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.”

Thanks to the deliberate choice of music, the footage of man-on-man physical contact and the voice-over message, the ad is considered the epitome of homophobic demagoguery — a spot ostensibly about Taylor’s Department of Education loans, but really designed to raise questions about Taylor’s sexuality in a culturally conservative state. Summarizing the national uproar over the ad, the Denver Post at the time noted that “only the most naive adult would miss the implication that Taylor is a homosexual” and that clearly “the supposedly inclusive Democrats deftly played on the right’s homophobia.”

Here’s the ad

Taylor dropped out of the race straight afterwards and Baucus was elected unopposed. Baucus denied any responsibility for the ad — as did his chief of staff, Jim Messina. But fast-forward 10 years, to 2012, and Baucus was a little less self-denying:

“Jim is tough,” Baucus says. “I’ll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said, ‘Max, what do you think?’ They were afraid I wasn’t going to like it. I loved it!”

I’m sure he and the Tory party will be very happy together.

Hat-tip: Mark Pack – New Tory campaign advisor Jim Messina and his “anti-gay secret” as Salon.com puts it.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in LDVUSA and YouTube.
Advert

2 Comments

  • Going from Obama to the Tories…its like when Bruno worked for Vinick against Santos…

  • Clear Thinker 6th Aug '13 - 9:06am

    Are you sure you’ve got the right ad? I didn’t see anyone grabbing anyone’s crotch, and what on earth is “porno music”?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 29th Jul - 12:56pm
    According to David Laws book on the Coalition she was a particularly hard line uncompromising Tory. And he also recalled that she proposed the motion...
  • User AvatarAM 29th Jul - 12:34pm
    Thank you for the insight Caroline - it's been a turbulent few months nationally, and it's really interesting to see how that's affected you locally....
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 29th Jul - 11:46am
    @ Lorenzo Cherin, I apologise for not responding earlier. Music is of course a matter of person taste. Ironically, I believe that it is the...
  • User AvatarTim13 29th Jul - 11:37am
    Ian Patterson According to analysis by Middle Englander on Vote UK Forum: LD 44 Ind 34 Tory 30 Lab 8 Mebyon Kernow 4 Green 1...
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 29th Jul - 11:21am
    Mark Wright's numbers are exceptionally cheering. An average of 22% in by-election polls! Three times our GE polling. What that shows is that there is...
  • User AvatarJamesG 29th Jul - 11:17am
    Meanwhile in the real world 26 countries now want a deal with Britain, including btw Germany. http://order-order.com/2016/07/29/brexit-breaking-free-global-markets/