Tuesday 30 June 2009

Osborne's Dubya masterclass

While on the subject of the Progressive Conservatives, James Forsyth in the Spectator CoffeeHouse reminds us how much George Osborne's campaigning strategy has sought to learn from George W Bush:

He cites this 2004 Osborne Times op-ed in which a hyper-enthused Osborne reports back from the Republican Convention.

Osborne argued that Bush offered the Tories a masterclass in political campaigning, even if it was already clear how disappointing his supposedly compassionate conservatism had proved in office.

Osborne wrote that the trick is to keep the base happy, but to always put a moderate face out to the public.

Another very keen Dubya admirer is ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie. (He promised write a 10-part "legacy" series on The Things He Got Right: though I can only see four of them archived. If he ever completed the task, we'll add further links if we're sent them. Fair and balanced here, you see).

Montgomerie echoes Osborne in writing today that:

moderation of style is probably a lot more important than moderation of policy in reassuring the electorate (if reassurance is the goal).

Nobody could doubt how far the New Tories will go to show that they have taken that lesson to heart.

But what about this one which Osborne thought was pretty pivotal back in 2004?

Parties face a choice about whether to talk up their country’s future or warn it’s going to the dogs. Blue skies or black skies ahead? Mr Bush’s campaigning suggests blue skies every time. And it makes sense. No electorate wants to be told their best days are behind them.

Not sure the Tories quite kept it positive in 2005.

It does not seem to be where they are heading for 2010 either.

And let's hope the Progressive Conservative George W Bush fan club might also search out one or two "how not to" lessons from the Dubya Presidency too.

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