–post debate update–
UPDATE: Tweeted the debate for those wanting a rundown. Sharron Angle passed the “I’m not crazy test” easily, which could prove real trouble for Reid. Much of the debate was painful to watch. The screen capture tweet here is the bottom line. Angle was prepared, Reid wasn’t.
~~~~~~~~~~~original post below~~~~~~~~~~
James Fallows is as good as they come on China, but saying Christine O’Donnell “could be more dangerous than Sarah Palin” is evidence that he’s not been in the loop since summer 2009, when Palin ignited the Tea Party force that is causing Democrats and Republicans a lot of extra work. Like so many others, Fallows neglects Palin’s political rise in Alaska, which came at the expense of the Republican Party establishment and the leading family in that state, the Murkowskis, against whom Sarah is still waging war. Christine O’Donnell is the bargain basement version of Sarah Palin, even though Ms. O’Donnell’s accomplished in front of the camera on sound bite conversations, as we saw last night, she’s not close to being able to finesse her way through a debate. She just happened to finally have her perpetual campaigns happen in the right year at the right time. But Ms. O’Donnell is only the opening act for the big event that happens tonight in Nevada.
Sen. Reid has been written off so many times in the last year I’ve lost count. His network inside the state is as formidable as it comes, so for good reason he has stayed in the game. But against Sharron Angle everyone believed Reid would finally slip through. It’s not been so easy.
Put another way: This is Angle’s “I am not a witch” moment.
She will stand on stage opposite Reid, the most powerful Democratic Senator in Washington, for an hour. The trick for Angle is to look like she belongs, to show that she can handle non-scripted questions and demonstrate the sorts of thinking-on-your-feet- skills most people expect in their senator.
“If she can hold her own, look senatorial next to the majority leader, that could assuage doubts the Reid campaign has raised,” said Jon Ralston, the state’s leading political reporter. “But if she looks unsure, says something bizarre, that could drive people to Reid or none of the above.”
Ms. Angle’s bar is much lower than “I am not a witch.” Nevada isn’t Delaware, with likely voters more than ready to vote against Reid, but also Pres. Obama, who lingers over the midterms more than the White House will openly admit. In Nevada that’s certainly true, because he didn’t win any points by suggesting companies not bring their events to Las Vegas. You just don’t do that to a state that’s been the hardest hit by the recession in the country. Nevadans love Las Vegas, it was a slight that many took personally.