Former Obama Adviser Goes To Work For British Conservatives

The architect of President Obama's re-election campaign is going to work for the Tories.

Jim Messina

Former Barack Obama campaign manager Jim Messina is reportedly crossing the pond to go to work for David Cameron’s Conservative Party:

The architect behind President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 campaign is broadening his reach across the pond: Jim Messina has been hired by Britain’s Conservative party for the upcoming general election.

Messina will stay stateside and work in a support capacity.

“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,” Messina said in a statement to POLITICO.

The Tories hired Messina in hopes to emulate the strategy of Obama’s campaign for reelection, the BBC reported Friday, especially the way it used political organizing and social media strategies.

Messina is not alone among the Obama team in working overseas.

The BBC notes that Messina is likely to stay based in the United States and that his work will be concentrated in specific areas:

Mr Messina will not lead the campaign as he did in the US, sources said, but instead will be “reporting in to the Conservatives’ senior management team”, and remain based in the US.

He will report directly to Mr Crosby and Conservative Party co-chairs Grant Shapps and Lord Feldman. Conservative sources stressed he would have no involvement in party policy.

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.”

The phenomenon of American campaign advisers going overseas to work for foreign politicians is not unprecedented, although it is a relatively recent phenomenon that didn’t seem to develop until the Clinton Era. Back then, James Carville and several of his people were doing work for candidates in the United Kingdom and Israel, and as the linked article notes there are presently others affiliated with the Obama campaign working in Australia and the U.K. What’s slightly unusual about this move, I suppose, is that Messina is seemingly crossing ideological lines in going to work for the Tories. In the past, Democratic consultants have typically worked with foreign political parties on the left while Republican consultants have worked with those on the right.

Of course, as The Atlantic Wire’s Philip Bump, points out, the Tories are actually closer to the Democratic Party than they are the Republican Party. They support a right to abortion, within limits, while the official Republican position is to do everything possible to restrict abortion rights. They oppose the death penalty, which is actually different from the official position of both the GOP and Democrats, although in reality likely closer to the feelings of most Democratic activists on the issue. They support Britain’s National Health Service, the idea of increased investment of renewable energy, and carbon taxes. And a Tory led government just guided a law legalizing same-sex marriage through Parliament, while the Republican Party continues to oppose even the limited equality of civil unions. Among the only issues where Tories and Republicans agree are government spending, stricter border security, and the general approach to foreign policy (although even here there isn’t much difference between the Conservatives and Labour anymore.) So, Messina isn’t really betraying any ideological loyalties by signing on to the Tories 2015 campaign.

FILED UNDER: Europe, US Politics, World Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. george says:

    I’d guess the UK Tories are actually to the left of the US D’s. I know the Canadian Conservatives are well to the left of the US Dems on most issues (they’re for having complete Public health for a start, against spending a lot of money on the military, think having at least some social safety net is a good thing).

    In fact, I doubt any of the G7 country’s conservative parties are to the right of the Democratic Party in the US.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    “…the Tories are actually closer to the Democratic Party than they are the Republican Party…”

    Well, yeah…because the Tories are Conservatives.
    Republicans are nothing more than a fundamentalist religious group.

  3. Lynda says:

    Even if they were closer politically, I doubt Cameron would have hired any Romney staff.

    Remember the success of Romney’s Olympic trip to London which one commentator summarized as “a charm offensive that has proved rather more offensive than charming.”

  4. Andre Kenji says:

    . @george:

    I’d guess the UK Tories are actually to the left of the US D’s.

    More or Less. I´m not the greatest fan of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama in the world, but David Cameron on immigration, specially when competing for votes with the UKIP, is horrible. His proposed antiporn Legislation is also pretty dumb.

    On the other hand, the GOP has more to do with the BNP and UKIP than with the Tories. That says more about the GOP than about the Tories.

  5. stonetools says:

    I’ll trade the British conservative party for the US one any day-twice on Sundays.

