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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Never the twain shall meet

by digby

I gotcher co-option for you right here:

Occupy Wall Street has captured both headlines and water cooler banter in recent weeks as the movement has spread from New York across the country. Cheered on by everyone from Kanye West and Labor Unions to Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic establishment, it has quickly become a buzzword and national movement. Yet as participants in the movement lay out their laundry list of demands, it’s clear that the real catalyst for their outbreak of frustration isn’t Wall Street. Instead of leveling their vitriol at financial institutions, CEO’s and Congress, it’s clear: the Occupy movement should cast its blame at the current occupant of the White House.

Ok, a whole lot of you are saying "hell yeah!" to that one. But before you get too excited about this post-partisan meeting of the minds, read on:

The roots of unrest began early, with the White House pursuing a strategy that seemingly resembled “shock and awe”. Aided by a Congress whose Democratic majorities were all to willing to rubber stamp the legislative wishes of its newly minted President, Americans of all stripes were hit hard with a government stimulus, a health care plan that has already resulted in thousands of employers dropping company funded insurance and a Wall Street reform bill that unleashed a new wave of uncertainty on Wall Street, locking up new investment as big business waited for some kind of certainty.

You see, it's not that the president didn't do enough to fix the economy, it's that he did too much. And it caused a lack of confidence among our jaaaab-creeeeaters and now everything's all messed up. People got "hit hard" by a stimulus and the health care plan caused them to lose their insurance and now there's uncertainty! How did we let this happen?

As his poll numbers began to sink, the President attempted to deflect attention from his policy failures by blaming everyone from Republicans in Congress to oil companies and private jet owners. The results of the President’s efforts were evident in the first issue of the “Occupied Wall Street Journal”, a communiqué that quickly became the voice of a disjointed movement. An article entitled, “The Revolution Begins at Home” discusses “liberating territory from the financial overlords and their police army”. Further into the article, it likens NYPD police interventions to the violence unleashed in Egypt.

Uh oh. The president's angry, violent rhetoric has inspired a revolution. Luckily the Real Americans are having none of it:

The misbehavior of a few notwithstanding, outcries like we’ve seen from occupy Wall Street are worth paying attention to. However, instead of simply focusing on the loud minority, the true feelings of Americans were better reflected in an ABC News focus group where a group of self proclaimed “Wal-Mart Moms” said that they wouldn’t have time to protest in a park and if they did, would rather spend time with their families. While Nancy Pelosi was incorrect that Occupy Wall Street “reflects America”, it is the working families who have suffered from the President’s policies, and more importantly, it is those families who will vote next November.
So, Occupy Wall Street is worth paying attention to, but only if we focus on people who don't want anything to do with it. But not to worry. President Obama still has a chance to make things right:

The President has a chance to work in bi-partisan fashion with Congressional Republicans on real solutions, such as a payroll tax holiday that would ease the burden for both job creators and seekers. Instead of continuing the class warfare and government based solutions that have trademarked his time in office, the President should work toward mitigating the damage caused by his ambitious legislative strategy and stop fueling the destructive dialogue that has fed the poisonous rhetoric pouring out of Occupy sites across the country.
Oh heck. And here I thought he liked us.

Speaking of which, Kate Zernike, who wrote Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America, has written a piece in today's NY Times that backs up the impressions I wrote about in my Al Jazeera piece earlier this week: the Tea Party and OWS are not the same animal:

At a Republican candidate forum outside Fort Worth last week, a Tea Party activist turned Senate candidate proclaimed the Occupy Wall Street protesters “unemployed, uneducated and uninformed.” To which the conservative radio host moderating the panel added, mirthfully, “This is the first occupation many of these people have seen in years.”
More and more commentators — as well as President Obama — have likened the Occupy forces spreading across the country to the Tea Party movement. But as they have, conservatives and Tea Party activists have rushed to discredit the comparison and the nascent movement. They have portrayed the Occupy protesters as messy, indolent, drug-addled and anti-Semitic, circulated a photo of one of them defecating on a police car, and generally intimated that Democrats who embrace them are on a headlong road to Chicago 1968.

