Category Archives: LDVUSA

Jim Messina and “the single most infamous congressional ad in contemporary history”

The Conservatives have hired Barack Obama’s election strategist Jim Messina to advise on their 2015 general election campaign. The Guardian describes it as “a coup for the Tory team to have been able to hire a strategist who proved such a vital figure in Obama’s presidential campaigns in both 2008 and 2012.”

Those unfamiliar with Mr Messina’s work can watch an example of his kind of ad below. It’s from the 2002 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee race between Max Baucus and Montana Republican Senate nominee Mike Taylor, and has been described by Salon.com as “the single most infamous congressional ad in contemporary history”:

Renowned in political circles, the ad set porno music to 20-year-old footage of a video from Taylor’s cosmetics business. The video showed Taylor in a leisure suit rubbing cream into another man’s face. As the spot faded to black, it showed Taylor then seeming to reach for the man’s crotch as a voice-over said “Mike Taylor — not the way we do business in Montana.”

Also posted in YouTube | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Steven Spielberg presents… President Obama: “I’m Daniel Day-Lewis.”

The 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the annual event which disproves any notion the Americans can’t do irony…


(Watch it on YouTube here.)

And here’s the full 20 minute Obama routine:

Also posted in YouTube | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Sometimes to win an argument, you need to adopt your opponent’s point of view

Wedding bouquetFraming, that is the way in which a choice is presented, is often key to winning political (and indeed non-political) debates. Consider the following two statements, for example:

It’s dreadful that the government is letting private companies access more medical data about people.

It’s great that the government is letting medical researchers access more medical data about diseases.

They are both ways you could describe the current government’s actual policy. Whether the issue is framed as being about private companies or medical researchers and whether it is about personal data or information about diseases …

Also posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged | 7 Comments

The Independent View: A reply to Mark Pack from Obama’s Director of Data

The Crystal Ball chart blogged by Mark Pack highlights the interesting cases of Alaska and Utah. These outliers make sense given the dynamics of the race (the large Mormon population in UT provided a boost to Romney while the absence of Sarah Palin from the ballot hurt Republican performance in AK relative to 2008). But why do we not see more turbulence in the battleground states?  Surely the gobs of money spent in these states along with the monumental ground efforts of the Obama campaign would push these states away from the crowd? The answer to this apparent disconnect …

Also posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Joe Biden appreciates Nick Clegg’s friendship

From a White House press release this week:

Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg

Vice President Biden spoke to Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg today to thank him for his congratulatory message following last week’s U.S. election. The Vice President expressed appreciation for Deputy

Also posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

What does the data show about the Obama campaign’s use of data?

So far, there has been a weird paradox at the heart of the coverage about the Obama 2012 campaign machine. On the one hand we’re all meant to be impressed by how it was based on data and analysis, honing campaign techniques and targeting activity based on what the data said. On the other hand, we’re meant to take it all on trust (or trust plus bucketloads of anecdotes; i.e. trust) that this hard-nosed, evidence-based approach to campaigning worked. Where’s the evidence that the reliance on evidence really worked?

There’s been remarkably little presented. Which is why the following graph is so

Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: US Elections – I’m not one to gloat, but….

I am still musing on what a wonderful night it was on Tuesday into Wednesday. I stayed up all night until I finally threw in the towel at 6.45am. It was a bit tedious at first, but it got really exciting at around 3am.

Over the last few weeks, I have been a very regular visitor to FiveThirtyEight, the home of Nate Silver. So, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the man’s forecasts have turned out to be right.

Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Four more years – thank you

Thank you to everyone who joined in our live blog/tweet following the exciting results from across the Atlantic tonight. Many thanks to everyone who used the hashtag #LDVUSA to join in!

It was a great night – to see all the potential Romney paths to victory disintegrating one by one and a EV total of 332 looking on the cards for Obama!

Analysis and post-mortems can wait for another day. For now, it’s celebration time! WoooooHoooooo!

Tagged and | 6 Comments

#LDVUSA – Election night LIVE

It’s going to be an exciting night as we live blog and tweet here on the US election results as they come in, via the magic of coveritlive.com

Join in with the comments and debate NOW. You can join in by either: (a) adding your comment in the form at the bottom of the box below, or (b) tweeting with hashtag #ldvusa. Use either of those methods and your comments will show in the live stream below.

