Government Holiday a Boon for Protesters; Arab Spring Analogy Not Helping American Left; Incomes Dropped During ‘Recovery’; Romney In Need of a New ‘Mittness Protection Program’
Columbus Day May Boost Liberal Protests
"Well, I support the message to the establishment — whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest — that change has to happen.”
-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on “This Week” discussing the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Organizers of anti-corporate protests around the country are looking to capitalize on growing support from mainstream Democratic political leaders and today’s federal holiday could be just the boost they need.
While far fewer private-sector employers observe Columbus Day as a paid holiday, federal, state and local governments as well as many school districts are closed today. Since government-worker unions are now the backbone of the protests, the holiday could provide a major boost to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Large unions like the SEIU and AFL-CIO, which are dominated by government employees, have been increasingly driving the protests and their messages, so today’s holiday could be key in getting the kind of attention organizers and their political supporters believe could provide a counterweight to the anti-government energy of the Tea Party movement.
Democrats have been suggesting that the protests are an expression of anxiety and frustration among the unemployed. Republicans, meanwhile, have suggested that the protesters are dangerous anti-capitalists (Majority Leader Eric Cantor called them “mobs”), giving credence to the claims of would-be movement leaders like Van Jones and Roseanne Barr (!) who have been calling for revolution.
Power Play has interacted with some of these purported Robespierres over the past week in Washington and observed that while some were freelancers (like the guy with the sign deploring the high price and low quality of current movie-theater offerings), most were similar to the government-union sympathy protesters who demonstrated in Washington during the fight over Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law at the beginning of the year.
It’s not that they’re unemployed, it’s that they fear they will be if Republican government cutters get their way.
Government unions are being squeezed on all levels after decades of boom times. They are also the most important part of the Democratic base. As President Obama and his allies try to gird themselves for next year’s conflicts, it will be important to cultivate this kind of negative enthusiasm in advance of the next election.
Attack on Christian Protesters Deepens Worries Over Egypt
"Instead of moving forward to build a modern state on democratic principles, we are back to seeking stability and searching for hidden hands — domestic and foreign — that meddle with the country's security and safety."
-- Statement from Essam Sharaf, the prime minister of the Egyptian military junta, defending security forces who killed 24 citizens in clashes with Christian protesters.
It is strange that the backers of the Occupy Wall Street protests are increasingly talking about an “American Spring” to match the revolutionary movement that has racked the Middle East for more than a year.
There’s been little good to say about the flash mob movement that has swept across that region for a long time, but now the indicators are growing more ominous.
The military junta blessed by Islamist leaders in Egypt has taken to denouncing foreign meddlers whom the generals and their civilian factotums say are the ones responsible for stirring up the nation’s Christian minority.
The Christians say the government has been turning a blind eye by attacks on churches and Christian communities by Muslim radicals and have been protesting in Cairo for months. But clashes between the Christians and Muslims brought out the army, and the army got very nasty with the Christians, rolling armored vehicles right into sidewalk crowds and opening fire.
A Power Play tip for the would-be revolutionaries in the U.S.: You may want to pick a less terrifying model for your movement if you hope to expand it.
Americans Poorer in Recovery
-- The decrease in the U.S. median household income since the end of the last recession in June 2009, dropping from $53,518 to $49,909, according to a new report on Census Bureau figures by Sentier Research.
If Republicans are going to be able to unseat Barack Obama from the White House it will depend not on the question of whether voters are better off than they were four years ago --Obama already says they aren’t -- but whether he made it worse.
The president is embracing a gloomy re-election strategy in which he is attempting to convince Americans that their national condition is so dire that he and his administration should be credited and retained on the basis that they prevented a worse catastrophe.
This is probably too complicated by a couple of furlongs, but is very much in the current declinist zeitgeist of the country today. Given the Democratic belief that any Republican nominee can be branded as an ideologically radical tool of the super rich who is unfit for office, the president plans to ask Americans if they can really take a risk at a moment of such peril.
The previous recession technically lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. During that time, America’s median household income dropped from $55,309 to $53,518, a decline of 3.2 percent. But during what economists have deemed a recovery from June 2009 to June 2011, median income dropped from $53,518 to $49,909, a decline of 6.7 percent.
President Obama should be more worried about that number than the adjusted unemployment figures or even the quarterly GDP rates. If the average American family has $3,609 a year less to spend today than it did five months after Obama took office (to say nothing of higher prices at the grocery store and gas pump), it will be hard for Democrats to argue that the president has prevented a disaster. For families living paycheck to paycheck, $3,609 less is a disaster.
If voters have been getting measurably poorer every day that Obama has been in office, it will be hard to tell them that it could have been worse.
Romney Takes Blows as Lone Frontrunner
“I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say you know, I don’t know. Do you know? And then I’m going to say how’s that going to create one job?”
-- Herman Cain in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, saying he would learn the names of leaders of “small, insignificant states” before he visited them.
The closer Mitt Romney gets to locking up the Republican nomination, the harder it is for him to avoid the discussions that derailed his 2008 candidacy.
Over the weekend, the entire Republican field had to sound off on the subject of Mormonism after a Rick Perry endorser called the faith “a cult.” While all, including Perry, disagreed with the remarks, the responses were sort of a conservative version of Jerry Seinfeld’s “not that there’s anything wrong with that” gag about homosexuality.
Candidates down the line made it clear that no one should be intolerant of other faiths, but also emphasized the fact that Mormonism was “other” than their own Catholicism or evangelical Protestantism. The message was that Mormons are good people and should be left alone to practice their faith as opposed to the argument coming from within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that it is merely another branch of mainstream Christianity instead of another religion altogether.
This is happening as conservative Republicans come to fear that the more moderate Romney is unbeatable.
The most recent object of their affections, Herman Cain, has so far declined to take the steps necessary to become a viable contender. Cain remains on a coast-to-coast book tour instead of trying to develop a campaign operation in early states even as the primary calendar moves ever forward.
Cain also has opted to brush up on his most visible weakness, a lack of knowledge or interest about foreign policy. As Romney works to establish himself as the most aggressive hawk in the GOP field after a brief flirtation with non-interventionism, Cain told CBN’s David Brody that he’ll study up on foreign policy later.
Meanwhile, Perry, the previous doyenne of the right has been working hard to resuscitate his candidacy. Perry may have erred in spending so much time in attacking Romney when he first got in instead of acting like a frontrunner and focusing on President Obama, but the Texan has little choice now but to keep training his attacks on the former Massachusetts governor in a bid for viability.
The new attack video from Perry is his sharpest yet of the campaign, using split screens of Obama and Romney and embarrassing sound bites of Romney and Obama defending the Republican’s 2007 Bay State health law.
The field will gather at Dartmouth College Tuesday for a debate hosted by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News. While it won’t be widely viewed owing to the small reach of Bloomberg’s financial news cable channel, it will be important for insiders to see how Perry has done on his effort to reverse his previous dire debate performances.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he serves as the host of "Power Play" on FoxNews.com and makes daily appearances on the network including "America Live with Megyn Kelly," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." Most recently, Stirewalt provided expert political analysis during the 2012 presidential election.