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Many of you probably saw this photo from two weeks ago of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, a member of the Conservative Party (Tories), delivering a speech on why the UK's austerity budgets are part of the Tories' plan to permanently shrink the size of the government:

Yes, he's extolling his intentions for inflicting more suffering on the working and middle classes of Britain---while standing in front of a golden throne.

The photo was taken by a freelance writer who was working as a server at the banquet, who penned an excellent complementary editorial for the Guardian:

In his speech, Cameron talked about a "leaner, more efficient, more affordable state". He argued that austerity could be a permanent government policy; a way of trimming down the administrative excesses of some public services. He framed it in the context of the current tough living conditions – a minimising of state spending, as it "comes out of the pockets of the same taxpayers whose living standards we want to see improve".


The political content of what Cameron is saying is obviously more important than where he was saying it, but I don't think the latter is irrelevant. I have a fundamental problem with a man who sits on a golden throne and lectures us about spending less, like a modern-day, white-tie clad sheriff of Nottingham. And all around him, the insidious stain of austerity creeps across the country, manifesting in the bedroom tax, rising tuition fees and the closure of public services that vulnerable people depend on.

Each of us has just one chance at existence, and so many people's lives are being blighted by these cuts. If this is the cruel and damaging reality of permanent austerity, then we should be telling Mr Cameron we don't want it.

Mark Blyth, the author of the must-read book Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, called this out for the class warfare that it is:
Now why is this a "class specific" put option? Over the past 35 years the UK has become an increasingly unequal country, with those holding appreciating assets (mainly housing in the south) and high incomes (mainly financial salaries and bonuses) reaping most of the gains. These are also the folks that cashed in that insurance policy when the banks failed – they got their assets bailed. The balance due for this cashed-out insurance policy is still either tax increases – which as we saw with the fate of the 50% income tax rate and heard on Monday with regard to corporations, is off the table – or more cuts to government spending. So who pays?

The nice thing about cutting government spending in a highly unequal society, at least for the coalition, is that it doesn't affect those with most of the assets and income. These folks don't rely on government services, and their assets and incomes are, thanks to government policy, on the rise once again. They are also the folks that fund elections and show up to vote.

Perhaps the real message of Cameron's speech is then the following? If austerity doesn't work, just pump up the assets of those who matter and pass the cost on to those who don't through spending cuts since they will not vote for you anyway. Then tell tall tales about "out of control" spending habits, despite the evidence, while assiduously avoiding taxing your constituents. This used to be called class politics. Maybe it will once again be recognised for what it really is, even without the gold chains and the throne in the room as a clue for the uninitiated.

That same week, the Tories were trying to erase all web content of their broken promises---healthcare spending, green investment, transparency, etc.--from the Internet.

And who will be helping the craven Tories to stay in power in the 2015 general elections? Why, none other than top Obama adviser Jim Messina. The BBC reported on this back in August:

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.

That Messina would see kindred spirits in the Tories should, unfortunately, come as little surprise.

There's Messina's coddling of Wall Street:

Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign, according to two people at the meeting.

At the members-only Core Club in Manhattan, Messina provided a campaign briefing last night for some of the president’s top donors, including Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive officer at Evercore Partners Inc., and his wife, Jane Hartley, co-founder of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group LLC; Eric Mindich, founder of Eton Park Capital Management LP; and Ron Blaylock, co-founder of GenNx360 Capital Partners.

There's his defense of the Blue Dogs and contempt for progressive advocacy groups:
In March 2009 the Campaign for America’s Future, a top progressive group in Washington, launched a campaign called “Dog The (Blue) Dogs” to pressure conservative Blue Dog Democrats to support President Obama’s budget. When he heard about the effort, White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who was regarded as the Obama administration’s designated “fixer,” called CAF’s leaders into the White House for a dressing down, according to a CAF official. If the group wanted to join the Common Purpose Project, an exclusive weekly strategy meeting between progressive groups and administration officials, CAF had to drop the campaign. We know how to handle the Blue Dogs better than you do, Messina said. Not wanting to sour its relationship with the White House at this early date, CAF complied, and the campaign quickly disappeared from its website. Despite Messina’s assurance, however, the Blue Dogs would remain a major obstacle to the realization of the president’s legislative agenda.
Messina also tried to crush any progressive criticism of the lobbyist-driven strategy for creating the Affordable Care Act, the strategy that he and his former boss Max Baucus preferred:
During the healthcare fight, Messina used his influence to try to stifle any criticism of Baucus or lobbying by progressive groups that was out of sync with the administration’s agenda, according to Common Purpose participants. “Messina wouldn’t tolerate us trying to lobby to improve the bill,” says Richard Kirsch, former national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the major coalition of progressive groups backing reform. Kirsch recalled being told by a White House insider that when asked what the administration’s “inside/outside strategy” was for passing healthcare reform, Messina replied, “There is no outside strategy.”

