Franklin Foer is on to something in today’s TNR — and, no, that doesn’t mean I’m on something. He looks at Occupy Wall Street, and sees trouble for President Obama next year:
With just over a year until the election, Democrats have finally realized that they have a major problem on their hands. Where the Republican base is fired up and ready to go, liberals are despondent about the dissipation of their messianic hopes. By failing to speak to the public’s anger, the president has given ample space for Republicans to grab that fury and, amazingly, turn it against Washington.
Forget if you can, the pure silliness of Foer’s idea that anti-Washington fury is somehow “amazing.” This is how liberals think. It’s how they can look at the riots in Athens and call them “anti-government,” even though what the Greeks are demanding is endless amounts of government paid for by someone, anyone else. But it’s all “sticking it to the man,” so, it’s all good. Somehow.
Anyway, Foer still manages to understand that there’s something wrong with the course Obama is taking. And here’s what it comes down to:
Obama has annoyed both his political base and his donor base, while doing not enough of substantive value on the underlying issue.
And there you have it. A sitting President simply can’t please the Progressive movement in this country — not without getting himself impeached, or worse. You can’t please would-be totalitarians with anything short of totalitarianism. And the Progressives look at these near riots, the pooping on cop cars, the assault against horses, and think: “This is our chance!”
The rest of the country — the reality-based portion of the country — looks at the OWS “movement” and is largely repulsed. And that includes many millions of folks like me, who understand and sympathize with OWS complaints. We sure don’t agree with their solutions, but we’re on the same page about this greedy, grasping, co-dependent and co-mingled creature Washington and Wall Street have become.
The Progressives see the foul beast and say, “Yes, more like that, please.”
So Obama, his Progressive base dispirited because it must be, tentatively claims OWS as his own. But not so much as to offend the other — dare we say it? — 99% of the country. It’s an impossible act to pull off.
During the 2008 presidential primary race, I warned everyone I could that “Americans will pick a real liberal over a fake conservative any day of the week.” Come election day, that’s exactly what happened.
Well — I’m very curious to see what happens when Americans are presented with something unique in our presidential politics: A fake progressive.