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Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

USA | När Republican Party skall utse sin presidentkandidat brukar kandidaterna tävla om vem som kan låta mest höger. Allt för att tilltala partiets kärnväljare.

The New York Times Magazine - March 22 2015 - Ben Carson

Problemet för vinnande kandidat är att han eller hon sedan måste försöka vinna väljare som inte är lika konservativa som gräsrötterna.

Detta skapar lätt bilden av att republikanerna är både principlösa och opålitliga. De blir en utmärkt måltavla för den demokratiska motståndaren under presidentvalskampanjen.

Detta var vad som hände John McCain och Mitt Romney när de stod mot Barack Obama. För att undvika att detta upprepas har partiet antagit nya tuffare regler för att styra upp nomineringsprocessen.

Frågan är bar om det kommer att fungera. Om målet var att försöka avstyra att alltför nyliberala eller konservativa kandidater skulle tycka det var mödan värt att ställa upp har man redan misslyckats.

Jeb Bush – en av partietablissemangets favoriter – har därför redan meddelat att han inte tänker låta sig luras in i samma fälla som föregångarna.

Hans strategi går ut på att inte spela på den planhalva som bara kan öppna upp för attacker från Hillary Clinton och kompani om han skulle bli nominerad.

Bush är inriktad på att det blir en lång och tuff valkampanj innan partiet utsett sin presidentkandidat.

Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times Magazine, har skrivit om partiets dilemma inför presidentvalet.

The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.

[…]

At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight.

They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.

At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)

[…]

“We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”

All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 22 mars 2015.

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USA | Allt fler talar numera om senator Rand Paul som republikanernas blivande presidentkandidat. Detta säger en del om partiets problem.

The New York Times Magazine August 10 2014

Det har skrivits mycket om senatorn från Kentucky på senare tid. The New York Times Magazine och Time har haft honom på omslaget. The New Yorker har publicerat en längre essay. Time kallade honom t.o.m. för ”The most interesting man in american politics”.

Robert Drapers artikel i The New York Times Magazine fokuserar på de förändringar som republikanska partiet står inför om man vill kunna attrahera fler väljare.

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: “Unlike with previous generations, we’re seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It’s possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don’t have the numbers otherwise.” A G.O.P. more flexible on social issues might also appeal to another traditionally Democratic group with a libertarian tilt: the high-tech communities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, whose mounting disdain for taxes, regulations and unions has become increasingly dissonant with their voting habits.

Hence the excitement about Rand Paul. It’s hardly surprising that Paul, in Ekins’s recent survey of millennial voters, came out ahead of all other potential Republican presidential candidates; on issues including same-sex marriage, surveillance and military intervention, his positions more closely mirror those of young voters than those of the G.O.P. establishment. Paul’s famous 13-hour filibuster last year, while ultimately failing to thwart the confirmation of the C.I.A. director John Brennan, lit afire the Twittersphere and compelled Republican leaders, who previously dismissed Paul as a fringe character, to add their own #StandWithRand endorsements. Paul has also gone to considerable lengths to court non-Republican audiences, like Berkeley students and the National Urban League. In a presidential field that could include Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, Paul — who has called himself “libertarian-ish” — is by far the candidate most associated with the movement.

Pauls önskan om att bli mer relevant i amerikansk politik har inneburit att han har varit tvungen att kompromissa och modifiera sitt politiska budskap för att kunna tilltala fler inom och utanför sitt parti.

Time Oct 27-2014

Det är talande är att Michael Scherers artikel i Time har rubriken ”The Reinventions Of Rand”.

It is a measure of his caution that his positions now take several sentences to explain. He will not say whether he supports bombing Iran if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, but also supports sanctions policies to try to prevent that from ever happening. He is against marijuana legalization even as he fights to end prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He opposed limits on campaign donations but supports a plan to bar federal contractors from donating to politics. He opposes gay marriage but also opposes a constitutional amendment to define marriage, saying that states and Congress should pursue an extensive strategy of decoupling all government benefits from marriage so a ban might pass court scrutiny.

Paul uppfattas, både politiskt och ideologiskt, fortfarande stå i skuggan av sin fars politiska karriär. Kongressledamoten Ron Paul var under många år den tydligaste förespråkaren för de libertarianska idéerna inom det republikanska partiet.

