Obama, the occupiers and a record to run from
There’s only one way the Occupy Wall Street movement can become like the Tea Parties, and that’s for President Obama to lose in 2012. Why? Because Obama is the most divisive figure in American politics today.
I suspect that sentence reads funny to some people because in the mainstream press, “divisive” is usually a term reserved for “conservatives we disagree with.” But as a factual matter it can apply to anybody who is, well, divisive.
Obviously, Obama divides the right and left. That’s not all that interesting or relevant. But Obama also divide severyone else. Independents, whom he desperately needs to win re-election, are split over him, with the bulk siding with Republicans.
Even more significant, the left is deeply divided over Obama. According to reports, the Occupy Wall Street movement is torn over whether to support the incumbent president. Polling of the protesters is sketchy, but so far it’s pretty clear that most of the protesters liked Obama in 2008, and now roughly half of them are disillusioned by, disappointed in or opposed to Obama.
That should only make sense, right? If Occupy Wall Street is a sincere, grass-roots movement for radical change and overturning the status quo, it can’t be 100 percent behind the guy who’s been running the country for the last three years.
The dispirited left will probably vote for Obama anyway, because he will stir up so much fear of Republicans. But they will not have the enthusiasm of 2008 and many will probably sit on their hands and not vote. With Obama running on a base turnout election, he is in big trouble at this point.Moreover, Democrats had near total control of the government for Obama’s first two years. Together, Obama and congressional Democrats got their Wall Street and student-loan reforms, their health-care overhaul and a huge stimulus. Yet Occupy Wall Street is still furious with the political status quo. Does anyone believe Obama can both run on his record and co-opt the Occupy Wall Streeters?