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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

STRATEGI | Mitt Romney såg sin chans att vinna presidentvalet efter att ha besegrat Barack Obama i den första tv-sända val debatten 2012.

New York 11 nov 2013

Teamet som ansvarade för att förbereda president Barack Obama inför de tre inplanerade debatterna började känna oro. Det var en oro de inte var ensamma om.

Även den i vanliga fall så självsäkre Obama började tveka om han klarade av den här typen av framträdanden.

“I just don’t know if I can do this”, var Obamas överraskande kommentar vid ett tillfälle. Det avslöjas i den nyutkomna boken Double Down: Game Change 2012 av John Heilemann och Mark Halperin.

Obama hade haft en konstant ledning i opinionsmättningarna under hela valrörelsen. Men det var också en högst marginell ledning.

Det fanns därför ingen garanti att för att Romney inte skulle ta ledningen och vända valrörelsen till sin egen fördel om presidenten misslyckades även i nästkommande duell.

Även presidenten insåg att något måste göras.

 “These are not debates,” Obama observed to Plouffe. “These are gladiatorial enterprises.”

The first lady worried about her Maximus and his return to the Colosseum. In truth, she had fretted over the debates even before Denver. In July, around the time her husband’s prep started, she met with Plouffe and expressed firm opinions. That Barack had to speak from the gut, in language that regular folks could understand. Had to avoid treating the debates like policy seminars. Had to keep his head out of the clouds.

[…]

The president was presented with a piece of overarching advice and a memo, both of which would have been inconceivable before Denver. The advice was […] “the Six A’s”:

Advocate (don’t explain)
Audience
Animated
Attacks
Answers with principles and values
Allow yourself to take advantage of openings

[…]

Klain turned Obama’s prep regime upside down: new strategy, new tactics, new structure. In Williamsburg, there would be an intense concentration on performance, including speeding up Obama’s ponderous delivery. There would be less policy Q&A and more rehearsal of set pieces and lines that popped. Less emphasis on programmatic peas and spinach, more on anecdote and empathy. Contrary to Clinton’s advice, there would be plenty of punching to go along with the counterpunching.

[…]

“We’re here, Mr. President,” Klain began, “because we need to have a serious conversation about why this isn’t working and the fundamental transformation we need to achieve today to avoid a very bad result tomorrow night.” We’re not going to get there by continuing to grind away and marginally improve, Klain went on. This is not about changing the words in your debate book, because the difference between the answers that work and the answers that don’t work is just 15 or 20 percent. This is about style, engagement, speed, presentation, attitude. Candidly, we need to figure out why you’re not rising to and meeting the challenge—why you’re not really doing this, why you’re doing … something else.

Obama didn’t flinch. “Guys, I’m struggling,” he said somberly. “Last night wasn’t good, and I know that. Here’s why I think I’m having trouble. I’m having a hard time squaring up what I know I need to do, what you guys are telling me I need to do, with where my mind takes me, which is: I’m a lawyer, and I want to argue things out. I want to peel back layers.”

[…]

“When I get a question,” he said, “I go right to the logical.” You ask me a question about health care. There’s a problem, and there’s a response. Here’s what my opponent might say about it, so I’m going to counteract that. Okay, we’re gonna talk about immigration. Here’s what I’d like to say—but I can’t say that. Think about what that means. I know what I want to say, I know where my mind takes me, but I have to tell myself, No, no, don’t do that—do this other thing. It’s against my instincts just to perform. It’s easy for me to slip back into what I know, which is basically to dissect arguments. I think when I talk. It can be halting. I start slow. It’s hard for me to just go into my answer. I’m having to teach my brain to function differently. I’m left-handed; this is like you’re asking me to start writing right-handed.

Throughout the campaign, Obama had been criticized for the thin gruel of his second-term agenda. Now he acknowledged that it bothered him, too, and posed a challenge for the debates.