Vid ett tillfälle bröt Ron Paul t.o.m. med partiet när han ansåg partiet hade blivit alltför konservativt. Inför valet 1988 nominerade Libertarian Party honom som sin presidentkandidat.

Ideologiskt har Rand Paul därför, precis som vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan under förra presidentvalet, försökt distansera sig från en lång rad nyliberala idéer.

Även om detta rent teoretiskt ökar sannolikheten för att han skall lyckas bli nominerad öppnar det samtidigt upp för attacker från politiska motståndare. Det är bara att fråga Mitt Romney.

När han nu försöker bättra på sin politiska image riskerar han slå knut på sig själv. Romneys motsägelsefulla försök att distansera sig från sin tid som guvernör i delstaten Massachusetts förföljde honom under hela presidentvalskampanjen.

Samma månad som Scherers artikel publicerades i Time publicerade The New Yorker Ryan Lizzas betydligt längre essay “The Revenge of Rand Paul”.

In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul.

[…]

Yet, also like Obama at a similar stage in his career, Paul could be hobbled by past associations and statements, especially on race and foreign policy. He has questioned government attempts, including a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to address discrimination in the private sector. He has proposed dramatically slashing the Pentagon’s budget and cancelling all foreign aid. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988 and as an isolationist Republican in the Presidential primaries of 2008 and 2012. Rand has followed his lead in opposing most U.S. military interventions of the past few decades, aside from the war in Afghanistan.

Many members of the Republican establishment see him as a dorm-room ideologue whose politics are indistinguishable from his father’s. Earlier this year, Mark Salter, who helped run John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, wrote that Rand’s “foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.”

[…]

As with so many aspects of his personal history, Paul approaches the subject of his intellectual influences as though he were defusing a bomb. In his book, he wrote about several libertarian writers he had turned to since high school: Ayn Rand (“one of the most influential critics of government intervention and champions of individual free will”), Hayek (“ ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a must-read for any serious conservative”), and the Mises disciple Murray Rothbard (“a great influence on my thinking”). In my conversation with him, he shrugged them off.

Ayn Rand was just “one of many authors I like,” he said. “And it’s, like, ‘Oh, because I believe in Ayn Rand I must be an atheist, I must believe in everybody needs to be selfish all the time, and I must believe that Howard Roark is great and Ellsworth Toohey is evil,’ but she’s one of many authors I’ve read. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too.”

Hayek? “I wouldn’t say I’m like some great Hayek scholar.”

Rothbard? “There are many people I’m sure who are more schooled.”

[…]

Rand Paul has spent the past few months often clumsily trying to convince voters that his foreign policy differs from his father’s. Rand is perhaps best known, thus far, for his nearly thirteen-hour filibuster last year to protest the Administration’s use of drones—a tactic that further convinced Republican hawks that he doesn’t share their assessment of the risks posed by terrorism. Over the summer, Paul was under constant attack from rivals, such as Governor Rick Perry, of Texas, who described him as “curiously blind” to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. As with the criticisms of his past statements on civil rights, Paul felt that he was the victim of a smear campaign. “Unfair criticism from people who have partisan goals,” he told me.

Kritiken kommer knappast mildras framöver. Ju närmare valrörelsen vi kommer ju mer kommer hans idéer att granskas.

Och skulle han vinna partiets nominering väntar demokraternas attacker. Är det något man kan vara säker på så är det att demokraternas kampanjstrateger har en tjock dossier märkt ”Rand Paul – flip-flopper”.

Läs mer: Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington” av David Corn i Mother Jones är ett bra exempel på vad demokraterna (och republikanska motståndare) kan komma att fokusera på.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 10 augusti 2014 och Time, 27 oktober 2014.

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USA | Inget är vad det ser ut att vara i amerikansk politik. Senast minimilönen ökade i USA var t.ex. under George W. Bush. Alltså inte under Barack Obama!

republikaner & demokrater

John R. MacArthur, utgivare av tidskriften Harper’s Magazine och författare till You Can’t Be President, skriver i The Spectator om de paradoxer och likheter som finns mellan demokraterna och republikanerna när man väl skalat bort den politisk retoriken.