  6. PJ says:

    The Tories aren’t batsh*t crazy.

  7. Tyrell says:

    If he’s good enough for Churchill, that’s good enough for me.

    “they call me Bocephus”

  8. Eric Florack says:

    @george: quite correct, they are.
    This is a measure of how far left the Brits have gone, over the years.

  9. Andre Kenji says:

    Nuff said.

    https://www.google.com.br/search?safe=off&rlz=1C1PRFB_enBR499BR499&q=UKIP+national+review&oq=UKIP+national+review&gs_l=serp.3..33i21.9503.12969.0.13144.20.19.0.0.0.0.563.4446.5j3j6j1j0j3.18.0….0…1c.1.23.serp..10.10.1592.HjvumsRDyes

  10. Tran says:

    @Eric Florack: Or more a measure of how far to the right the US is? Except for gay marriage, in what position did the British Tories shift ot the left in the last few decades? Any British posters that could shed some light on this?

  11. Eric Florack says:

    @Tran: since none of these other nations was founded on the idea of individual liberty, that sounds like a fair assessment.

    Now convince me that’s a BAD thing.

  12. george says:

    @Eric Florack:

    since none of these other nations was founded on the idea of individual liberty, that sounds like a fair assessment.

    Oddly enough, things like the Patriot Act and the extent of the War on Drugs, and some of the things the NSA has done lately suggest that the US doesn’t really take individual liberty too seriously either. The Patriot Act and the NSA spying wouldn’t be acceptable to many conservatives around the world, and the War on Drugs is pretty unpopular with most conservatives world wide too. In fact, the whole US social conservative idea of legislating morality would be considered extremely non-conservative outside the US (not to mention being polar opposite to the idea of individual liberty).

    Unless you’re picking and choosing your individual liberties, which isn’t individual liberty at all.

  13. Tran says:

    And even pretty left Denmark, where government spending makes up about half of GDP beats the US in the Heritage Foundation economic freedom ranking. Individual freedoms cannot be simply counted as a right wing issue. The Nazis were right wing and pretty down on liberty, while the left wing Soviets were pretty bad as well.

    I don’t think that individual liberty is best protected in the USA, but you may see it different. And even then, individual liberty does not trump all other concerns. It did not violate anybodies liberty when the white business in the South refused to deal with any blacks. The Civil Rights Act did violate the businessowners liberty to discriminate against black people, but it was morally absolutely right.

  14. Eric Florack says:

    @george:
    and those programs were started by who?
    Critical you understand this…

  15. Andre Kenji says:

    To be fair, David Cameron is legitimately worried with the deficit, and he enacted real cuts on spending. He did not create a bizarre plan to begin to cut spending in ten years or something like that, he enacted spending cuts and tax increases.

  16. wr says:

    @<a href="#comment-1779141″>Andre Kenji: “To be fair, David Cameron is legitimately worried with the deficit, and he enacted real cuts on spending. He did not create a bizarre plan to begin to cut spending in ten years or something like that, he enacted spending cuts and tax increases. ”

    Yes, he committed to an insane austerity program in the middle of a recession, not only making it much worse but causing immeasurable suffering among the poor and middle class, while shoveling lots of cash at the banks and the very rich.

    Oh, wait. You’re praising Cameron for his economic plan? Seriously?

  17. Andre Kenji says:

    @wr:

    Oh, wait. You’re praising Cameron for his economic plan? Seriously?

    No. I think that the Tories were right on curbing the 10% of the GDP deficit, but I don´t like the NHS cuts and I think that his “Big Society” scheme is a complete idiocy. But that´s real action, unlike the complete masturbation that is the so called Ryan Plan.

    The idea that the Republicans are more Conservative than the Tories is also an illusion. Obamacare is a cheap program when compared to Medicare Part D, and there is nothing Conservative about shielding Medicare for the current recipients from any cost control.