The inside strategy pursued by Messina, relying on industry lobbyists and senior legislators to advance the bill, was directly counter to the promise of the 2008 Obama campaign, which talked endlessly about mobilizing grassroots support to bring fundamental change to Washington. But that wasn’t Messina’s style—instead, he spearheaded the administration’s deals with doctors, hospitals and drug companies, particularly the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the most egregious aspects of the bill. “They cared more about their relationship with the healthcare industry than anyone else,” says one former HCAN staffer. “It was shocking to see. To me, that was the scariest part of it, because this White House had ridden in on a white horse and said, ‘We’re not going to do this anymore.’” When they were negotiating special deals with industry, Messina and Baucus chief of staff Jon Selib were also pushing major healthcare companies and trade associations to pour millions of dollars into TV ads defending the bill….

Messina was adamant about shielding Baucus from any public pressure, whether it be concerns over the absence of a public option in the Finance Committee bill or his fruitless negotiations with GOP senators, Kirsch says. “The aggressive suppression of outside pressure was done by Messina,” he adds. “I can’t imagine that the president knew about it.” Messina and his allies tried to stop HCAN from sending a letter to senators expressing displeasure with Baucus’s bill and also tried to prevent the group from running a TV ad praising the House version of the bill. HCAN’s organizer in Montana, Molly Moody, was banned from Baucus’s office and prevented from attending his public events.

Coddling Wall Street, expressing an elite disdain for grassroots advocacy (over much preferred corporate lobbyists), and viewing social issues as an unpleasant side show (if not viewing them with outright hostility)? Why, he's a perfect Tory!

The day after seeing the Cameron golden throne photo, something else caught my eye:

Jim Messina and John Podesta, top former aides to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton respectively, are currently in talks to co-chair a board backing Hillary Clinton — a plan that, should it come to fruition, would be a dramatic early symbol of party unity behind the former secretary of state.

Three sources with knowledge of the plans said Messina, an Obama insider who ran the president’s campaign last year, and Podesta, a longtime advisor to Bill Clinton, are in discussions to join the board of Priorities USA, the multimillion-dollar super PAC that backed President Obama’s reelection effort last year.

The men would chair a board of former elected officials and donors who would announce their support for Clinton’s possible White House bid in 2016. Messina’s presence, in particular, would signal that key Obama loyalists have lined up behind Clinton and are ready to essentially forgo a primary.

That's right: the man who will be heading the efforts for the Tories' re-election in 2015, further inflicting painful cuts on the UK's poor and middle-class, might be the same one behind Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. It really makes you feel ready for Hillary, doesn't it?

In my humble opinion, any Democratic consultant who campaigns for a center-right/right-wing party in another country should become persona non grata in Democratic circles at home. If the Democratic Party wants to profess "progressive values," it should employ or associate with consultants who push reactionary values elsewhere.

Back in April, Salon writer Alex Pareene invented something called the "Mark Penn test" for Hillary Clinton's candidacy:

The question for someone considering whether or not to support Clinton in 2016 is, will a Clinton 2016 campaign pass the Mark Penn Test? The Mark Penn Test, which I just invented, determines whether or not a person should be trusted with the presidency, based solely on one criterion: Whether or not they pay Mark Penn to do anything for their campaign. Paying Mark Penn means you’ve failed the Mark Penn Test.
I'd like to invent a complementary test: the Jim Messina test. The instructions are the same.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your citations confirm 2 things: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, betterdemsonly, bumbi, lunachickie

    1. Obama did not have full Dem support when we had control of Congress.

    2. A Hillary candidacy will not be helpful. We need to support other candidates.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:19:29 PM PST

  •  Will Hillary Clinton Have the Same Advisers (7+ / 0-)

    as Barack Obama? Will she have as an advisor the man who ran Obama's 2012 campaign?

