The Democratic Party is really, really trying to get the attention of “Occupy Wall Street.”
In a new ad released this week, timed to coincide with the major march that took place in New York City on Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sounds the bell for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill (PDF), signed into law last year.
The legislation should have banned or significantly curtailed many of the practices that led to the American financial sector’s breakdown at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term — should have, but has not due to Republicans’ delaying tactics, like refusing to hold votes on the president’s nominees or refusing to fund the consumer watchdog group called for in the legislation.
All of the leading Republican candidates for president have promised to repeal the bill, and the conservative minority in the Senate has refused to confirm Obama’s nominee to lead the new consumer protection agency.
The DNC’s new ad mostly relies on news footage to convey it’s message, which is quite simple: Democrats support Wall Street reforms, Republicans do not.
Whether that will move the organizers and core participants in “Occupy Wall Street” remains to be seen. The “99 percent,” as they’ve taken to calling themselves, have tended to insist their plight is much more than a partisan affair. There have even been some calling for the original tea party activists who supported Ron Paul to come and join in the consensus-building process taking place at the “Occupy” assemblies around the country.
To be fair, at least a portion of the grievances registered by “Occupy Wall Street” and the “99 percent” are relatively in-line with President Barack Obama’s political agenda, such as equalizing tax rates between the middle class and higher income earners, and limiting the amount of risk big firms can take with account holders’ money.
President Obama even emphasized that in a Thursday news conference, after being confronted by reporters’ questions about “Occupy Wall Street.”
“I think people are frustrated and, you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad based frustration about how or financial system works,” he said, citing Dodd-Frank and pointing out that Republicans have stood in its way.
But among the the protesters’ wishes is a call to erect a wall of separation between the Department of Defense and the multitudes of defense contractors it employs: something the president certainly would not support. Much to the ire of the protesters, administration officials have also come out against restoring of the Glass-Stegall Act of 1933, which set a firm wall between commercial banking and investment banking as a means of safeguarding the peoples’ savings.
Whether the core protesters will buy the pitch from Democrats remains to be seen, but it is clear the party is making a strong play for support from this three-week-old movement. Along with the president, many well-known Democrats have come out in support of “Occupy Wall Street.”
This ad would seem to be a sign of things to come — but despite the established left’s appeals, where the “99 percent” will go from here is anyone’s guess.
This ad is from the DNC, published to YouTube on Oct. 5, 2011.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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