Recently in Legislature Category
Barack Obama will go down in history as a politician future generations can learn a lot from. Regardless of what happens in this year's mid-terms or at the next presidential elections, the rulebook he's already started writing will be cited for decades to come.
There's the way he went from outsider to Democrat candidate, the way he tapped into lots of small donations to see off his cash-rich republican rivals, not to mention the way he, finally, forced his healthcare reforms through.
This last month, however, there's another lesson which can be added to the book - the one where Obama proved you should think very carefully before you, if a national politician, wade into a local issue.
Regular readers of this blog will know I'm no fan of George Osborne. The illusion that he was some sort of political genius capable of plotting the return of the Tories to Number 10 in a landslide election was shattered in March.
His inability to tap into the public mood cost the Tories dear on election day - it's pretty much the key skill any election strategist needs. His voice, whiny like a spluttering lawnmower, has all the public appeal of a band of vuvuzelas on Remembrance Sunday.
The Tories still don't grasp that, when talking about financial pain, the phrase 'we're all in this together' carries little impact if uttered by someone who is clearly immune to recession thanks to personal family (inherited to married into) fortune.
Whenever the mayoral debate raises it head, you can put money on the following sentence coming out of the Westminster bubble: "In Hartlepool, they voted for a monkey. A monkey!"
And so it proved when the Tories dusted down the elected mayoral policy last week. Stick the phrase "conservatives elected mayors monkey" through Google and you get 155,000 results, normally originating from very people who don't like the idea of an elected mayor - generally politicians already in local office or senior council executives.
Well here's a newsflash: Stuart Drummond, the independent mayor of Hartlepool who was the local football team's mascot has been in office since 2002. And the people of Hartlepool keep re-electing him.
So he must be doing something right. Compare Mr Drummond's position to that of the elected mayor in Stoke-on-Trent, which did away with the office earlier this year after public referendum on the issue.
Annoyingly, given it's the summer, it becomes very easy for politicians and their spokesmen to write off any story they don't like as "silly season" speculation.
And while the nonsense around the "who is running the country now that Harriet and Peter have left the country" probably belongs in that category, attempts by the Tories to put the VAT splash in the Sunday Telegraph into the same box are fanciful at best.
This smacks more of the Tories pushing out an idea - something of a quick fix to the problems they'll face should they win next year's general election - on a quiet news weekend to see the reaction.
THERE are sadistic few who enjoy watching a wounded animal staggering around and lashing out while its tormentors hold back from going in for the kill.
Which is probably what makes Prime Ministers' Questions such a sad spectacle at the moment.
Gordon Brown is on the ropes, but no-one seems prepared - or capable - of delivering that knock-out blow that would put him out of his misery.
Tormentor-in-chief, David Cameron, seems happy just to thrust political gossip - such the rumour that Brown's been throwing printers around - back at the prime minister, while mocking the PM's attempts to hit back with a quick one-liner.