The New Haven Independent has a great, in-depth article about the netroots efforts to draft Ron Paul economic adviser Peter Schiff into running against Sen. Chris Dodd in 2010.
They’re planning a “moneybomb” for tomorrow, which is a one-day fundraising effort designed to make headlines like the ones used to propel Ron Paul into the national news. The idea is to raise enough money that Peter Schiff will be forced to run! He won’t be able to say no!
Except that it seems that Schiff has other plans. Here’s what he has to say:
“I’m not running for anything. They’re hoping if they can raise a lot of money and start an organization, they can convince me and draft me into a senate campaign. I think it is a longshot,” he said. “Is it impossible? Nothing is impossible. Is there is a slim chance? The odds are I’m not going to do it. It’s just not something I think is the best use of my time. Even if I could become a senator, I don’t know what the hell I could do! I would be one guy out of a hundred.” (Bass)
That doesn’t sound like a guy who is going to be impressed by whatever the netroots manage to do tomorrow.
Paul Bass makes some comparisons between the netroots-driven Lamont campaign and the activity surrounding Schiff, and there are certainly a few parallels to draw. The Lamont campaign drew in activists from all over the country, and used the power of the national liberal blogosphere to drum up support and raise surprising sums of money.
However, the Lamont campaign, at its heart, was a Connecticut operation. Sure, a lot of people and money came in from outside, but Lamont successfully capitalized on long-running doubts among Connecticut Democrats about Joe Lieberman, on strong anti-war and anti-Bush feelings in the state at the time, and on the state’s strong liberal tradition. Lamont did as well as he did because there was already an audience here to receive and support his message.
I don’t see that aspect of a Schiff candidacy yet. The people who are trying to get Schiff to run are Californians. Where are the local people working to get this man to run? Where’s the libertarian wing of the Republican Party in Connecticut? Where are the Connecticut Ron Paul supporters who would propel him to victory over Chris Dodd?
Well, to put it bluntly, they barely exist. Ron Paul won about 4% of the vote in the 2008 Republican primary, so apparently Paul’s economic message did not resonate even with Connecticut Republicans. Also, it seems that Schiff’s support right now is mainly coming from out of state.
The Other Candidate
There may in fact be an enthusiastic audience for a candidate who could embody the frustrations voters feel with Washington on economic issues, but it seems more and more likely that that candidate will be the more mainstream Rob Simmons. Unlike Schiff, Simmons has actually expressed strong interest in running, and would instantly have the state GOP apparatus behind him. Schiff would not.
UPDATE: For more evidence that Simmons is strongly leaning towards running, see this clip from WFSB. Simmons will appear on Face the State this weekend.
Let’s see what the netroots will do for Peter Schiff tomorrow. They might raise a ton of money. But watch carefully, and see just how much of that money actually comes from Connecticut.
Bass, Paul. “Peter Schiff “Moneybomb” Set To Explode.” New Haven Independent 19 February, 2009.