Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Armchair Obama™ - Do You "Occupy" Occupy Wall Street?!?

As anyone who pays attention to the polls knows, President Obama is facing some looooong odds to re-election in 2012. Pretty much every major demographic group (yes, black folks too!) that helped propel him to an election of historic proportions in 2008 is giving dude the stinkeye right now. 9.1% unemployment, and 2+ years of demonstrating suspect shaky leadership qualities will do that to you. While some contend he'll win purely on the strength of having turrible competition, I think that train of thought is shortsighted. Go Google "2004 NBA Champions" if you need further explanation.

The recent explosion of Occupy Wall Street rallies has admittedly left me scratching my head. Part of me wants to say these guys are the liberal equivalent of the Tea Party, but I'm not so sure about that. Whereas the Tea Party quickly coalesced around a laughably flimsy, but reasonable number of issues (taxation, limited government, getting rid of Obama) and likewise sprung a number of identifiable leaders (Glenn Beck, Fox News, Miss Sarah, hell, the entire GOP!) the #OWS "movement" really hasn't been as well defined. What do these guys want? College loans forgiven? Free housing? Jobs? A lifetime supply of Starbucks gift cards? To the untrained eye, this looks like a bunch of entitled hipsters who should probably just go take a shower go do something better with their free time. That said, the "movement" shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. It's also ideologically more aligned with what the President is trying to accomplish. The protesters certainly don't seem to be against Obama, and seem to be in approval of his push for greater financial regulations and "redistribution of wealth".

This, of course, raises a prickly issue for the President. You can basically ignore these people and run the risk that they'll eventually turn against you. You could jump in the bandwagon, and possibly tap into this sentiment, praying it translates into voter enthusiasm next Fall. Of course, given some of the crazies in this crowd, this could backfire as well.

The ever-diligent President has basically stayed above the fray so far. Just as he hesitated to demonize, or even acknowledge the potential political danger of the Tea Party (a huge tactical error in my opinion) early on, he's only given lip service to the #OWS crowd. For better or for worse, he (inexplicably!) waded into this issue during the King Memorial dedication this weekend, and of course, the wingnuts are now claiming #OWS is a concerted, orchestrated effort by the Obama White House to fire up the liberal base. Honestly, I don't think there's much merit to this, but hey, what do I know?

That said, I wonder what ya'll think about this phenomenon, and how the President should (or shouldn't) embrace it. Play Armchair Obama™ and tell me what you'd do?

Question: If you were the President, how would you handle the #OWS movement? Embrace them, ignore them, or flirt when it makes political sense? Should the President have brought up the #OWS movement during the King Memorial Dedication, or was this the wrong place/time to make a political ploy?

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