You keep telling me I can’t spend too much time defending my record, and that I should talk about my plans, he said. But my plans aren’t anything like the plans I ran on in 2008. I had a universal-health-care plan then. Now I’ve got … what? A manufacturing plan? What am I gonna do on education? What am I gonna do on energy? There’s not much there.

“I can’t tell you that ‘Okay, I woke up today, I knew I needed to do better, and I’ll do better,’ ” Obama said. “I am wired in a different way than this event requires.”

Obama paused.

“I just don’t know if I can do this,” he said.

Obama’s advisers sat silently at first, absorbing the extraordinary moment playing out in front of them. In October of an election year, on the eve of a pivotal debate, the president wasn’t talking about tactics or strategy, about this line or that zinger. He was talking about personal contradictions and ambivalences, about his discomfort with the campaign he was running, about his unease with the requirements of politics writ large, about matters that were fundamental, even existential. We are in uncharted territory here, thought Klain.

[…]

The full team reconvened in Obama’s hold room. Klain ran through his memo of the previous night and explained to the president the new  new format for his prep: For the rest of the day until his final mock, they were going to drill him incessantly on the ten or so topics they expected to come up in the debate, compelling him to repeat his bullet points over and over again. Klain also presented Obama with his debate-on-a-page:

MUST REMEMBER

1. (Your) Speed Kills (Romney)

2. Upbeat and Positive in Tone

3. Passion for People and Plans

4. OTR [Off the Record] Mind-set—Have Fun

5. Strong Sentences to Start and End

6. Engage the Audience

7. Don’t Chase Rabbits

Resten är vad man säger historia. Obama vann de två nästkommande valdebatterna och behöll därmed ledningen valrörelsen igenom.

Heilemanns och Halperins nya bok Double Down: Game Change 2012 ger en intressant bild av presidenten och alla turerna under valkampanjen.

Här får man följa bl.a. Obamas kampanjteam som bestod av David Axelrod, huvudansvarig för att upprätthålla budskapsdisciplin; David Plouffe, valstrateg och rådgivare i Vita huset; Anita Dunn, tidigare Vita husets communications director; Joel Benenson, tidigare medarbetare hos Mario Cuomo; Jon Favreau, Obamas talskrive samt Ron Klain, ansvarig för Obamas debatträning.

Läs mer: Ovanstående bearbetning är från ett utdrag från boken som publicerats i tidskriften New York.

Tidskriftsomslag: New York, 11 november 2012.

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FILM | Cory Booker vann senatorsvalet i New Jersey tidigare i år efter att ha besegrat republikanen Frank Lautenberg.

När Booker vann var han Newarks borgmästare. Denna post blev hans efter valet 2006. Men redan tidigare hade han gjort ett försök men misslyckats.

I filmen Street Fight får vi följa Cory Bookers misslyckade valkampanj 2002.

Mer: Läs Carl Swansons ”Cory Booker Has 280,000 Constituents. And 1.4 Million Followers”, en artikel i tidskriften New York om Bookers valkampanj 2013.

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USA | Allt fler har börjat tala om guvernör Chris Christie som republikanernas självklara presidentkandidat. Om man vill ha en chans att vinna vill säga.

Han har i alla fall en klar fördel framför övriga namn som det talas om (t.ex. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio) och det är att han inte är rädd att ta strid med Tea Party-anhängarnas favoriter.

Detta är om inte annat en nödvändighet om en republikansk kandidat skall ha en chans att locka väljare bortom de egna gräsrötterna.

Här nedan är utdrag från två reportage där man följt guvernören och tagit pulsen på hans möjligheter att bli republikanernas frontfigur.

Time 18 nov 2013 US edition

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

The Christie for America 2016 calculation goes like this: All Republican nomination contests usually go the same way. Primary voters claim to be big-C Conservatives, but they vote with a small c. After months of carping and griping, after rubber-chicken dinners, purity tests and endless debates, the party always settles on the most viable center-right option who has earned his place in line—Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. As Christie might say it, the party decides it wants to win.