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#LDVUSA – Three nifty ways to help make sense of tonight’s election results

It can often be a mathematical nightmare trying to work out who’s winning as US Presidential Election night progresses. Sometimes, some poor souls even end up having to rely on David Dimbleby to explain what’s going on! Poor things!

Here are three nifty tools to help you make sense of what is happening tonight:

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Join the fun here on Tuesday #LDVUSA – Election night LIVE

We’ll be covering the US Election results night live here on Liberal Democrat Voice from 11pm on Tuesday.

You can join in by using the Twitter hashtag #LDVUSA, which will include your tweet on the scrolling page here on LDV. You’ll also be able to comment here on the screen using the Coveritlive.com tool.

There’ll be commentary from the LDV editorial team and Lib Dem bloggers throughout the night, plus updates from leading US news and commentary Twitter streams.

It’ll be a good place to …

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If Obama wins, this Republican ought, perhaps, to be top of his list of people to thank

This is John Kasich, Republican Governor of the state of Ohio, USA.

It is possible to argue, credibly (albeit amid much debate), that if Barack Obama wins re-election on November 6th, the first person he ought to thank is John Kasich.

Polls suggest that, despite the hyperventilated efforts of the Romney campaign to generate some “big mo” after the Denver debate, Obama is still ahead in vital Ohio.

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Unravelling the US election – or not, as the case may be…

There are just 16 days to go until the US Presidential election. Liberal Democrat Voice will be live-blogging the election results as they come in on the night. Hopefully, the count won’t go on as long as it did in 2000, or we might be in for a very long live blog.

I should declare, up front, that I am inveterately

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And so the ‘Romneyshambles’ rolls on…

Here’s the video footage of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressing a private fundraising event:

Also posted in YouTube | Tagged | 8 Comments

A longer read for the weekend: how Obama orders the death of terrorists

This week the New York Times ran a fascinating, detailed study of the drone war being fought by Barack Obama as he decides which alleged terrorists will be targeted by the American military:

Also posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Thirty years of American politics satirised in three minutes

Great fun:

Also posted in Humour | Leave a comment

Nasty negative ad as political race turns sour

First there was the positive ad:

Now there’s this:

Also posted in Humour | Tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Whoa! Romney isn’t meant to do this badly

I am getting worried.

A few weeks ago I was sure that Mitt Romney would win the US Republican Presidential nomination. He’d be nicely battered and bruised and the Democrats would have a fat file of YouTube and news clips to use against him (“I like firing people“/”I am not concerned about the very poor“/”Let Detroit go bankrupt” etc). But he would win.

However, it is now becoming possible that he might not win the nomination. Oh dear. Rick Santorum has been ahead in a string of national polls and is fourish points ahead in Michigan. Yes, Michigan, where …

Tagged and | 9 Comments

Learning lessons from the US elections: four legal differences you need to know

With a new American Presidential cycle producing, as ever, near obsessional coverage (and ignoring other more important electoral news), now is a good time to update a post from the last cycle about learning lessons from the US:

This year is already seeing all sorts of prognostications about the lessons UK political parties and campaigners can and should be drawing.

However, many of the differences between American and British election campaigns are not the result of American campaigners having good ideas the British should copy, but rather are the result of four key legal differences between the two countries.

First – and …

Also posted in Election law and Op-eds | 3 Comments

You know what we’re doing wrong? We’ve not introduced tax breaks for wooden arrows

What do we want? Section 503.
When do we want it? Now.

Oh, you want to know what Section 503 is? Read here.

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The weekend debate: Would Mitt Romney make a better President than Barack Obama?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over the last three years Obama has had to concede much of his programme to Republicans in Congress. His healthcare reforms had to be significantly watered down even before Republicans won back the House of Representatives in 2010. And the reforms themselves have since acted as a lightning rod for criticism of the President.

Obama is struggling to get the economy going again amid continued turbulence in the global economy and unemployment is staying stubbornly high despite the massive £800 billion stimulus package. …

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

LDVideo: The West Wing explains the US debt ceiling in under 60 seconds

Everything you needed to know about the current ‘epiphenomenal imbroglio’ ((C) Will Self at 0:48 here) engulfing the US economy, courtesy series 6 of The West Wing:

Also posted in YouTube | Tagged | 3 Comments

Even left-wing politicians will be hoping Newt Gingrich turns out to be a role model

Newt Gingrich, a right-winger whose bid to become US President looks to be crashing and burning after many of his senior staff walked out on his campaign, is not an obvious role model for British politicians, especially those not on the right.

