Is Obama Officially Embracing the 99%?
Or is his critique of the 1% missing the true mark?
President Obama's speech in Osawatomie, Kansas last week both channeled his inner-Roosevelts while placing him squarely in the 99% crowd that has been castigating the "1%" for wealth that's been spiraling out of control like Spring Breakers in a "Girls Gone Wild" video, while the poor get poorer. Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus writes that Obama's calculated taking sides with the 99% is exactly what Democrats have been waiting for him to do since he was elected, but that it also might be target.
The real pain that American voters are feeling, especially the middle class, writes McManus, is not an anger focused at the wealthy, but a true disconcerting feeling about their own financial state as they struggle to get by in the economy. McManus acknowledges that most Americans think current wealth distribution is unfair, but the "pitfalls" to Obama's 99% strategy might be that he's yet to tie that unfairness to a plan for economic growth.
The political strategy behind this approach was transparent. Obama was seeking both to reassure his dispirited Democratic base and to enlarge it by appealing to everyone who agrees with the Occupy Wall Street movement that the current economy is inequitable. This isn't a fringe sentiment. Polls show that about two-thirds of Americans think the distribution of wealth is unfair, including a big majority of independents as well as Democrats.
for voters outside the liberal Democratic fold, Obama's Osawatomie framework deserves a grade of incomplete.
Quoting President Clinton's chief domestic policy adviser William A. Gaston, McManus points out that the middle-class is upset "not because the 1% are doing so well; it's because the middle class is doing so badly -- and it's not clear that socking it to the 1% will solve the problem."
White House officials say that the President will elaborate on plans for how to address economic growth soon.