In 2008, there was virtually no difference in the positions of Obama, promoted by the Chicago Democratic machine, and Hillary Clinton, supported by her husband’s staff machine. Obama could cite his one speech opposing the Iraq invasion. But the Obama-Clinton duel was little more than an intra-party factional fight fueled by human ambition. Obama’s votes in the U.S. Senate were identical to Mrs. Clinton’s in support of continued funding of Bush’s military folly. Both parties agree on the value of outsourcing jobs to Mexico and China – that is, the value of receiving in return big contributions from corporations, law firms and banks that benefitting from ‘free trade’. Similarly, both Obama and Clinton pretended to criticize the North American Free Trade Agreement during the Ohio primary six years ago, and today they both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which if approved is guaranteed to close more factories in the Rust Belt. In order to understand American politics, it is essential to know that NAFTA was launched by President George H.W. Bush and rammed through Congress by President William Jefferson Clinton.

With manufacturing jobs leaving the country for cheap-labor locales and the economy still sluggish, it would make sense to raise the federal minimum wage. But Obama’s current rhetoric on the subject is merely hot air. When he had big majorities in both houses of Congress, he did almost nothing to help ordinary workers, but much to reward Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, his top corporate contributor in 2008. The last time the minimum wage was increased was during the administration of that notorious leftist George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Obama, Jeb Bush and Clinton go on about ‘immigration reform’, but not one of them will ever cross the restaurant and farm lobbies that love illegal Mexican labor, since it can’t unionise, can’t complain about working conditions, and is happy to toil for $ 3 an hour.

Then there’s ‘Socialist’ Obamacare, which is merely a bigger version of Republican Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. Whatever its bureaucratic failings, Obamacare is marvelously efficient – from the standpoint of Democratic party functionaries – at transfer taxpayers’ money to private insurance companies (in the form of government-subsidised policies) That are happy to return the favour with donations to Democrats.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that the rigid, top-down political control of the electoral process coincides with the Commerce Department’s report that last year corporate profits, as a proportion of GDP, reached a record high – the highest since 1929 – while the employee compensation fell to its lowest level, as a percentage of GDP, since in 1948.

Det är knappast en sund bild av den amerikanska demokratin som MacArthur målar upp.

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STRATEGI | Alla är överrens om att Barack Obama och hans kampanjteam var överlägsna när det gällde att mobilisera väljare via sociala medier.

The New York Times Magazine 23 juni2013

Men även när det gällde TV lyckades man – trots begränsade ekonomiska resurser – tillhandahålla information som gjorde det möjligt för dem att få ut större effekt för sina reklampengar än teamet kring Mitt Romney.

Jim Rutenberg skriver i The New York Times Magazine:

Political marketing has usually lagged behind commercial marketing. Companies that spend billions of dollars a year developing ways to make many more billions of dollars a year tend to have little to learn from presidential campaigns, which are generally start-ups aimed at a one-day sale. But the (re)selling of the president, 2012, was an entirely different matter. The campaign recruited the best young minds in the booming fields of analytics and behavioral science and placed them in a room they called “the cave” for up to 16 hours a day over the course of roughly 16 months. After the election, when the technology wizards finally came out, they had not only helped produce a victory that defied a couple of historical predictors; they also developed a host of highly effective marketing techniques that were either entirely new or had never been tried on such a grand scale.

[…]

Previous campaigns would make decisions about how to direct their television-advertising budgets largely based on hunches and deductions about what channels the voters they wanted to reach were watching. Their choices were informed by the broad viewership ratings of Nielsen and other survey data, which typically led to buying relatively expensive ads during evening-news and prime-time viewing hours. The 2012 campaign took advantage of advanced set-top-box monitoring technology to figure out what shows the voters they wanted to reach were watching and when, resulting in a smarter and cheaper — if potentially more invasive — way to beam commercials into their homes. The system gave Obama a significant advantage over Mitt Romney, according to Democrats and many Republicans (at least those who were not on Romney’s media team).

