The burgeoning of populist protests in New York and other cities shows that resentment over the economy is growing, and Democratic strategists are moving aggressively to show that President Obama and his party are taking steps to solve the problem while Republicans are standing in the way.
The Democratic National Committee is starting what a spokesman called a coordinated attack with the Obama re-election campaign and state parties designed to link Republican presidential candidates to Wall Street. As part of that effort, the DNC this morning released a new 105-second web video called "Republicans: On the Side of Wall Street, Not Consumers" which can see here:
The DNC also will attack Senate Republicans who have blocked Richard Cordray, the president's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The news media have been paying increasing attention this week to the "Occupy Wall Street" protests that started in New York and have spread to other cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington. Democratic strategists make the point that Obama is sympathetic to the protesters' underlying concerns. These strategists note that Obama and the Democrats are calling for legal protection for consumers and higher taxes on the wealthy and on big corporations so they pay their "fair share" while the GOP generally opposes those ideas.
White House officials say Americans have a right to be frustrated by the economy and the long-term setbacks to the prosperity of the middle class, such as unemployment and wage stagnation, while the rich have expanded their wealth. But these officials and many of the protesters say Republicans are protectors of the rich and powerful who also want to cut benefits for Medicare and Social Security, which would hurt the middle class and the poor.
"Clearly the frustration is palpable," a Democratic adviser told me. He added that the protests are manifestations of a larger sense of anger and disappointment that Obama hopes to channel into opposition to the GOP and support for his re-election.