Christie’s strategy is clear enough, to execute a political coup de main: to try to clear the field (or his side of the field) by coming on very strong at the outset to take up the Establishment real estate. With four or five others (Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and others) battling to become the purist on the right, Christie’s initial goal is simply to be the Electable One. Yes, he may command only 15% of the total GOP electorate at the outset, but in a fractured field, that’s fine with him. If he is lucky, he might win Iowa by a little, New Hampshire by a lot. If he can squeeze by, the big states will love the big guy.

To aid in the effort, Christie will have some significant financial—and logistical—advantages. Sitting governors are much better fundraisers than any other kind of politician. And in a few weeks, Christie is going to supercharge that claim when he takes over command of the Republican Governors Association, which is looking to protect 22 governors who are up for re-election in 2014, including, conveniently enough, the leaders of South Carolina, Florida and Iowa. He will soon be traveling the country, collecting cards and chits and IOUs, all at someone else’s expense. “In the big cities where the GOP money will be raised,” says Wayne Berman, a leading Republican fundraiser and consultant, “Christie is already the default choice.”

From that perch, Christie can raise perhaps $50 million next year and borrow the fundraising networks of every other GOP governor. They will owe him. And together, those networks are worth $250 million. That is Hillary scale, something none of his current challengers can access as easily. And then there is the outside money. In 2012 several billionaires were involved in the draft-Christie movement.

New York augusti 2012

Benjamin Wallace-Wells i tidskriften New York:

We have never had a president as outwardly angry as Christie, but then this country has rarely been as angry as it is now. In the tea-party era, conservative anger has often been channeled by figures such as Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz into a hysteria over very abstract and inflated threats: health-care death panels, the national debt, the specter of a country overrun by illegal immigrants. Christie’s use of anger is very different: It is much more targeted, and therefore potentially much more useful.

The contrast was on display last week in the fight he picked with Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky, having watched Christie denounce libertarianism, called him the “King of Bacon,” presumably referring both to his pleas for immediate federal help after Hurricane Sandy and to his weight. Christie had pointed out that New Jersey is a “donor state,” taking only 61 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington, while Kentucky takes back $1.51. (No acknowledgment from Christie that this is owed not to New Jersey’s superior character but to its good fortune of existing next to the great economic buoy of Wall Street, while Kentucky is near no economic buoy at all.) “So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense,” Christie had said, “maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork-barrel spending he brings home to ­Kentucky.” For Christie, the villain is always specific: not government, not socialism, not impersonal historical forces, but one moron in particular—the teachers union, or Steve Sweeney, or in this case Rand Paul, the libertarian ophthalmologist, high-mindedly denouncing government while his state is on its dole. “He’s not the first politician to try to use me to get attention,” Christie said later, dismissing Paul’s slight. “And I’m sure he won’t be the last.”

What Christie is doing when he starts arguments with other Republicans—and it is telling that what looks very much like a presidential run has begun with a sequence of fights—is offering his party the chance to preserve its anger, while trading in its revolutionaries for a furious institutionalist.

Läs mer: Blogginlägget ”Vem kan utmana demokraterna?”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time (amerikanska utgåvan), 18 november 2013 och New York, 12 augusti 2012.

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VALRÖRELSE | Det är svårt att se att någon skulle kunna hindra Hillary Clinton om hon bestämde sig för att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

New York 30 september 2013

Clinton är en av de mest erfarna och respekterade politikerna inom sitt eget parti. Hon är en av de mest igenkända personerna i USA idag. Till och med respekterad bland republikaner.

Vad som bl.a. talar för henne är att hon redan har en erfaren kampanjstab som följt henne lojalt under många år. Hennes nätverk är imponerande.

Lägg sedan till att hennes man – Bill Clinton – är en av de skickligaste strategerna en presidentkandidat kan önska sig.