[…]

To understand how it works, you must first understand the vast technological engine that powered the campaign but remained largely out of view of the public and the press. Messina, the campaign manager, often boasted about how the Obama 2012 effort would be “the most data-driven campaign ever.” But what that truly meant — the extent to which the campaign used the newest tech tools to look into people’s lives and the sheer amount of personal data its vast servers were crunching — remained largely shrouded. The secrecy around the operation was partly because the president’s strategists wanted to maintain their competitive edge. But it was also no doubt because they worried that practices like “data mining” and “analytics” could make voters uncomfortable.

[…]

The concept for the “optimizer,” as it was known in the campaign, was born: a system that could determine with more precision than ever what swing voters were watching in the greatest concentrations and how to get commercials in front of them in the cheapest advertising time slots possible.

[…]

Unlike Facebook, where users were at least giving the campaign explicit permission to collect personal data even if they had not read the fine print, television watchers were making no such agreement.

[…]

The optimizer software would then comb advertising price and viewership data to figure out the top-rated time slots among those on the Obama persuadable list — which could vary from market to market — and then rank them based on which produced the highest concentration of the Obama swing voters at the best rates. The results were striking. The campaign determined that two of the top shows to buy were 1 a.m. repeats of “The Insider” and afternoon episodes of “Judge Joe Brown” — shows that were far cheaper than the evening news or anything being shown on the networks in prime time.

[…]

In the end, an analysis by the Republican ad-buying firm National Media found that Obama paid roughly 35 percent less per broadcast commercial than Romney did. Kantar Media CMAG, an ad-monitoring firm, showed that Obama and his supporting super PAC got nearly 40,000 more spots on the air than Romney and his super PACs did despite spending roughly $90 million less.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 23 juni 2013

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Pew Research Center sammanfattar presidentvalet i fem punkter:

1. Journalisterna spelade en mindre betydelsefull roll 2012 för hur väljarna uppfattade Barack Obama och Mitt Romney.

2. Båda presidentkandidaterna var framgångsrika när det gällde att forma en negativ bild av motståndaren.

3. Det var mindre bevakning av opinionsundersökningar, frågor om strategi och vem som ser ut att vinna valet än det var inför valet 2008. Men det var också mindre bevakning av sakfrågorna 2012 jämfört med 2008.

4. Team Obama var överlägsna när det gällde att använda sociala medier i valrörelsen. Men dialogen om kandidaterna på de sociala medierna var till övervägande delen också negativ.

5. Trots att det spenderades mer pengar än någonsin i valrörelsen lockade detta inte en större publik till de politiska nyheterna.

Information: ”Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy fact tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic studies, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. It does not take positions on policy issues.”

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USA | Förväntningarna är stora att Barack Obama skall leverera efter sin övertygande valseger. Frågan är bara vad det är han skall leverera.  

Harper's Magazine januari 2013

Vare sig Obama eller Mitt Romney utmärkte sig inte för att vara överdrivet tydliga med vad man tänkte göra vid en eventuell valseger. Alla har därför sin egen bild av vad Obama verkligen lovade.

Det var först under de sista veckorna som Team Obama kände att det var nödvändigt att släppa något som kunde uppfattas som vallöften – “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security”.

Men även detta dokument innehöll mer av vaga löften än specifika åtgärder.

Det är inte ovanligt att kombattanterna i en valrörelse inte vill öppna upp sig för attacker genom att vara allt för tydliga.

Det är alltid lättare att försvara visioner än tydliga vallöften. Vallöften drabbar nämligen alltid någon väljargrupp negativt. Och vem vill göra väljare upprörda?

Thomas Frank, contributing editorHarper’s Magazine, tycker sig ana att Obamas väljare kommer att bli besvikna.

As it happens, there is another Obama campaign document that tells us far more about his second-term intentions. I am referring to the now-legendary interview the president gave to the Des Moines Register two weeks before Election Day. At first, Obama campaign officials had insisted that the interview be off-the-record, and only later did they agree to its publication. The president, perhaps assuming that his remarks would remain private, was unusually candid — and what he promised was anything but four years of nationalized banks and sharia law.

Perhaps it will surprise you to learn that his real policy ambition was the same as always: to achieve the Grand Bargain. Which is to say, a fiscal deal between the parties that would enact the centrist dream agenda all at once by cutting spending, increasing tax revenue, and (in at least one version of it) “reforming” entitlements.

