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The Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Democrats

A lot of commentators believe the Occupy Wall Street Movement will be good for the Democratic Party, arguing it’s essentially the mirror image of the Tea Party. I think that comparison fails for all sorts of reasons, including this one: the Occupy Wall Street Movement is a sign of discontent with the political class during a period when the leader of the political class is a liberal Democratic president.

Obama can try all he wants to pretend he’s not been the president since January 2009. He can hope and pray his record will be stuffed down a collective memory hole. He can try to run as an outsider even though he’s been the ultimate insider for the last two-and-three-quarter years. But like so many other things Obama has attempted, this effort won’t work, either. The effects of the Occupy Wall Street Movement will be to add to the sense Americans are deeply discontent, to the point that people are now willing to take to the streets to signal their anxiety, anger, and unhappiness.

Barack Obama is the captain of a ship that even his core supporters agree is badly off course.

Beyond all that is the fact the Occupy Wall Street Movement, unlike the Tea Party Movement, is culturally liberal and therefore has the potential of creating some unease among the polity. It seems to share some of the same traits as the counter-culture movements from the late 1960s and early 1970s. It’s comprised, at least in some measure, of radical leftists, disaffected young people, aging hippies, and washed up entertainers. Yoko Ono, for example, expressed her support via Twitter during the weekend. She tweeted she loved what the demonstrators were doing, and added, “As John [Lennon] said, ‘One hero cannot do it. Each one of us have to be heroes.’ And you are. Thank you.” Can the dawning of the age of Aquarius — “when peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars” — be far behind?

From my observations, some elements within the mainstream media are trying to portray the Occupy Wall Street protesters in the most favorable light possible (which is exactly the opposite of what they did with the Tea Party Movement).

But I rather doubt that will work; there are simply too many alternative media outlets to keep the mask of respectability firmly in place. The Occupy Wall Street Movement seems to be a magnet for all sorts of fringe causes. It’s not clear to me how having Barack Obama and the Democratic Party associated with a culturally transgressive movement will help it. They tried that once before, and paid dearly for it.

 


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