Det är också svårt att se att demokraterna ännu en gång skulle säja nej till möjligheten att placera en kvinna i Vita huset. Partiet har möjlighet att ännu en gå bli historiska.

Barack Obama var unik på mer än ett sätt. Men idag är det Clinton som står för det unika.

Det skulle säkert krävas minst en svart kvinnlig demokrat eller spansktalande för att demokrater skulle börja fundera på att lägga sin röst på någon annan än Clinton.

Och även om en sådan kvinna skulle dyka upp kommer hon aldrig att ha samma erfarenhet eller goodwill bland partiets gräsrötter eller väljarna för att kunna hota Clintons kandidatur.

Och då återstår bara frågan vad Clinton själv vill? Det är upp till henne själv om hon vill bli historisk eller inte. Om hon vill och orkar.

Joe Hagan skriver i tidskriften New York:

Political campaigns are built of personal narratives—and it works much better if the stories are true. The current arc of Hillary’s story is one of transformation. Being secretary of State was more than a job. Her closest aides describe the experience as a kind of cleansing event, drawing a sharp line between the present and her multiple pasts—as First Lady, later as the Democratic front-runner in 2008, derailed by the transformative campaign of Barack Obama but also by a dysfunctional staff, the campaign-trail intrusions of her husband, and the inherent weaknesses of the fractious, bickering American institution that has become known as Clintonworld.

At State, she was the head of a smoothly running 70,000-person institution, and fully her own woman, whose marriage to a former president was, when it was mentioned, purely an asset. And now that she’s left State, Clintonworld is being refashioned along new lines, rationalized and harmonized. [M]ost of those close to the Clintons acknowledge that to succeed in the coming years, Hillary will have to absorb the lessons of 2008. Currently, it’s a topline talking point among her closest aides.

“She doesn’t repeat her mistakes,” says Melanne Verveer, an aide to the First Lady who then served in the State Department as Hillary’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. “She really learns from her mistakes. It’s like, you want to grow a best practice and then always operate on that. She analyzes, ‘What went wrong here?’ ”

Of course, if Hillary’s future were to be an author, or a pundit, or a retiree, learning from mistakes wouldn’t be an issue. But other outcomes, where executive talents are prized, seem more likely. I ask Clinton the question that trails her like a thought bubble: Does she wrestle with running for president?

“I do,” she says, “but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”

Clintonworld, however, speaks with many voices­—albeit many of them not for attribution. Some of her close confidants, including many people with whom her own staff put me in touch, are far less circumspect than she is. “She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,” one such person put it to me. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.”

And a longtime friend concurs. “She’s doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she’s running for it, and she’s also convinced herself she hasn’t made up her mind. She’s going to run for president. It’s a foregone conclusion.”

Tidskriftsomslag: New York, 30 september 2013

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FILM | Att försöka utläsa sina egna favoritbudskap i populära filmer är alltid lockande. Speciellt om man har en politisk agenda.

Steven Spielberg Lincoln - poster

I USA har mycket handlat om Steven Spielbergs film Lincoln. I Sverige är det Kristina Lindström och Maud Nycanders dokumentär om Palme som fått politiska redaktörer och kritiker att vässa pennorna.

De översvallande recensionerna för filmerna gör det intressant att se vilka godbitar skribenterna har plockat fram för att kunna användas i den dagaktuella debatten.

Karin Petersson i Aftonbladet citerade t.ex. Anna Lindh:

Olof Palme visade att politiken ska vägledas av idéer, moral och känsla. Att politik är så mycket mer än teknik och administration.

Peter Akinder i Östra Småland hade ett liknande nostalgiskt resonemang (även om han inte vill kännas vid att han är just nostalgisk):

[D]et skulle inte skada om svensk politik mera präglades av den attityd och ideologiska spänst som [Olof Palme] representerade, för att skapa engagemang kring politiken som demokratins kraft att förändra. 

