The Two Machines

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.

Tags: Connecticut, CT-Sen, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: The Two Machines

Matt

It's Debra, the person at the desk next to you. I have had to return to put out fires at work.

I was the one who had more Lieberman supporters than you did when I called. I have done thousands of hours of phonebanking, run phone banks, canvassed and I can often sense the way things are going.  I wasn't feeling good. I was concerned by something that was being said to me by all the waverers.

I think Joe finally had an effective ad. The  radio ad talking about Ned's membership in the Greenwich country club.  People treated it like it was only about the African American voter, but it also seems to have had an effect on some progressives and others who are concerned by the effect money has on politics.

All my waverers,  who would talk to me,  asked about Ned and his background because they were concerned that his money and his business interests would predispose him toward money and not everyday voters ---- the poor, the  middle class.    

This is the refrain...It's politicians --- they're all the same...it doesn't matter who's in charge..... I was sensing  that it was like the end of the general in 2004 ---in a climate of fear and uncertainty --- it's better the devil you know that the devil you don't know, especially if you have been able to build some doubts about the new guy. I am concerned that the fence sitters and the ones who aren't adamantly for Ned may be slipping back over that fence to Joe.

I think the campaign needs to counter this feeling that Ned is too wealthy, born to wealth, to understand everyday people's lives.  As you and I discussed one way is to let people know from Social Security privatization to trade agreeements and job loss, to voting for the oil giants and not the voters of Conn that Joe's policies, attitudes and vote show that he's more in the hand of the special intersts than Ned.  

They need to highlight Ned concerns, compassion  and actual policies to undercut the DOUBT that these voters have about him.  

I think they need to cut a radio spot about this today and run it now.

Someone I hope is telling Tom Swan

by debcoop 2006-08-07 10:43AM | 0 recs
I think the waverers would be more likely...

...to just stay home than to "slip back over that fence to Joe." If they were considering Lamont in the first place, they obviously have some serious problems with an 18-year Senate veteran. In that case, how likely are they to show up at a primary to vote for the incumbent?

by MeanBoneII 2006-08-07 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: I think the waverers would be more likely...

I don't think that many of them are staying home. They told me they were voters and they may even decide when they get there... to the polling booth.  

by debcoop 2006-08-07 11:08AM | 0 recs
Hopefully they'll do what late-deciders usually do

And break for the challenger.

by MeanBoneII 2006-08-07 02:18PM | 0 recs
Two Streams of Humanity

Matt said:
There are two streams in play...Both have their media streams, pools of money, ideology, ground troops, and desired way of running the country.  Clearly, the new politics is ascendant...

Well said.  Needless to say, a priority should be to gather and synthesize lessons/insights related to this latest phase of the shift and what steps/tools/strategies can strengthen, accelerate and expand it, and to communicate that message throughout the netroots, and integrate it with lessons being learned elsewhere...and through that process, implement next-generation strategies and tools in November and beyond.  Just like in the web/tech world, I think the "development" cycle is starting to shrink in the netroots' development, which is a testament to its growing potency.

One of the things I love about the netroots is how many smart, energetic and inspired people are involved and how the networking and mobilization of that intelligence, creativity and energy keeps accelerating in its potency...self-organizing humanity at work (and play) is an awesome thing to behold.  It seems that a strong foundation has been established and is self-reinforcing to a large degree. That's important.

We are moving into a new era whose long-term implications are vast (and potentially very hopeful) and hard to imagine, but whose next-steps are always right in front of us and gratifying in and of themselves, which is important, since we won't "win" every battle and will take some hits along the way.  After scanning the Sunday morning shows via DVR, it was more clear than ever that many of the pundits can't perceive the unfolding reality beyond the veil of their entrenched interpretive frames and identities.  

Of course their "old" world, as Matt's comment suggests, has its own reinforcing dynamics.  But as Sterling noted in a recent Truthout piece, the combination of Internet-based and on the ground person-to-person connection-networking-cooperation-mobili zation is a powerful and positive force.  I'd argue that it fundamentally supports life and human development and that the "old" dynamic fundamentally degrades life and human development (see the signs everywhere you look).  That means we grow and they decline.  The timing of the shift and the extent of "collateral" damage associated with the decline is what remains to be seen. Hopefully we can accelerate the first and minimize the second.

by mitchipd 2006-08-07 10:53AM | 0 recs
Cory Booker

I think the Cory Booker "out of the closet" remark is really unfortunate.  This is just a reprise of the slime that Sharpe James throw out in 2002.  

If Cory Booker can help turn around Newark, that would be great for the Democratic party.  We need to have successful urban executive politicians.  It is not helpful that Guiliani (and to a lesser extent Bloomburg) has the reputation as the only politician who could restore order in NYC.  

by Ephus 2006-08-07 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Cory Booker

???

by Matt Stoller 2006-08-07 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The Two Machines

I thought Booker was the anti-machine candidate in the Newark race.  Has he cozied up to the machine since his election?  I mean, WTF?

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-08-07 01:12PM | 0 recs

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