Via the Examiner. Philip Klein does a nice job rebutting him — how do tea-party individualism and OWS redistributionism constitute “the same perspective”? — but I can’t take this clip seriously enough to engage it on the merits. What you’re watching here is a blue-state governor in pander mode. He probably saw yesterday’s poll about New York City residents supporting OWS and deduced that a lot of left-leaning Jersey independents must feel the same way, so now he’s trying to thread the political needle by professing to feel the pain of populists on both sides. (He does say that he doesn’t agree with a lot of OWS’s solutions, whatever those might be.) It’s a transparent attempt at co-optation. OWS wants higher taxes on the wealthy and more regulation of the banks and tea partiers want less government spending and a lot less federal debt, but Christie somehow distills all of that into basic anger over weak leadership and hyperpartisan gridlock in D.C. Coincidentally, Christie’s own brand is built on … strong leadership and bipartisan solutions to his state’s budget crisis. So he’s using this question as a vehicle to toot his own horn (tacitly) while avoiding any attacks that might alienate the OWS sympathizers whose votes he needs. Cynical, but that’s retail politics for you.
Speaking of cynical panders aimed at independents, any other pols in the news today trying to co-opt Occupy Wall Street? Why, here’s one now:
“I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama told ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper in the interview to air this evening on ABC News “Nightline” from Jamestown, N.C.
“In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them,” he said…
“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Obama said. “And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.”
Follow the link to read his response when Jake Tapper asked him whether, just maybe, he should have paid more attention to unemployment instead of passing a gigantic, disastrous new health-care boondoggle instead. (My phrasing, of course, not Tapper’s.) His OWS answer here is strikingly similar to Christie’s, right down to the idea that, as the big guy put it, “government is not working for me anymore.” That’s not a perfect summation of either the tea party’s or OWS’s core message — tea partiers want the government working less and OWSers are first and foremost concerned with unaccountability on Wall Street — but it’s perfectly in tune with the gigantic majorities who think the country’s on the wrong track and that Congress simply reeks. So here’s The One using Tapper’s OWS question to feel those majorities’ pain, even though he’s a major cause of it. Exit quotation: “Most Wall Street guys, they feel like they’re going to be burned in effigy.”