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:22:28 PM PST

  •  Here, here!! (3+ / 0-)

    I'd like to invent a complementary test: the Jim Messina test. The instructions are the same.

    .. why are some groups so invested in not having a primary?

  •  So Obama advisor persona non grata (5+ / 0-)

    to Hillary?

    •  This particular Cameron advisor? (3+ / 0-)

      I can see why some want him to be a persona non grata in Dem. circles.
      My particular answer? I don't give a flying f*ck.
      I will judge judge candidates on their actions (including their previous votes),their words and what they espouse policy wise.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:53:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This particular SENIOR OBAMA advisor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, Radiowalla

        Why is the word Obama so verboten in these diaries you think?

        •  Do a search & find (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, lunachickie, chuckvw, Chi

          Do I mention Messina's position in the Obama campaign? On multiple occasions. And I criticized his role in the Obama administration and campaign because he manifested a consistent preference for corporate interests over the progressive grassroots. If you missed that, go back and read it. I cited an excellent article by Ari Berman of the Nation from March 2011.

          Come 2015 and 2016, though, his most recent background will be that of the guy who managed the Tories' campaign. And that will be a campaign to sell failed austerity policies to the British public, policies that will inflict even more suffering on students, on the elderly, on the low-income, and on the struggling middle-class. And it will be the campaign of an administration with no regard for a free press. Working for that campaign is a statement of values. If Messina shared progressive values, he wouldn't be working for a conservative party.

          And even if he didn't go over and work for the Tories, I still wouldn't want him to be a top campaign adviser for the reasons I note in the diary re: his disdain for progressive grassroots advocacy. We don't eve need to look to his behavior abroad to see that he is more at home with corporate lobbyists than with progressive activists.

        •  Is it? I count 12 references (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to President Obama in this diary.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 09:27:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  In Seattle: Sawant, Peters, Boeing, $15 SeaTac (7+ / 0-)

    1. Kshama Sawant is a declared Socialist who ran on a VERY populist message.
    Her platform was ANTI-Corp-0-RAT and she disposed a 16 year Corp-0-rat veteran on city council. Most of my lefty Dem facebook friends voted for her (including ME.) Her election was a nail biter in our vote-by-mail ballots-need-to-be-postmarked-on-election-day system. Had she not been upfront about being a Socialist, she would have just flat out kicked Conlin's ass. I'm really scratching my head at where she's gonna go - it ain't gonna be "away".

    2. Sue Peters won a school board race against a highly endorsed by the Democratic In Club toady to all things bill gate$ - getting outspent about $200,000+ to appx. $30,000. The toady's list of contributors was a who's who of charter school proponents and Microsoft millionaires ... ya know, the kind that send their kids to great private schools and what to outsource all the public schools!

    3. Boeing got a HUGE special session Corp-0-RAT give away from our Democratic cowardly legislature, and our cowardly Patty Murray U.S. Senator & Governor Jay Inslee threw Boeing workers under the bus, saying it was up to Boeing working stiffs to accept all kinds of givebacks to kiss Boeings ass, AND
    Boeing workers rejected the giveaway contract!
    4. Seattle's airport is south of town in a motel-hotel-strip-mall zone, AND, an initiative to require a $15 an hour minimum wage at the airport has won - although, the margin was so close there will be a mandatory recount.

    The "I Welcome Their Hatred" branch of populists / Democrats seems to be stirring in Seattle!

    And, by the way - Jim Messina and ALL his fucking sell outs can kiss my ass, forever. I voted Dim-0-Crap from 1978 to 2008 so I could get sould out to f'king AHIP and Wall Street? Their LOTE LOTE LOTE branch of non racists, non sexist, non 13th century family planning droolers is politically dead to me.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:58:21 PM PST

  •  Hillary Clinton will advocate Marxism with public (9+ / 0-)

    executions of the rich, or feeding the 1% with the children of the Lesser Sort, whichever polling tells her will win the election.

    Then she'll go on to do whatever is best for her.

    You want More of the Same that we've been seeing since Reagan? Get Hillary and you'll get it.

