The Two Machines
by Matt Stoller, Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 09:37:28 AM EDT
We're at the point in this campaign where everyone's attention span drops to zero. It's all GOTV from here on out, which is ironic because the media glare is increasing exponentially. The stakes feel higher for the higher ups, but they are actually decreasing in importance as it's the foot soldiers that now matter.
This is true on both sides.
Ok, so why is this race tightening? Who knows? And who knows if it is tightening? I think there's a good chance that the Q-poll is an outlier, and I'm not changing my prediction. But if it is tightening, my guess is that there are a combination of factors at work. First of all, don't underestimate Connecticut machine. Machines are very powerful. Did I say very powerful? I meant very very powerful. They produce money, votes, and logistics, and they do it reliably, every year, for offices big and small. The people embedded in these machines are trusted, and can create the kinds of whisper campaigns that make voters just uncomfortable enough with change to keep them in power. 'Who is Ned Lamont' is a high barrier to get over. Most Connecticut papers endorsed Lieberman, which lends added credibility to the machine echo chamber.
A sign that the machine is putting everything on the line is that they are sending the kitchen sink into Connecticut. It's not just Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Even wonder-politico Corey Booker is out of the closet as a Lieberman backer, stumping for him yesterday.
Mr. Booker said Mr. Lieberman, who he has come to know through the Democratic Leadership Council, asked him to campaign with him earlier last week.
"On every key issue to our community, he has been there," Mr. Booker said in an interview. "We are coming up on a presidential election and we cannot push out someone who has been very strong in our party. We are going to make it very easy for Republicans to push us into a corner."
Lots of big time names have come out for Lieberman in this campaign. Booker is an interesting choice, clearly calculated as a surrogate who can energize the African-American community, which has been the focal point ever since the convention showed that the suburban areas were trending towards Lamont.
So that's my sense of what's going on in a larger sense. There are two streams in play, the old machine politics, with its rumor-mongering about Ned Lamont through the old channels, the gossips, the single-issue groups, the national reporters, the lobbists, the local press, the patronage players in cities, and old union guys. And the new stream, internet-driven, intersecting with progressive organizers, churches, barbershops and small town squares.
Both have their media streams, pools of money, ideology, ground troops, and desired way of running the country. Clearly, the new politics is ascendant, and the moment is upon us where the strength of that ascendance becomes clear to more than the influential primary universe.