hon började jobba på tidskriften.

Women weren’t supposed to be openly ambitious in the ’60s. When I started at Newsweek as a secretary, I was thrilled to be where what I typed was interesting.

[…]

“Mad Men” gets the gender stratification of the time right, along with the prevalence of smoking, the heavy drinking culture, and a fair amount of sleeping around. That was certainly the case at Newsweek In the ’60s among the married writers and editors and the young single women hired to become researchers, then considered “a really good job for a woman.” Newsweek’s training program recruited women from the finest colleges for a stint first on the mail desk, then the clip desk (cutting articles from newspapers), and finally a coveted spot as a researcher. […] These smart, talented, and ambitious women were primarily fact checkers, but they also did reporting and were expected to provide emotional support when the men were doing their writing, everything from sharpening their pencils to picking up their dry cleaning.

[…]

The reality for most single working women was, of course, much more prosaic. A former Newsweek researcher recalls two of her colleagues being dispatched to a nearby bar to order martinis for the male writers and bring them back in paper cups stashed in their purses. The drink of choice was the martini, which former Newsweek writer Peter Goldman recalls being served in “glasses the size of birdbaths.” The three-martini lunch was real, not just an expression. How could anyone write after consuming so much alcohol? Another former Newsweek writer would say, “The great thing about this job is you can do it drunk.” Goldman recalls returning from the magazine’s traditional Friday-night dinners “lightly buzzed—it was relaxing, like a Valium.”

Don Draper would have felt right at home at Newsweek. While I don’t recall any of the top editors having a bar in his office, a couple of the writers had bottles secreted in their bottom desk drawer. The abundance of young single women would also have been easy prey for Draper, whose prowess with women provides endless plot twists to examine how people lie to each other and themselves.

[…]

Newsweek had been focused on civil rights and the growing antiwar movement, and by the time the male editors got around to the women’s movement, discontent within the magazine had taken hold and legal redress was essential. An affirmative-action plan opened up opportunities that I could never have imagined, and after an internship I was assigned to cover Jimmy Carter’s bid for the White House, which brought me to Washington, where I have been ever since. It’s my Cinderella story, and it’s an era that ”Mad Men” captures in all its dimensions. A lot of positive social change took place, the result of struggles waged by many people whose names don’t make it into the history books. To be part of it in even a small way sure was fun.

Övrigt: Artikeln och tidskriftsomslaget är från dubbelnumret av Newsweek (26 mars och 2 april 2012). Läs Tina Browns ”The Mad Men Issue”. I amerikanska upplagan har även reklamen fått en retrokänsla. Titta också på omslag och än mer reklam från 60-talet.

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