Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why Barack Obama Would Love to Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests, and similar Occupations in other cities, have captured the attention of the press and the public, being as they are spontaneous, loud, spirited and, most importantly, boisterous expressions of what a lot of people are thinking. With a diverse agenda, donated food, and small contributions that are often made online, the Occupiers bear a striking resemblance to Barack Obama's 2007-08 primary campaign. That, too, was a built on a groundswell of disaffected citizens and was notable for the large number of small contributions it garnered, often online. Obama was clever enough to keep his agenda vague, allowing a diverse collection of unhappy voters project their wishes onto their images of him--change, indeed, that they could believe in. Much of his appeal was that he could capture the attention of the politically restless--he wasn't one of the same old, same old candidates but seemingly a breath of fresh air.

Now, President Obama has sunk into the muck of incumbency. He has a track record. He's taken positions. He made changes, or not. He's proven to be a reclusive President, perhaps not understanding that people can find the human side of their leaders endearing. In public, he is poised and articulate, but not relaxed. He's no longer a breath of fresh air.

Obama's prospects in the 2012 elections against the ever-shifting GOP frontrunner don't look bad. But he's hardly got a lock on re-election. The Republicans, depending on their nominee, will capture at least some of the energy of the Tea Party movement. The Democrats, and Obama in particular, would want to counter with their own insurgency of the discontented. Whichever candidate the biggest political flash mob coalesces around in 2012 will win the election. That's why Obama would love to occupy Wall Street.

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