It is a culture war, young versus old, left versus right, communal food tables versus “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.

In fact, the two movements do share key traits. They emerged out of nowhere but quickly became potent political forces, driven by anxiety about the economy, a belief that big institutions favor the reckless over the hard-working, grievances that are inchoate and even contradictory, and an insistence that they are “leaderless.” “End the Fed” signs — and even some of those yellow Gadsden flags — have found a place at Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street protests alike.

Where they differ is in where they place the blame. While Occupy forces find fault in the banks and super-rich, the Tea Party movement blames the government for the economic calamity brought on by the mortgage crisis, and sees the wealthy as job creators who will lift the country out of its economic malaise. To them, the solution is less regulation of banks, not more.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey declared Monday, “If you told the Occupy Wall Street people and the Tea Party people that they are the same, they would hit you.”

Not quite. But Tea Party activists are indeed fighting the comparisons.

“They seem to be more in favor of anarchy than they are in favor of working out problems through the Constitution,” Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said about the Occupy forces.

Like threatening to use those "Second Amendment remedies." Or this:
We are the original homeland security, not the paid agents that today masquerade as such in ninja outfits, dressed in black to intimidate the people with their faces covered to keep them from being held accountable for their actions. I have even been shown proof that they consider the founding fathers like George Washington, Sam Adams and Thomas Jefferson to be the terrorists of old.
Unless you are a member of the active military, it is your historical, constitutional and moral duty to participate in a citizen’s militia. And I’ll say this, shame on those who are either too busy or too scared or too apathetic to step up.

The British aren’t coming. It is the Soviet socialists that have occupied our Capitol. It might as well be Moscow on the Potomac.

The question is: do we have the courage and the spirit of our forefathers? Our people do. Today we want to tell the Marxist control freaks out there, don’t dare cross that bridge. But we know they will. We the militia, and hopefully with your support, stand ready with no apologies, cause what we have forced upon us is not from a legitimate government, or the American values of self reliance and independence. If you want to be a European, move.

The Declaration of Independence says that when a government is no longer beneficial or responsive to the people, it is our right and duty to change it. Now some citizens are holding out hope that the upcoming elections will better things, and you know we’ll wait and see. Lots of us believe that maybe that’s not reliable, considering the fact that the progressive socialists have been chipping away at our foundations. Regardless, the founders made sure we had plan B (holds up his gun). You know what that is.

The treasonous left wing socialist politicians, and their lapdogs in the press, have gotten a wedgie here recently in their underpants over the tea parties. And a little broken glass (wink, wink). I sure hope they’re out there today. If they read history, they should know and fear what came after those events over 200 years ago. This latest forced health care bill, which is really about people control, the same thing as gun control, is the modern day equivalent of the 1765 standback, its only more disastrous to our freedom living way of life, etc…

History it seems is ready to repeat itself. After a long and costly civil war that is eminent, and sure to be forced upon us, we are taking note of those who are responsible for the treason, and they will be held accountable. I advise the press to start getting it right from this moment on, and stop aiding and abetting un-American activities. Like the Tories of old, the worst shall be hung, most will be exiled, and I’m a contractor so I have a little bit of tar and feathers for those who are only partially guilty.

In closing, let me implore you to keep the torch of freedom burning bright, god bless the republic, death to the New World Order. We shall prevail.

Senator Rand "I have a message from the Tea Party " Paul spoke at that rally.

There is a bizarre need on the part of quite a few liberals to believe that the right really agrees with them, they just don't know it. They think that there is a potential "transpartisan" ideological Grand Alliance that will come together across all these artificial boundaries to work toward a common purpose. It's pretty to think so, but it isn't any more realistic than President Obama's odes to post-partisan leadership that would transcend ugly ideology and "change the way Washington works" were.

It is possible that the Occupy Wall Street movement will keep a majority of the public on its side. I fervently hope it does. But it won't win everyone and certainly not hardcore Reactionaries whose very identities are formed by their opposition to liberalism. You go with the culture you have, not the one you wish you had ...