Frank Rich, tidskriften New York, har tittat lite på hur det politiska etablissemanget i Washington valde att tolka budskapet i Lincoln. Och i bara farten placera sig själva bland änglarna.

The rousing reception that has greeted Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln in Establishment Washington—an enclave not generally known for its cinema connoisseurship—tells another story, about the state of play of domestic politics in the Obama years. Tony Kushner’s screenplay and Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance depict a president who, during the movie’s monthlong time frame of January 1865, is unyielding in his zeal to win ratification of the constitutional amendment outlawing slavery. Yet the Washington punditocracy’s praise distorts Lincoln, selling short the movie and its hero to draw another moral entirely: The only way good can happen in the nation’s capital is if you strike a bipartisan compromise. This supercilious veneration of bipartisanship is the Beltway Kool-Aid that Obama drank during his first term, much to his own grief, given that the Party of No was abstaining from it altogether. Those in Washington who are now repackaging it under the brand of Lincoln are the same claque that tirelessly preaches that the ­after-hours nightcaps shared by Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, or commissions like Simpson-Bowles, are the paradigms for getting things done.

The Beltway cheerleading for Lincoln as a parable of bipartisanship makes much of the fact that Obama screened it at the White House for a small invited group of congressional leaders.

[…]

The film demonstrates “the nobility of politics” (in David Brooks’s phrase) by depicting a president who would strike any bargain he could, however ugly, to snare the votes he needed to free the slaves. Lincoln’s political dealmaking with a deadlocked, lame-duck House just after his reelection is, ipso facto, the Ur-text of Obama’s push to make a deal with Congress in the postelection “fiscal cliff” standoff of 2012.

Leaving aside the moral obtuseness of equating the imperative of abolishing slavery in the nineteenth century with reducing budget deficits in our own, there are other fallacies in this supposed historical parallel. If any of today’s apostles of bipartisan compromise had bothered to read the five pages of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals that are the springboard for Kushner’s screenplay, they would have learned that Lincoln not for one second compromised his stand on the abolition of slavery while rounding up congressional votes for the Thirteenth Amendment. (He doesn’t in the film either.) Lincoln’s compromises were not of principle but of process. He secured votes with the mercenary favors catalogued by Goodwin—“plum assignments, pardons, campaign contributions, and government jobs for relatives and friends of faithful members.” Few, if any, of these bargaining chips are available to Obama or any modern president who doesn’t want to risk impeachment.

[…]

The one significant ideological compromise in the movie is that made by the Radical Republican congressman Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), who tables his insistence on full equality for African-Americans to hasten the slavery-ending amendment’s passage.

There are no figures like Stevens willing to cut deals in the radical GOP House caucus of today. The good news about the newly rebooted Obama, as seen both in his tough dealings with the lame-duck Congress and his second inaugural address, is that he recognizes this reality. He at last seems to have learned his lesson about the futility of trying to broker a serious compromise with his current Republican adversaries. He held to his stated principles in both the “fiscal cliff” and debt-ceiling fights, and both times the GOP backed down. Nor is he deluding himself that his congressional opponents might embrace flexibility and compromise if they saw ­Lincoln—not least because he couldn’t even corral them to see the movie in his presence. The president did invite Mitch ­McConnell and John Boehner to his White House screening, and both said no.

Läs mer: Abraham Lincolns betydelse för Barack Obama.

Bild: Den amerikanska affischen till filmen Lincoln.

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NEW YORK | Ed Koch, som var borgmästare under tre perioder (1978-1989) i New York, avled i februari i år.

Chris Smith, tidskriften New York, skriver:

Egomania is a requirement in politics. Ed Koch turned the condition into an art form. He was far more interesting, and more complicated, than the common narcissist. His towering self-­confidence was central to his triumphs and failures as mayor, because it enabled Koch to do what ever he thought necessary to save the city, whether that meant clowning for the cameras or betraying allies or berating political bullies. He was smart and funny and tough. But Koch’s real power was that he poured his selfishness into a wholly unselfish devotion to his city.

