My wife said to me yesterday evening that "Obama must be loving" the anti-capitalist protests around the U.S. Perhaps so, but they are at best a double-edged sword for Democrats.
It's possible that the President and his henchmen, Reid, Pelosi, and Trumka, believe that they can ride a wave of public anger to reelection in 13 months. But does the average American, someone who lives outside the deodorant-starved bubble of the Occupy Wherever movement, see a bunch of stoned, whining, entitled white kids as the direction she wants this nation to go?
Does any parent really hope that the Occupy-ers represent our future?
OK, they're not all white kids. There is at least one black woman involved in the movement, and she had something to say to an interviewer from reason.tv: "[My name is] Patricia McAllister. I'm here representing myself but I do work for the Los Angeles Unified School District. I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government...they need to be run out of this country." (YouTube link here.)
Do me a favor, and listen to her again. And then remind yourself: "That is today's Democratic Party."
Hey, at least they're trying for the left's vaunted goal of diversity: Not only is there one black woman among the white kids, but the protests can lay claim to an open-minded blend of hatred of capitalism and hatred of Jews. It may be that Obama and friends think this movement helps Democrats' reelection chances, but then they also think that Joe the Plumber is the bad guy. That's life through the Democrat looking-glass.
If there were any place not in need of an Occupy movement, it's Boulder, Colorado (a dozen miles from my home), which is already occupied with stoned, whining, entitled kids at the nation's leading "party school" but who now apparently think they have something to say about bank regulation. As if the hung-over students weren't enough, a bunch of whining, entitled suburban liberal adults arrived from surrounding towns to wave signs along the side of the road, including this genius woman who has a piece of tape over her infant's son's mouth and very near his nose. Perhaps she's just using oxygen deprivation to ensure he becomes a good liberal.
The Occupy Boulder mini-movement is, to quote Nancy Pelosi, largely Astroturf, having been organized by the Boulder arm of MoveOn.org. The cognitive dissonance of demanding in the same sentence "Jobs not cuts and Make Them Pay Their Fair Share!" is not felt by the Comparative Transgender Eskimo Literature majors from CU and the suburban liberals who long for their radical pot-smoking days of years past.
But is it lost on the real America? Democrats across the country are hoping -- and not without some reason -- that the nation is too poorly educated in terms of economics to understand how those two stated goals are mutually exclusive, not to mention the many errors, both numerical and philosophical of the "fair share" claim when the top one percent already pays more in income tax than the bottom 95 percent. But at some point, the truth becomes obvious even to those who haven't read Bastiat or Sowell or even the Wall Street Journal.
To be sure, there are some protesters (a small minority often recognized by their relatively better personal hygiene) who actually care about the country. Reason's Michael Tracey offers an interesting first-hand look at this subset of Occupy Wall Street protesters in his recent article entitled "Beyond the Caricatures." When I see someone with an American flag (which he is not intending to burn), I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt about his intentions. After all, there is a kernel of truth in the protesters' message when it comes to the overly cozy relationship between business and government -- a concern shared by the Tea Party movement. But that kernel gets lost in the bushel of anti-business, anti-capitalist, anti-American, and now anti-Semitic intellectual vomitus spewing from the econo-morons of the Occupy movement.
Particularly amusing are the rich white Boulderites talking about being part of the "99%" (i.e. not in the top one percent of earners who pay about 40 percent of all federal income taxes). It may be true that these people are not in the top 1 percent, but I'll bet they're in the top 5 percent. Jealousy can be so ugly.
DEMOCRATS WILL CONTINUE to spin and manipulate the Occupy movement into a positive for their electoral hopes and will try to build on the protesters' ire, as a Washington Post headline on makes plain: "Obama plans to turn anti-Wall Street anger on Mitt Romney, Republicans."
