Obama,  UK Politics

Obama’s campaign manager will advise the Tories

Jim Messina, who managed Barack Obama’s successful 2012 reelection campaign and previously served as his deputy chief of staff, has been hired by the UK’s Conservative party as a campaign strategy adviser.

The Tories are hoping to emulate Mr Obama’s re-election against a backdrop of economic problems. Many other governments that have sought re-election during economic turbulence have been punished by voters at the ballot box.

The Conservatives are also thought to hope that Mr Messina will bring to their operation the same binding marriage of social media and political organisation that many in the US credit with securing Mr Obama a second term.
Speaking of his appointment, Mr Messina told Newsnight:

“I have long admired Prime Minister Cameron. While I will not be moving to London, nor will I be managing any type of day to day political operations, I will be offering strategic campaign advice leading up to 2015.”

It would be a mistake to try and discern the ideological implications of this. It may mostly be a matter of Messina taking the best-paying gig available at the moment.

On the other hand even under Margaret Thatcher, the Tories were in some ways far to the left of today’s Republican party– and of Obama himself.

And on a personal level, Obama reportedly gets along better with Cameron than he did with his Labour predecessor Gordon Brown. So if Obama was consulted on this, I suspect he didn’t object strongly.