He started out as a reformer with conventionally leftish views: against the Vietnam War, in favor of civil rights. But Koch understood, and agreed with, the growing centrist Democratic revulsion against government bloat, drugs, and crime. He had no time for victimology. As the city careered toward chaos during Abe Beame’s term at City Hall, Koch saw his chance: Dubbing himself “a liberal with sanity,” he ran for mayor in 1977 and beat Mario Cuomo, on the strength of his personality and by appealing to the white outer-borough ethnic voters who were angry and scared. Koch had core beliefs and principles, but the ’77 campaign also established a template: To win, the former reformer was willing to embrace both corrupt Brooklyn political boss Meade Esposito and beauty queen Bess Myerson, the latter in the service of a fake romance concocted by his campaign wizard, David Garth.

[…]

Eventually, though, his confidence metastasized into arrogance, with tragic costs: Koch’s nasty reaction to criticism from AIDS activists weakened the city’s response to the fatal epidemic. And his long-running hostility toward black leaders, coupled with the murder of teenager Yusuf Hawkins, helped Koch lose the 1989 election.

[…]

The scars of seventies New York are invoked every campaign season, with each candidate promising he or she won’t let us slide back to those bad old days. The crucially effective parts of Koch’s tough-love response to New York’s troubles, particularly his never-back-down-to-criticism attitude, became, for better and worse, fundamental pages in the playbooks of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg. Koch rescued the city in his first term and nearly split it in his third. He will forever be an object lesson in the cold-blooded calculations necessary to thrive in New York politics, and of the joys and dangers of personality-driven politics.

Koch var också en förnyare av politiska valkampanjer.

På 1970-talet kunde kampanjstaberna inte använda egna datorer för att analysera resultaten från opinionsundersökningar och reklamkampanjer. Man fick istället gå via datorena på olika universitet.

För att råda bot på detta köpte och monterade Mark Penn, som anlitats av Kochs politiska konsult David Garth, en egen dator för att kunde få feedback redan dagen efter en undersökning.

Penn skulle senare komma att arbeta för både Bill Clinton och Hillary Clintons presidentvalskampanj.

Läs mer: Evan Cornog, en av Kochs pressekreterare skrev artikeln “Ed Koch sweated the details för Newsday.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch dead at age 88” av Larry Celona (New York Post).

61 “Memorable quotes (and Tweets!) from late New York mayor Ed Koch”.

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VAL 2016 | Kommer hon eller kommer hon inte att kandidera? Ingen vet. Kanske inte ens hon själv. Åtminstone inte för tillfälligt.

Newsweek, 11 februari 2013

Men om den nu avgångne utrikesministern Hillary Clinton väljer att kandidera till presidentposten kommer hon att bli en av de tuffaste motståndarna för både demokratiska motkandidater och för den som väljs till republikanernas kandidat.

För närvarande är det svårt att se att någon annan – möjligtvis med undantag av vicepresident Joe Biden – som kan matcha hennes stjärnglans inom partiet och i landet för övrigt.

Det kan mycket väl vara så att många av partiets mest lovande och kunniga politikerna väljer att inte ställa upp om Clinton beslutar sig för att kandidera.

Varför ta chansen att bli massakrerad när man lika väl kan bida sin tid och hoppas på ett lättare startfällt några år längre fram?

Men Clinton, om hon vill och partiet väljer henne, har även andra fördelar.

Sannolikheten är stor att republikanerna ännu inte hunnit hämta sig från sina egna interna problem lagom till valet 2016.

Dessutom skulle en kvinnlig presidentkandidat kunna inspirera på samma sätt som Barack Obama gjorde 2008. USA:s första svarta president och nu chansen till den första kvinnliga? Snacka om att känna historiens vingslag.

Redan under Clintons första försök att bli sitt partis presidentkandidat omgavs hon av ett enormt gräsrotsstöd.