The article quotes Obama's senior attack dog, David Plouffe (which rhymes, ironically, with both "fluff" and "bluff"), as saying, "We intend to make [the Republican's desire to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill] one of the central elements of the campaign next year. One of the main elements of the contrast will be that the president passed Wall Street reform and our opponent and the other party want to repeal it. I'm pretty confident 12 months from now, as people make the decision about who to go vote for, the gut check is going to be about, 'Who would make decisions more about helping my life than Wall Street?' "
Plouffe shouldn't be so confident.
It will not be difficult for "Mitt Romney, Republicans" to argue that Dodd-Frank is both the reason that small business can't get loans and the cause of Bank of America's hated $5 monthly debit card fee. And as a Washington Times op-ed notes, Dodd-Frank will create a "mountain of red tape" and require businesses to "shell out $27 billion in fees, assessments and tithes to their new regulatory masters." If the unemployed youth in New York think it's hard to get a job now, just wait until Dodd-Frank is fully implemented. Furthermore, "far from getting rid of bailouts, Dodd-Frank institutionalized them." How's that going to go over with the Occupy-ers who rightly loathe the idea of socializing risk -- even while they want to socialize everything else?
Plouffe's confidence is ill-founded for another reason: Barack Obama is more identified with Wall Street backers than any other president in memory. His campaign received roughly $16 million from the Securities and Investment Industry in 2008, including more than a million dollars from Goldman Sachs (employees and the company) and $800,000 from JPMorgan Chase. According to Reuters, "The financial sector accounted for about 20 percent of what Obama's top fundraisers collected during his 2008 bid."
The Sunlight Institute's "Influence Explorer" shows that President Obama has raised more money from the Securities and Investment Industry than any other president of the past two decades, including George W. Bush who was raising campaign money for twice as long as Obama has been. Furthermore, Obama has received more money than any other politician over the past twenty years from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup (assuming Citi has given more than $6,000 to Obama this year). Even the stabbed-in-the-back Lehman Brothers gave more to Obama than to any other candidate since 1989. So much for getting what you paid for.
And while there's a lot of talk about Wall Street giving money to Mitt Romney, OpenSecrets.org shows the Securities and Investment industry as the top givers to the Obama campaign among the president's bundlers, raising at least $7.2 million so far in this election cycle, ahead of the lawyers and law firms whose 2008 contributions tripled those of the financial industry.
In short, it is no surprise that socialist former Obama administration "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones says that "The fact that Obama has been so close to Wall Street makes this tough going for him."
If Obama wants to try to kick this Occu-Pie at Romney and Republicans, he shouldn't be surprised if a big chunk ends up stuck to his shoe.
There are other reasons for Democrats to be less sanguine about the electoral benefits to them of the Occupy Wall Street protests and their spin-offs around the country:
• Many of these people don't vote; they're either too apathetic or too stoned.
• Many of these people think the Democratic Party is too conservative so wouldn't vote for Obama anyway, though Obama's persistent appeal to class warfare is a direct effort to woo this very sector of the American population.
• The sane part of the population will see the protesters, if not as supporting Obama and the Democrats, as being supported by them (and by unions of course). It's true that Obama was not judged by his friends and associates in 2008 but it is unlikely that electoral Teflon will be as stick-free this time around with the protests making daily headlines.
Obama has rapidly gained a reputation as anything but a man of the people -- a remarkable achievement for a community organizer -- and instead an aloof "cool" character focused on reelection through dividing the nation. His support, and Obama-backing unions' support, of the Occupy-ers will rub independent voters the wrong way, as it should. How can the average American not wonder why a president doesn't tell these people that fouling public parks and spewing hateful and nonsensical rhetoric is somehow not a step on a path toward national recovery? Why can't President Obama give an answer as solid and coherent as Herman Cain's on-point op-ed in Friday's New York Post appropriately titled "Look in the mirror"?
The answer is that our president, in pure Alinsky style ("An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent"), believes that the path to his and his anti-capitalist movement's ultimate success will come from a populace so angry, confused, and broken that it will be willing to surrender what economic liberty it has left for the promise of hope and change.
But we've seen this movie before. We don't like the script or the actors -- and now really don't like the extras. We wouldn't watch it again for free, much less pay for another ticket.