    I'll vote for Hillary the day she takes the tens of millions she and Bill have earned while in public life (or is it hundreds by now?) ...

    when she takes some of that money and flies every family member to the graves and hospital beds of all the Americans and Iraqis who lost life, limb, and joy as a result of her not even fucking reading Bush's official justification for attacking Iraq, and she gets down on her knees and begs forgiveness.

    Every Senator who did read it, said it was transparent bullshit.

    But Hillary had her ambition to 'be President so I'll have to look tough, so fuck 'em all!' thing going.

    Vote Hillary if you want More of the Same.

    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 04:00:03 PM PST

    •  Do you vote for Biden? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Kerry? I guess you haven't voted the Democratic ticket since 2000.

      "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

      by randomfacts on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 04:36:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She's pure sleaze in my book. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seabos84, chuckvw

        And, in fact, the only Democratic candidate I've withheld my vote from in over forty years of voting.

        She'll give us more of the same shit we've been seeing since Reagan: you're not going to deny that are you?

        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:05:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, so (0+ / 0-)

          All your self righteous bullshit about coffins was just a cover for your political preferences. Disgusting. Our veterans who died in Iraq deserve better than that.

          "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

          by randomfacts on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:18:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell me she'll do more than serve the 1%. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quill, chuckvw

            You won't cause you can't. And you know you can't; and you know she won't.

            Thanks for the demonstration.

            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:23:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  PS: It was Kerry or Bush and Biden (0+ / 0-)

              was never on a ticket to be President, so why don't you stop throwing out your asshole ad hominems, eh?

              I'll tell you why. Because you know Hillary is purely about self-service and nothing else. And you know you can't deny it without looking even more like an asshole than your ad hominem makes you look.

              Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

              by Jim P on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:26:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Note he doesn't respond to your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P

          points/demands... he just wants to know who you're going to vote for...


          "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

          by Superpole on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 03:50:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's unfair to Hillary (14+ / 0-)

      because based on what I've seen of her, she doesn't even bother with the pretense of being left-wing anymore.

      Upon stepping down as Secretary of State, her immediate concern was apparently to collect money from the world's biggest banks. Half a million from Goldman Sachs in one week for two speeches. Populism, lol.

      When she stumped for Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, her main theme was the need for more centrism in Washington - and keep in mind this was in the immediate aftermath of the government shutdown. Her idea was not to kick the Republicans out, but for the parties to work together, whatever that means. The Clintons were also quick to criticize Obama on the ACA.

      Then of course there's Bill Clinton caught on tape admitting his sympathies for Paul Ryan's budget plan which would have privatized Medicare.

      It really is amazing...I don't see how a single real Democrat can support Hillary, and yet you see people who should know better with "Ready for Hillary" signatures on their posts.

      Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist. —George Orwell

      by ukit on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 04:39:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think Hillary's much of a Democrat (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ukit, tardis10, lunachickie, chuckvw, petral

        I've been blasted a few times here for saying it, but I've been consistently saying it since '08: I do not perceive her to hold basic Democratic Party values, not economically, not in terms of foreign policy, and not in terms of social justice in many cases. I also don't think she's very smart or savvy (and what I mean by this is simply that a huge gaffe like lying about being under Bosnian sniper fire is going to kill ones' ethos just like a huge vote like for the cluster bomb with its 90+% civilian casualty rate in heavily populated areas is going to do damage to ones' ethics). I try to see what people find appealing about her, but other than that's she's got a "D" next to her name, and that I'm female and thus understand how awesome it would be to have a female president -- just not that one -- I don't see HOW she's much of a Democrat?

        If you just lay her policies out and positions out and attached them to no name, I believe many would guess she were a moderate Republican. I know she IS a Democrat, but the old Goldwater girl in her seems to still have that mindset. Also, so much money. So corporate. All those ties to weird world regimes too. Not copacetic to me.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:31:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This diary is like a rubber band, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, Radiowalla

    because it's a stretch.

  •  And did you laugh like hell at this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, tardis10
    Jim Messina and John Podesta, top former aides to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton respectively, are currently in talks to co-chair a board backing Hillary Clinton — a plan that, should it come to fruition, would be a dramatic early symbol of party unity

    In what fucking alternate universe is this party "unified" over Hillary Clinton?  

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 09:59:53 PM PST

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