Skip ahead to 9:40 for the key bit. The left, understandably, is salivating over this soundbite, coinciding as it does with Cain’s rise to frontrunner status and the media’s push to make the Wall Street protests into a Very Big Deal. The whole thrust of Obama’s re-election message on the economy next year is to counter his incompetence with the GOP’s supposed callousness: Yes, granted, things are a disaster, but he cares a lot and is trying super-hard whereas Republicans don’t care much about the average American at all. Aren’t you better off with a guy who doesn’t know how to fix the problem but is doing his best instead of a guy who thinks the problem is your fault and wants you to suck it up? This clip plays right into that message; I suspect Democrats will use it in general-election ads even if Cain’s not the nominee, as an example of what the GOP as a whole believes. Imagine how it’ll play with, say, an unemployed fiftysomething who got laid off after 20 years because his company was forced to downsize after the recession. No wonder ABC and CNN have pieces out this afternoon showcasing the quote. Even Ben Bernanke’s showing more sympathy for anti-Wall Street grievances.
But here’s the question: Will Romney and/or Perry dare use this against Cain in the primary? If Mitt’s willing to demagogue Perry’s view of Social Security as being worse than a Ponzi scheme, he’s certainly willing to hit his newest threat on this — unless there’s so much grassroots enthusiasm for Cain’s pushback on the protesters that it’s too risky to take him on. When I tweeted the link to the video this afternoon, my feed lit up with replies thanking Cain for injecting a note of personal responsibility into the OWS din. Romney would have to tread lightly if he went after Cain for it, but he might not be able to resist a chance to posture now as a champion of the unemployed given how dangerous his banker image might otherwise prove in the general election.
As for Cain’s claim (which he admits he has no facts to support) that the protests have been orchestrated to distract from Obama’s policies, I don’t think it’s true yet. As noted last night, the nucleus of this thing appears to be our old friends the anarchists. But Cain’s certainly right that this is why Democrats have suddenly taken such a keen interest in the protests. The more Wall Street or “the banks” or whatever the hell else they’re protesting is to blame, the less Obama is. More media coverage, stat!