Dessa s.k. PUMA:s (Party Unity, My Ass) hade mycket väl kunna göra livet surt för Obama om inte Hillary uppmanat alla att ställa upp för Obama.

Michael Tomasky kallar henne för den mest inflytelserika kvinnan i USA:s historia.

That 2000 Senate campaign is when I started getting a firsthand look. She wasn’t a good candidate at first. She was, I was told, a bundle of nerves that first day, when she appeared with Sen. Pat Moynihan at his farm. Murdoch’s New York Post tried to kill her—the iconic cover with Clinton kissing Suha Arafat, and so much else. Clinton seemed downright afraid of Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s swashbuckling mayor; he would poke fun at her, mock her, tie her to every loopy left-wing cause in town, and she would never even mention his name.

But in upstate New York, away from the city’s bumptious glare, even when she was giving so-so speeches, I observed something else powerful going on. It was the look in women’s eyes, and especially in their daughters’ eyes, when they met her; waiting for hours, at a skating rink in Elmira I think it was, or a minor-league ballpark in Jamestown. How nervous they were, even overwhelmed, to meet her. How patient she was with every one of them, every last one of them, working those rope lines for hours and hours, posing for pictures, signing autographs—even obligingly signing some of those idiotic attack books, by Laura Ingraham and Peggy Noonan and so forth, if that’s what people shoved under her, always smiling, smiling.

“What I’ve found most unique about Hillary,” says Neera Tanden, head of the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress and a longtime card-carrying Hillarylander, “is the almost weird connection people have to her. It’s been that way since 1992, right at the beginning.” This sounds like spin. But the other journalists following her around upstate and I saw it. It’s true.

That race—winning a landslide in a state she’d never really had a thing to do with—is absolutely key to understanding her success. Not only did the “weird connection” manifest itself intensely, but she also became a real politician over the course of that campaign. Her own person, in public terms.

[…]

The presidential race? Her one failure. The one time in her career she did a very un-Hillary thing: she didn’t prepare enough. Didn’t ask every conceivable question. You could somehow see it in that opening video she shot, sitting on the couch, saying, “I’m in it to win it.” It was a little arrogant. That’s exactly what she was not in 2000. If she tries again, she will certainly remember this.

Läs mer: ”Hillary Clinton in 2016: Be Afraid, Republicans” av Lloyd Green på The Daily Beast.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är den nya papperstidningen Newsweek med datumet 11 februari 2013.

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BÖCKER | Det var bara en fråga om när. Nu finns Barack Obama även som litterär bifigur i en roman. Senatorn dyker upp i Michael Chabons Telegraph Avenue.

Förra året publicerades ett kort utdrag i tidskriften New York:

“Chabon couldn’t help but include a very on-topic cameo — the future President Obama, in 2004, comforting one of the novel’s central characters, Gwen, in the midst of the toughest of pregnancies (the kind where your husband’s just been caught cheating, you’ve been told you’re worthless as a midwife by an insufferable yuppie doctor, and a musical genius you love has just up and died).”

Just before his hostess for the evening, who held the patent on a gene that coded for a protein to prevent the rejection of a transplanted kidney, directed everyone to gather under the carved and stenciled firTelegraph Avenue av Michael Chabon beams of her living room, and sent the young woman from the campaign out to tell the band to knock it off for ten minutes so that the state senator, Obama of Illinois, could address his fellow guests, each of whom had contributed at least one thousand dollars to attend this event, an address in which he would attempt by measured words and a calm demeanor to reassure them (vainly and mistakenly, as it would turn out) that their candidate for the presidency of the United States would not go down to inglorious defeat in November, Obama stopped in the doorway that opened onto the flagstone patio to listen for a minute to the hired band. They were cooking their way with evident seriousness of intent through an instrumental cover of “Higher Ground.”

