Monday, October 17, 2011

Democrats Tap OccupyWallStreet Energy
Protests Offer Obama Opportunity to Gain, and Room for Pitfalls
October 6, 2011

To hear some Democratic analysts tell it, the mushrooming protests could be the start of a populist movement on the left that counterbalances the surge of the Tea Party on the right, and closes what some Democrats fear is an “enthusiasm gap” between their party and Republicans in the 2012 election. But that assumes the president is able to win the support of these insurgents, rather than be shunned by them.

Underscoring his more populist tone, Mr. Obama confirmed that he was open to paying for his $450 billion jobs bill by levying a tax surcharge on people with incomes of more than $1 million. The White House had earlier been cool to the proposal, made by Senate Democrats, in favor of taxing a broader group.
Obama Endorses New Tax on Wealthy Earners as Spreading Protests Divide Party
OCTOBER 7, 2011

The Democratic Party is grappling with the promise and peril of the anticorporate populism of the Occupy Wall Street movement, seeking to tap its energy without opening the party to charges of class warfare.

President Barack Obama, who has been sharpening his tone in recent weeks, endorsed at a news conference Thursday Senate Democrats' plan for a 5.6% surtax on annual incomes of more than $1 million, pushed for the implementation of beefed-up financial regulations and criticized new bank fees.

At the Occupy Wall Street movement's headquarters in a Lower Manhattan park, there's still a sense of controlled chaos. The heads of the nation's biggest labor unions see the protests as an opportunity to amplify their own messages and reinvigorate their membership. They said Thursday they plan to provide support, from delivering water and food to opening up union halls to protesters.
Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
By Dana Milbank
October 7 2011

For the struggling president, the nascent movement offers a chance at salvation, the opportunity to excite liberals with the sort of populist energy that has fueled the Tea Party for two years. But, as liberal leaders already know, the young movement must be careful to avoid Obama’s embrace: He decimated the progressive cause once, and he would do it again if given the chance.

True, but uninspiring. And liberals should by now know that a nuanced president cannot be a movement’s mouthpiece.
Obama, Congressional Leaders Must Meet With Occupy Wall Street Leaders
By Gene Marcial

Surely, it’s time for the nation’s leaders to meet with the Occupy Wall Street protesters and publicly address their grievances. The country’s decision makers, most notably those in Congress, can’t simply watch idly by and wish them away, as they appear to be doing.

The first thing President Obama could do is urge the protesters to form an advance group composed of their leaders or spokespersons so the White House can arrange for him to publicly address the increasingly restless Occupy Wall Street crowd and respond specifically to their concerns.

President Obama has asked Congress to approve his multibillion-dollar jobs bill specifically designed to stimulate the economy and create new jobs. Clearly, Congressional leaders should face up to that question and explain what they intend do with it, or at least come up with an alternative jobs plan.
Occupy Wall Street protests reveal liberal tensions
By Peter Wallsten,
October 13 2011

Those contentious moments help illustrate the difficulty facing Democratic officials as they try to capitalize on the sudden emergence of liberal energy that is growing fast — but expanding largely separate and apart from traditional party institutions.

Even if Occupy activists do not directly back the president, he can benefit from a national focus on the issues they are trumpeting. Recent polls show that deep anger at Wall Street spans the ideological and partisan spectrum, with a new Washington Post/ABC News survey finding that seven in10 Americans distrust Wall Street financial instutions. That includes 68 percent of independents and 60 percent of Republicans. And Obama aides say they see a fertile target in GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney , a former investment banker who the president’s campaign is likely to try and brand as a product of Wall Street.

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