On Monday’s broadcast of “America Live” on the Fox News Channel, senior political analyst Brit Hume said that the Occupy Wall Street movement could turn off the independent voters, first noting that the similarities between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and this current Occupy Wall Street movement, were a stretch. Occupy Wall Street was endorsed by President Barack Obama during his remarks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial dedication in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
“Well, there are some similarities,” Hume said. “Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches and protest demonstrations … in favor of the cause for civil rights for all, especially more American blacks who had been obviously treated as second-class citizens for a long time. But I’m not sure the parallels extend far enough that [Obama] can expect that the kind of almost unanimous support that the civil rights movement [that] ultimately developed will swing behind these demonstrators and their cause and politicians who support it.”
It’s a risky proposition to get behind the Occupy movement for Obama, he added. Especially if he wants to win his re-election next year and is depending on the independent vote.
“I understand a little bit why he’s doing it but I think he is playing with fire because these protests are unfocused,” he said. The “civil rights movement was pretty focused. The tea party movement was pretty focused. These protests are unfocused and they’re susceptible to infiltration and perhaps even being dominated to some extent by some pretty hard-left activists who are not going to have sympathy from … the independent centrist voters that the president needs to win his election.”
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The Obama strategy, according to Hume, is to expand his base instead of bowing to independents for their vote. But if the Occupy Wall Street movement took a turn for the worst, it could be a disaster for Obama, he said.
“[H]e is looking for energy in his base. I think they are looking at the 2004 election — which was basically a base election in which the Bush people managed to turn out all of their base and expand their base and win the election even though they narrowly lost … the independent vote. The president has lost a lot of independent support. He can’t count on the kind of independent support he had in 2008. And I think he thinks, ‘Gee, look at these young people in the streets. Maybe they will energize the young people on campuses and elsewhere in our country and I’ll get some of that level of support I got in 2008.’ And so he is making these sort of tentatively sympathetic comments. It has been tentative because I think he understands he is playing with fire. If this turns violent and ugly and too far left, it will hurt him.”