I predict a rally attended by maybe 50k maybe slightly more a ceiling of about 75k pretty close to the Freedomworks rally but nowhere near Beck’s. Stewart is a legitimate star as is Colbert, the idea of what their fans consider and “open air show” and what the establishment left consider their best chance to convince their base that they have a chance will help bump the numbers up porta potty issue or no.
The draw will come in three flavors. The primary flavor that decided to go right at the start will be college age Comedy Central fans. They are coming for fun, and if Arianna Huffington and Oprah want to pay their way so much the better. Their purpose is not primarily political (although some might have strong political beliefs) they are there for a good time, some partying and the hope of getting laid. (yeah that’s blunt but true)
The secondary flavor will be the Democratic political class/Unions. There are the hardcore dems who hope to use this rally in the way that OneNation was supposed to be used, to convince the democratic base that they have momentum. They are aware that the MSM are going to do their best to advance this narrative so Union leaders and Various activists will compel their membership to go. I suspect they will be dwarfed by the first flavor and will find the Stewart fans a whole lot less enthusiastic for what they are selling.
The final flavor will be the true believes like the lady I met in Newton two weeks ago they believe in Obama, Obamacare, global warming, cap and trade, etc. This includes a lot of the socialist groups that attended one nation in the hopes of getting joiners contributes. They will be the smallest group and their reaction will be based on how they look at it. Publicly they will talk numbers and be “inspired”, privately they will notice that the non-activists have very little interest in their causes. Watch their body language when they get home, it will speak volumes.
This I have absolutely no idea about, don’t know what Stewart is planning, how he is planning it, how much will be comedy and how he intends to do it. Since his primary shtick is to play off of others I don’t know how he does that. Will he show parts of the Beck rally and comment? Will he try to parody bits and pieces of it? Will Colbert do a fake Beck while Stewart laughs at him? I’m presuming that he has good writers but there is a difference between writing for a live show with an audience that he can’t predict vs a studio audience. I’m presuming Stewart’s team is likely to and has been collaborating as much as possible with the democratic left to whatever degree they can without risking their brand. I also trust Stewart’s team will make sure that there is not trash left everywhere.
The media is in the worst of all positions. They support this march and the goals of all three groups. They will be portraying the march in the most favorable light possible, but people from the right will be there with cameras and phones tweeting so they are in a box. If the attendance numbers are VERY low then they will be very embarrassed since the story will be of an epic fail. If the air photo is smaller than Beck’s by degrees as I suspect they will be it will be used against the media as it portrays it as a win. If there is drunkenness and public nastiness then it is going to be shown by conservatives but ignored by the media. If the crowd gets too rowdy and/or destructive then the story and the narrative goes very astray. I don’t know if CSPAN will cover the rally, if they do then watch out. Bottom line, the media has a narrative they have already written and are hoping for, everything will depend on how far from that narrative that the actual event goes.
The End Result
Bill Press is exactly right in on respect, activists here are wasted instead of being in the field. A lot of the young people there frankly are not likely to be getting OTHERS out to vote and I suspect the greatest quantities are already coming from the bluest of areas. This is not going to create any actual votes but it might allow the media to try to push a narrative of democratic momentum in the last 48 hours.
In the end The Sunday and Monday shows will be all over this, if it is a success they will trumpet it, if it mediocre they will pretend it is a success, if it is a failure and/or an embarrassment then they will declare it simply a comedy show and nothing else. The problem for the media however is they no longer have the monopoly on the message and the alternative message will be getting out in real-time via twitter and the blogs.
What started as a show/publicity stunt has basically become a high stakes risk for Stewart and Comedy Central. If they make democrats look bad he will find there is plenty of room under the Obama/Democratic bus. If he pulls it off then he will have even more power then the left has already ceded him. God help him if it is boring.
I will know if I’m right within 48 hours, so will you.
BTW how telling is it that there is not a single Memeorandum thread on this subject at this time 7:48 a.m. Could it be that the media has already decided it will not pan out and is starting to downplay it?
Update: One thing I neglected to mention. Politics aside Stewart’s primary goals for the rally are tied up with fans of the show and the audience there. The lefts & the media’s goals (I know redundant) are tied up with the viewing public not there.
Update 2: My God that was boring. He did however draw more folks then I thought but not nearly as many as Beck.
Update 3: Pajamas Media has some more and wider shot photos and better methodology (including the ridiculous CBS stuff) Still not as much Beck but still pretty impressive. This quote is vital:
Big name acts, extensive crowd control, rules against video or audio taping even with your cell phone, boring political speeches … this wasn’t a rally, this was a U2 concert!
And that tells us the real story: they held a rock/comedy concert, with pro acts including two of the hottest TV comedians around, and professional production, with free admission and with Arianna Huffington paying for bus rides — and no matter what you think a “dense” crowd is, it was still only about six-tenths of Beck’s open-air church service.
Actually I thought the acts were so so (I thought the dueling trains stuff was very clever) but I think the real question that I still don’t have a good answer on is the composition. I’ll keep digging