Some Labour tweeters and bloggers appear to have gone into meltdown over the news that the Conservatives have hired Obama campaign strategist Jim Messina. Why?
Should Labour be worried that the Tories have hired Jim Messina? I don’t think so. I’m not convinced its a game changer, or even that is that significant. OK, we’re all disappointed that a leading Democrat is working for the Tories, but I’m not convinced that he’ll make that big a difference. US politics isn’t UK politics and there is a limit to how much can be learnt from the US where politics is dominated by the sort of big money that UK political parties (and the professionals that work with them) can only dream about. It also means that the Tories risk stalemate at the top table with too many chiefs trying to direct the braves.
The hiring of Messina means little in itself. However, it does highlight where Labour is weak. The leadership appear to be obsessed with hiring media and press specialists, or even digital specialists. But we appear to be putting little emphasis on a senior real communications and campaign strategist. Most ex-journalists don’t do the transition to communications strategy very well.
It does all rather bring to mind The West Wing where Bartlett’s second term campaign manager Bruno Gianelli switched sides to work with Senator Vinnick against Matt Santos and Josh Lyman.