But at heart quite a few all across the political spectrum would, I suspect, be rather pleased if he ends up doing well. That’s because the cause of the falling out is Gingrich’s insistence on doing two things that will strike a chord with many politicians and a fear into many election agents.

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This is not a negative advert

The political advertising put out by people who disdain negative ads is often too self-consciously worthy to be effective. John Hickenlooper’s advert as part of his successful run for Governor of Colorado however was rather different – and was rated as being very effective by those watching the race:

Tagged and | 3 Comments

It’s not only in the House of Lords where filibustering is an issue

Labour’s filibustering in the House of Lords in many ways echoes the current tactics of Republicans in the Senate: using delaying tactics to avoid issues coming to a vote when they know they will almost certainly lose a vote when it comes.

The Wall Street Journal reports how the US version is being addressed:

Senate leaders announced on Thursday a package of rule changes that seek to reduce the stalemate and gridlock that has characterized the chamber in recent years.

But lawmakers failed to agree on a limitation to the use of the filibuster—the right of any senator to hold up any

3 Comments

LDVUSA: The mid-term view from Boston

Paul Elgood is a Lib Dem councillor in Brighton & Hove, but has been out in Boston, in the USA, watching closely observing the mid-term elections. Here’s his early morning dispatch…

Four years ago, Boston politics looked very different. Teddy Kennedy had just won what was to be his last campaign, Congressman Barney Frank romped re-election to make it 26 years in Congress, and new Governor Deval Patrick, backed by a then little-known Senator called Barack Obama won the State House, following on from Republican Mitt Romney.

Obama’s historic election followed just two years later, but so too did the …

4 Comments

Opinion: The Tea Party – lessons for the Liberal Democrats

The Tea Party movement is even now preparing for its first big electoral test.  Banners are being printed, bumper stickers peeled, computerised push-pollers tested.

They are a frightening prospect for European liberals.  Perhaps any foreign radical movement looks bizarre to outsiders, but the combination of Sarah Palin, red-neck fundamentalists and the shadowy Koch brothers with their billions is a fearsome prospect.

Yet the Tea Party has lessons for us, even if it doesn’t make its way over here – which in some form or another it seems likely to do.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

Opinion: What the US midterms do (and don’t) mean for the Liberal Democrats

I’ve heard a few Liberal Democrats express concern about the mid-term election results. The fear, as it has been expressed to me, is that Cleggmania had a lot of superficial similarities to Obamamania – it was a campaign based on hope, by a progressive liberal who offered something new, and it led to the formation of a government. Seeing Obamamania apparently swept away in a surge of vehemently conservative tea-partyers, several Lib Dems fear that the same fate could befall them at the next election.
I think this is simplistic.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

US political TV ad puts Twitter centre-stage

Facebook too gets a walk-on role in this Iowa Senate TV advert:

Also posted in Online politics | Tagged and | Leave a comment

LDVUSA: California’s Proposition 8 overturned

America’s gay rights activists were celebrating last night as a judge re-legalised gay marriage, making the latest step in the long-running battle in the US and the state of California.

Previously, legal gay marriage had been granted to Californians following successful legal challenge on discrimination grounds of the rules that meant marriage was only available to heterosexual couples.

Only after thousands of gay Californians had tied the knot did anti-gay activists manage to get a proposition on the ballot paper last to ask voters whether gay marriage should be disallowed.  By a narrow margin, Californians voted to end homogamy in their state …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSteve Comer 21st Apr - 1:52am
    Steve Bradley said "In the eyes of many voters, Nick Clegg has become the personification of everything they have disliked about the Lib Dems since...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 21st Apr - 1:11am
    A couple of months ago I did a direct count (in response to a comment similar to "only 20 people comment") of the number of...
  • User AvatarJames 21st Apr - 12:12am
    Do you actually know what e-cigarettes are, Ian?
  • User AvatarPaul In Twickenham 20th Apr - 11:49pm
    Bill - I completely agree that the Tories are capable of winning an outright majority next year. As you say , this will depend upon...
  • User AvatarHelen Dudden 20th Apr - 10:07pm
    I have lived in Bath for 20 years and I would say, things could change.
  • User AvatarPsi 20th Apr - 9:51pm
    Matthew Huntbach I recognise the symptoms you mention (here and in the link), but I disagree with the cause. The bullying and back stabbing is...