Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Democrats and Liberal Democrats Abroad

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 15th April, 2011

One thing that goes in Barack Obama’s favour as he heads into the 2012 US presidential election race is that Americans have usually granted a second term to an incumbent seeking re-election, with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter in 1980. Bill Barnard, International Treasurer of Democrats Abroad (and immediate past Chairman of the organisation’s UK chapter) told the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) at Europe House today that another advantage Obama has is that as yet no substantial Republican challenger has been identified. Sarah Palin’s star is in the wane, he believes, even if she still has high name recognition. I pointed out that many people in Britain are horrified by suggestions that this might be the first ‘billion dollar election campaign’, but Bill says there is little chance of UK-style spending limitations being adopted State-side. Being able to contribute as much as one wants to a campaign is seen as an extension of the right to free speech, he commented. That means that branches of Democrats abroad are expected to raise large sums of money for US elections. At a dinner in London for Al Gore, for example, tables were filled with US expats prepared to pay $10,000 a plate. I can’t see many British expats being ready to stump up such sums, nonetheless the Liberal Democras are now building up a network of chapters abroad. Brussels and Luxembourg, not surprisingly, has had one for some time; many pro-Europeans are naturally attracted to the LibDems. Recently a second branch was launched in Hong Kong. Other should follow soon, including, one hopes, in the United States.


2 Responses to “Democrats and Liberal Democrats Abroad”

  1. Joe said

    “but Bill says there is little chance of UK-style spending limitations being adopted State-side.”

    Which suddenly silenced the faux “good governance” types on the left, as they can shake down industries, unions, school teachers, and the rest of their patronage structure and spend the independant-minded into oblivion.
    The Donkey Party has in the past few months demonstrated its’ glee at the notion that they will be spending over one billion dollars in 2012 in an effort to outspend thei ropponents by 2:1.

    Effectively, this is the buying of an election, using as an instrument organizational structures that are inherently in a minority in order to impose power on a majority. It’s leftism at work renaming its’ venal tools as being “for the peoples”. Having once lived in the DDR, the rhetoric has a disappointing familiarity: the simple idea is that “the people” can themselved be bought by handing over a stock set of pre-packaged promises of material goods and instruments.

    As “a people”, we aren’t that foolish, or idiotic enough to call that kind of venality “historic,” “transformational,” or “liberating.” It’s old-fashioned local racketeer-style politics founded entirely on buiding a political empire, using the largest, most creeping form of government possible to enlarge the political and economic power of its’ leaders and patrons. Building structures of that sort are founded on the paranoid idea that “a way around” the voter is needed. To hell with them.

  2. Ian Sanderson (RM3) said

    A pedant writes:
    The other more recent elected incumbent who was defeated the second time was, of course, the elder George Bush in 1992.
    I make the distinction of elected incumbent because a number of US presidents were elected as Vice-President, not President.

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