[…]

Another term for the Grand Bargain might be “austerity” — the punitive economic reflex that has driven much of Europe into deep recession. Austerity proceeds from the reasonable-sounding premise that government must cut back spending during hard times, just as everyone else does. However, this practice actually serves to worsen slumps and recessions rather than cure them. That in turn reduces tax revenues, thereby pumping up deficits and making the need for further austerity seem even more urgent. Such a bargain might be grand, but it might also be stupid and self-destructive. Why does the president crave it so?

When the Obama Administration was young and orthodoxy was on the ropes, the president was a dogged foe of austerity: he secured the passage of a large stimulus package, which ballooned the federal deficit even as it cushioned the blow of the recession. And he didn’t wait to enact some sweeping Treaty of Dupont Circle, either. He passed the stimulus over the noisy and nearly unanimous objections of the Republicans and simultaneously flew in the face of the city’s traditional predilections.

 […]

Barack Obama’s Democrats just won a resounding triumph in what was advertised as the great ideological face-off of our times. What we the people chose, according to this viewpoint, was social insurance, universal health care, a strong regulatory state. What this town urges on President Obama, unfortunately, is something quite different: an imaginary armistice between the two parties, purchased at the cost of the very things his supporters think they just voted for. It is a recipe for greatness credible to the soi-disant “informed,” maybe. But to nearly everyone else, it rings with the hollow and obsolete magical thinking of Washington, D.C.

Bild: Både artikeln och tidskriftsomslaget är från Harper’s Magazine, januari 2013.

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IMAGE | Republican Party är idag synonymt med världsfrånvändhet. Frågan är om man ens hinner återhämta sig till nästa presidentvalskampanj.  

The New York Times Magazine den 17 februari 2013

Det har blivit allt tydligare att Team Obama hade ett enormt teknologiskt försprång kring bl.a. sociala medier under valrörelsen. Och detta berodde inte bara på att Mitt Romney kom igång sent med sin valrörelse. 

Snarare handlade det om att partiet aldrig riktigt förstått betydelsen av att föjla med i den teknologiska utvecklingen.  

Barack Obama var dessutom inte sen att hjälpa till att sätta bilden av Mitt Romney som en person vars värderingar fastnat i 1950-talet.

Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine, beskriver i en artikel två fokusgrupper som försökt utröna hur amerikanarna idag uppfattar republikanerna.

Den som genomförde fokusgrupperna var Kristen Soltis Anderson. Hon är vicepresident i Winston Group och är en av många yngre republikaner som har försökt få partiet att inse att man måste moderniseras om man vill kunna överleva.

One afternoon last month, I flew with Anderson to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her conduct two focus groups. The first consisted of 10 single, middle-class women in their 20s; the second, of 10 20-something men who were either jobless or employed but seeking better work. All of them voted for Obama but did not identify themselves as committed Democrats and were sufficiently ambivalent about the president’s performance that Anderson deemed them within reach of the Republicans. Each group sat around a large conference table with the pollster, while I viewed the proceedings from behind a panel of one-way glass.

The all-female focus group began with a sobering assessment of the Obama economy. All of the women spoke gloomily about the prospect of paying off student loans, about what they believed to be Social Security’s likely insolvency and about their children’s schooling. A few of them bitterly opined that the Democrats care little about the working class but lavish the poor with federal aid. “You get more off welfare than you would at a minimum-wage job,” observed one of them. Another added, “And if you have a kid, you’re set up for life!”

About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said. The first word she wrote was “Democrat.”

“Young people,” one woman called out.

“Liberal,” another said. Followed by: “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.” “Change.” “Open-minded.” “Spending.” “Handouts.” “Green.” “More science-based.”

When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”

Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”

A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”

“What would be the sign to you that the Republican Party is moving in the right direction?” Anderson asked them.

“Maybe actually pass something?” suggested a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Courtney, who also identified herself as conservative.

The session with the young men was equally jarring. None of them expressed great enthusiasm for Obama. But their depiction of Republicans was even more lacerating than the women’s had been. “Racist,” “out of touch” and “hateful” made the list — “and put ‘1950s’ on there too!” one called out.