“Those guys are pretty funky,” he observed, directing his remark to a short, extraordinarily pregnant woman in a man’s bowling shirt who stood beyond the open patio doors, dark, pretty, her hair worn in a fetching artful anemone of baby dreadlocks. The fingers of her right hand flicked shadow-bass notes on her belly. At his remark, the pregnant woman nodded without turning to look at him—there was an elaborate candelabra of a potted cactus behind whose tapered thorns she appeared to be attempting, somewhat punitively, to conceal herself. Obama was running for the United States Senate that summer and had given a wonderful speech last month at the Democratic Convention in Boston. When she did turn to him, her eyes got very wide.

“Friends of yours?” he said.

Förlaget sammanfattar romanens handling så här:

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.

When ex–NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples’ already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe’s life.

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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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KAMPANJ | Det är lätt att drabbas av abstinensbesvär efter en valrörelse. Botemedlet är en rejäl dos av valsanalyser.

The 2013 Campaign” av John Heilemann

New York, 19 november 2012

That the essence of Team Obama’s reelection strategy was to capitalize on his strength with what National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein calls “the coalition of the ascendant” had long been clear. Back in May, I wrote a cover story for this ­magazine laying out Chicago’s plan to focus ­laserlike on four key voting blocs: ­African-Americans, Hispanics, college-educated white women, and voters aged 18 to 29. At bottom, the Obaman theory of the case was that, despite the fragility of the recovery and the doubts many voters had about POTUS’s capacity to put America on the path to prosperity, the deft exploitation of coalition politics, together with the ruthless disqualification of Romney as a credible occupant of the Oval Office, could secure the president a second term. That in 2012, in other words, demographics would trump economics.

Obama’s new majority” av John O’Sullivan

The Spectator, 10 november 2012

‘I’ve come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote,’ said President Obama at an emotional ‘last ever’ campaign meeting. ‘Because this is where our movement for change began, right here. Right here.’ And his eyes briefly moistened. The nostalgia was doubtless sincere, and the address correct, but it was misleading to describe his 2012 election campaign as a continuation of his earlier ‘movement for change’. In reality, it has been a smoothly ruthless operation to distract attention from a record that has been disappointingly bereft of change. He triumphed over himself as much as over the hapless Mitt Romney.

The Party Next Time” av Ryan Lizza

The New Yorker, 19 november 2012

When historians look back on Mitt Romney’s bid for the Presidency, one trend will be clear: no Republican candidate ever ran a similar campaign again. For four decades, from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan through the two Bush Presidencies, the Republican Party won the White House by amassing large margins among white voters. Nixon summoned the silent majority. Reagan cemented this bloc of voters, many of whom were former Democrats. Both Bushes won the Presidency by relying on broad support from Reagan Democrats. In that time, Republicans transformed the South from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, and they held the White House for twenty-eight out of forty years. Last Tuesday, Romney won three-fifths of the white vote, matching or exceeding what several winning Presidential candidates, including Reagan in 1980 and Bush in 1988, achieved, but it wasn’t enough.

Baksmällan i Washington” av Martin Gelin

Fokus, 9-15 november 2012

USA har en lång politisk tradition av att ställa grupper mot varandra så snart ett val närmar sig. Politiska strateger har med denna metod söndrat och härskat sig till knappa majoriteter i delstaterna och struntat i minoriteten som inte fått politisk representation. Det var den vanan Obama skulle bryta. 2008 hade hans kampanj mottot »Respect, empower, include«. I år lade man till ett sista ord: »Win«. Och med den nya förmågan att rikta kampanjer mot enskilda väljare gjorde man allt för att vinna exakt 50,1 procent av väljarna i respektive delstat.

Läs mer: Tidigare inlägg med valsanalyser från tidskriftsvärlden.

Tidskriftsomslagen: Översta är formgivet av konstnären Craig Redman. Tydligen ”all the rage” för närvarande. Mark Ulriksen skapade ”Rhapsody in Blue” för The New Yorker. Hans tankar om omslaget hittar man här.

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