White House needs to send a thank-you note

Last night on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” we talked about a new poll released by well-known Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, who warned the White House this week that the president should keep his distance from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Schoen, who conducted a randomized survey of the protesters — or really what was, in effect, a very large focus group — reported that the movement “reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people.”

Well, I hope someone in the White House is writing Schoen a thank-you note today. As I said last night to Dobbs, Schoen has done the president a tremendous favor.

At the heart of his survey, Schoen found what unites the protesters is their “deep commitment to radical left-wing policies.” Some might wonder why a president would want to fraternize with a group in which nearly a third agreed they would “support violence to advance their agenda,” but the fact is, this is a White House that has been continually out of step with the values of the American public.

As President Obama wraps up the final days of his “jobs” bus tour — or his campaign tour, depending on how you see it — he has to do more than defend his failed economic record. Obama needs to persuade voters — especially swing voters — that he and the Democratic Party are not disconnected from the values and concerns of most Americans.

Still, his rather uneven track record might make this harder than it sounds. Consider the evidence: Obama’s decision to send his daughters to the elite Sidwell Friends School in Washington, while cutting the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program; his embrace of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; his fumbling of the Henry Louis Gates debacle; FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s series of lavish trips overseas during the economic downturn; his disjointed response to the Ground Zero Mosque controversy; and of course, his big-government, top-down policy record, most notably the healthcare overhaul, helps reinforce this image.

The fact is the OWS protesters might have some legitimate concerns — namely, that this administration too willingly picks winners and losers. And the inherently unfair Wall Street bailouts are a perfect example. But Schoen is right that embracing this aimless anger not only is not presidential, but also is apt to be a political disaster.  


Sabrina L. Schaeffer is managing partner of Evolving Strategies and senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum.