The Pre-Debate Rally, and Alan Schlesinger Perot
by Matt Stoller, Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 08:08:08 AM EDT
Today there's a debate at 3pm, which for some reason won't be broadcast until tomorrow evening, and will have very limited media coverage. I don't get it. But then this has been the weirdest race of the cycle, by far.
The big story is Alan Schlesinger, who is figuring as the Ross Perot of the race, the cranky and loveable conservative who appeals to the low information voter that is angry at the system and mostly libertarian in outlook. These voters span the parties, with the unifying issue an anger at immigration and a lack of belief in the ability of government to change their economic status. Schlesinger is furious at Lieberman and the Republican Party for throwing him under the bus, and he is ignoring their memo that he soft-pedal attacks on Joe. The response from the Lieberman camp, through surrogates of course, is going to be furious. You'll see a huge amount of dirt leaked on Schlesinger, mostly because Joe's vindictive nature applies to anyone who challenges him. It's not clear to me if this is going to work or create a backlash, since people like Schlesinger who buck the system have a kind of teflon coating against nasty personal attacks. The kinds of attacks that are coming are going to lend themselves very well to a candidate whose essential message is that the Republicans can go fuck themselves.
So that's the story of the race right now. I'm sitting at the University of Connecticut, waiting for a rally with Ned to begin with law students and professors. This is a friendly area for Ned, with Lamont signs on the lawns of houses all over the place. Smart campaigns fire up their candidates with pre-debate rallies, because debates are a mental contest as much as they are about substance.
The rally is beginning now, and Ned's about to speak. The room is packed with students.
UPDATE: I added some more pictures to the flickr set, and I have some video snippets of Ned speaking. He's fired up.