Showing a reverence for understatement, Anderson said: “A lot of those words you used to describe Republicans are negative. What could they say or do to make you feel more positive about the Republican Party?”

“Be more pro-science,” said a 22-year-old moderate named Jack. “Embrace technology and change.”

“Stick to your strong suit,” advised Nick, a 23-year-old African-American. “Clearly social issues aren’t your strong suit. Stop trying to fight the battle that’s already been fought and trying to bring back a movement. Get over it — you lost.”

Later that evening at a hotel bar, Anderson pored over her notes. She seemed morbidly entranced, like a homicide detective gazing into a pool of freshly spilled blood. In the previous few days, the pollster interviewed Latino voters in San Diego and young entrepreneurs in Orlando. The findings were virtually unanimous. No one could understand the G.O.P.’s hot-blooded opposition to gay marriage or its perceived affinity for invading foreign countries. Every group believed that the first place to cut spending was the defense budget. During the whiteboard drill, every focus group described Democrats as “open-minded” and Republicans as “rigid.”

“There is a brand,” the 28-year-old pollster concluded of her party with clinical finality. “And it’s that we’re not in the 21st century.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 17 februari 2013.

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INTERVJU | Michael Bloomberg, New Yorks borgmästare, är en av dessa politiker som lyckas vara både kontroversiell och populär på samma gång.

The Atlantic, november 2012

I en intervju med James Bennet, editor in chiefThe Atlantic, delar han med sig om sina tankar kring bl.a. politiskt ledarskap, förtroendeundersökningar och politikers öppenhet gentemot media.

Mycket av detta handlar om att våga tänka själv och våga leda. Här finns en hel del även svanska politiker borde kunna ta till sig.

[W]hat leaders should do is make decisions as to what they think is in the public interest based on the best advice that they can get, and then try and build a constituency and bring it along.

The public, I believe — and I’ve always thought this — is much more likely to follow if the public believes that you are genuine. I’ve said this before, and yesterday in this economics speech, I gave a kiss to George W. Bush. But that’s true. George W. Bush, who I don’t agree with on a lot of things — I think he got elected and reelected because the public thought he was genuine. They think his father was genuine. Jeb — I know [him] very well; he’s on the board of my foundation — he is genuine, they believe.

And Al Gore and John Kerry tried to be on both sides of every issue. ”I voted for the war, but not to fund it.” And that’s Mitt Romney’s problem, I think. He walked away from everything he did. He actually was a pretty good governor of Massachusetts, where I come from. I think that’s a losing strategy, to not have values. I think the public wants you to have them and will respect you for them. They may carp a little bit, but in the end, that’s the kind of person they want. They want somebody who has real conviction.

[…]

I said one time that if I finish my term in office — at that time, we were talking about eight years, or four years — and have high approval ratings, then I wasted my last years in office. That high approval rating means you don’t upset anybody. High approval rating means you’re skiing down the slope and you never fall. Well, you’re skiing the baby slope, for goodness’ sakes. Go to a steeper slope. You always want to press, and you want to tackle the issues that are unpopular, that nobody else will go after.

[…]

The president — how often does he talk to the press? His press secretary talks to the press every day, okay. But I happen to think the public should demand he should. I think he should; I think that’s his job. But regardless, it is in an election year, just before the election, maybe I cut you a break. Where I don’t cut you a break is the day after the election. I believe you do the tough stuff first. Why? Number one, you have an obligation to those who voted for you, to do what you promised. Number two, if you believe they’re the right things, you need some time to let them work out, adjust them, explain them, maybe cancel and change them — or whatever — before the next election.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Atlantic, november 2012. Intervjun fanns med i samma nummer. En längre variant finns på nätet.

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ANALYS | Barack Obama vann övertygande över sin republikanske utmanare Mitt Romney med 332 elektorsröster mot 206.

Bild-President Obama och First Lady Michelle Obama

Dessutom är det bara Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower och Ronald Reagan som också lyckats vinna mer än 50 procent av det totala röstetalet två gånger i rad.

I en insiktsfull intervju med Tim Dickinson på Rolling Stone beskriver James Carville, politisk strateg och arkitekten bakom Bill Clintons valseger 1992, hur Obama lyckades och varför Romney misslyckades.

