by William Skink
Perennial Democrat organizer/cheerleader/true-believer, Nathan Kosted, is really lip-sticking the old pig in this gushing post about the annual gaggle of Democrats feasting at the Truman Dinner. But I’m glad I powered through my initial gag-reflex to read this little tid-bit about who Democrats thought it wise to feature as their keynote speaker:
Jim Messina was the keynote speaker and through a slew of gosh darnits and self-deprecating stories about his time in D.C. he shared some notes for 2020.
I agreed with Jim Messina on one main point he made:
“Polling sucks. Don’t Believe the Polls.”
Messina’s quote comes from experience, but it’s not the kind of experience Democrats would want to hear. Why? Because in 2015 Messina used his skill set to help Conservatives in Britain and he actually played a role in creating the conditions for Brexit to happen.
I wrote about this last year when Jim Messina was offering to volunteer his data prowess to help the University of Montana because he’s pals with Seth Bodnar’s wife. Here is one of the excerpts I selected for that post about Messina’s time in the UK:
Despite telling Politico in 2013 that he would only work for causes he believed in, Messina hopped the pond and signed on to advise U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s 2015 reelection campaign. The American media was left a bit confused by this sudden change of allegiance, having swallowed whole the Democratic line that Obama didn’t really mean his center-right policies. The Conservatives ended up gaining seats and winning a working majority after governing in coalition with the Liberal Democrats for five years. However, the circumstances of the election made it a pyrrhic victory for Cameron. Many of the seats the Conservatives won were taken from Liberal Democrats, who had supported Cameron’s agenda anyway. To appease the far-right U.K. Independence Party, Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership if he was reelected. The campaign to Vote Leave turned out to be far more popular than expected, forcing Cameron to actively campaign against a referendum he initially proposed. Messina was central to this campaign as well, and he assured the Conservatives that his famous data-heavy modeling foresaw Britain remaining in the EU. The result of the vote, however, was the exact opposite, with 52 percent voting to leave the EU, and Cameron resigned as Prime Minister the next day.
I guess the “data-heavy modeling” was just as sucky as the polling.
If it was just helping to enable Brexit, that would be bad enough for Messina. But it gets worse. Here’s the other relevant excerpt Montana Democrats need to be reminded about:
The same process repeated the next year in Italy, when Democratic Prime Minister Matteo Renzi proposed a national referendum to reform Italy’s parliamentary structure. Renzi hired Messina to oversee the “yes” campaign, which lost by a staggering 20 percent. Renzi also resigned the next day. Messina’s next project was to co-chair Priorities USA Action, the main Hillary Clinton SuperPAC. Five days before last year’s presidential election, Messina published an op-ed in the New York Times confidently downplaying fears of a “Brexit-style shock,” which turned out to be exactly what happened. Clinton’s campaign was “leveraging the power of data to find every last vote they can,” he wrote, unaware that the Clinton campaign’s faith in the power of data would turn out to be one of their greatest weaknesses. Trump, who ran the most amateurish major party campaign in living memory, beat Clinton’s team of world-renowned experts.
Picking this electoral loser to be a key note speaker is a weird choice for Montana Democrats. Do they have zero institutional memory? Do they want to lose? Are they that nostalgic for the Obama era that they are willing to overlook everything Messina has done since?
Another notable presence at the Truman Dinner was Max Baucus. Max represents a time when a Montana Democrat had serious institutional power as chair of the finance committee and he knew how to use that power to keep those pesky Progressives in check.
Again, I am left to wonder if Montana Democrats have any sense of the past. How clueless does one have to be to write stuff like this?
Former Senator and Ambassador Max Baucus told long tales of his accomplishments and jokes and stated for the record that when talking to Democrats:
“I appreciate criticism.”
I enjoyed having a good conversation with Senator and Ambassador Baucus. I thanked him for his work in the Senate and his work to bring healthcare to Montanans with the Affordable Care Act. It has directly impacted my family in many ways and thanked him several times for getting it over the finish line.
Sure, Max appreciates criticism. What part of Kosted’s brain is kept from properly functioning in order for him to pass along this crap without the appropriate context, like how Baucus SUPPRESSED CRITICISM of the ACA by shutting out supporters of Universal Health Care?
In September of 2017, Baucus claims to have come around on universal health care, but as
this Chicago Tribune piece correctly points out, when Baucus and the Democrats had super majority power, he knew what he had to do, and that was shutting out criticism. From the link:
Eight years ago, as a once-in-a-generation Democratic Senate supermajority debated health care reform, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., kept their focus narrow. As the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was focused on passing a reform bill that moderate Republicans could support. At one point, he had single-payer health care supporters removed from a hearing; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., an advocate for Canada-style universal coverage, set up a meeting to tide them over. But he did not expect much from Baucus.
“[Is he open] to single-payer?” Sanders asked rhetorically. “Not in a million years.”
Democrats are going to keep losing if they keep doing the same shit and expecting different results. It’s beyond frustrating to watch. In Montana this will mean losing the veto protection of the Governor’s office. Nationally, we’re looking at the reelection of Donald Trump.
Maybe it’s easier to just keep losing and searching for scapegoats, that way the party will never have to acknowledge how their own actions and failed strategies have gotten us to this turning point in American history.