Remember, for Obama, there was a great strategic dilemma as to whether to present Romney as a flip-flopper or as someone who is for the rich guy. You had to pick one, and they picked ”for the rich guy.” If you’re going to be successful in politics, you have to pick one. One of the great statements of the Kerry campaign was when they said, ”We have a nuanced and layered message.” It can’t be nuanced and layered and be a message – it just can’t.

The best thing Romney did was flip-flop in the first debate. If you flop to where people are, then they like you. Let’s say that somebody runs against gay marriage all their life, and you’re for gay marriage, and then they come out for it. You don’t say, ”I don’t trust him, he flipped his position.” You say, ”I like that, he changed his mind.” In the research – and I know this because we did a lot of it – if you’d say that Romney was for all these crazy right-wing things, people would say, ”He’s more moderate than that, he doesn’t believe that.” They liked the fact that they couldn’t trust him.

That’s why the Obama campaign decided to focus on his history at Bain.

Yeah. At the end, the message of the Bain stuff was: When he has to choose between you and his friends, he’s going to choose his friends. I think that stuck with him pretty good.

[…]

How did the Republicans get so outclassed in terms of technology? In 2004, Rove dominated on that front.

The most amazing story of the whole election was how personally shellshocked Romney was that he lost. They completely thought he was going to win. How can a man with a reputation of being data-driven, who does spreadsheets better than anybody in the world, be shocked that he lost? I can’t wait to read the book as to what happened to Romney. It’s stunning.

Part of it is how inefficiently they spent all the money they had. Conservatives have a point here: You give somebody too many resources, and they don’t allocate them very well. The top people in the Romney campaign were paid $134 million in this election. The top consultants in the Obama campaign were paid $6 million. Democrats just spent their money smarter, better and with less nepotism or favoritism. It’s stunning that a community organizer would be so much more efficient than a head of one of the largest private equity funds. As the rabbis have been saying for 5,000 years, ”Go figure.”

Bild: Obamakampanjen lade ut fotot på presidenten och Michelle Obama på Facebook och Twitter efter segern.

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KAMPANJ | ”Stage” var den mest effektiva tv-reklamen under valrörelsen 2012. Detta enligt Ace Metrix, ett företag som analyserar reklam i tv.

Shorr, Johnson, Magnus producerade videon för Priorities USA, en pro-Obama Super PAC.

När Mitt Romney valde att inte besvara attacken gjorde man ett av sina stora strategiska misstag under valkampanjen.

Jane Mayer skriver i The New Yorker:

”I’m a big Frank Capra fan,” Saul Shorr, one of S.J.M.’s partners, said […]. “And in this campaign Romney was the Edward Arnold character, the wealthy authority figure in several of Capra’s films, like ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ and ‘Meet John Doe,’ who’s not looking out for the little guy.”

[…]

When ”Stage” first aired in Ohio and other battleground states, in June, ABC News called it ”the Brain ad that Romney should fear most.” And, on Election Night, Sarah Palin singled out S.J.M.’s ads as among Romney’s biggest problems in Ohio.

[…]

Andrea Johnson, another of the firm’s partners […], described the team’s approach. “We’re really trying to capture the person we work for, so that the ads feel authentic, and we often do that by telling stories,” she said. Because  the firm was working with a small budget compared with its opponents, Adam Magnus, a third partner, said, “we had to maximize our throw weight” and focus on only one theme-Bain Capital. Bill Burton, of Priorities USA, said that poll testing indicated that Romney’s Bain record had the potential to define not just his résumé but his character. Focus-group participants were angered by the idea that private-equity companies like Bain could profit while breaking promises to fund workers’ pensions and health-care plans.

[…]

By midsummer […] internal research showed that, in areas where S.J.M.’s ads aired, Obama had an eleven-point advantage over Romney in “trustworthiness,” compared with a five-point lead in places where the ads had not run. In October, an Ohio focus group showed that “Stage,” which by then hadn’t aired for a month and a half, was one of the few political ads that people remembered. Burton said, “Not answering those attacks was the biggest strategic mistake of the Romney campaign.”

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