How politically toxic has Occupy Wall Street become? So toxic that even the Congressional Progressive Caucus – led by Reps. Keith Ellison and Raul Gijalva – is too nervous to be seen with it.
Roll Call reports the CPC had a private meeting scheduled with OWS activists this week, which was promptly canceled once the newspaper started inquiring about it:
A planned meeting today between the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Occupy Wall Street activists was scuttled late Tuesday after Roll Call inquired about it, highlighting increasing tensions between Democrats and the movement.
While Democrats are adopting the movement’s “99 percent” language, they are increasingly retreating from the protesters themselves and their anti-capitalist rhetoric. Some in the party view the Occupy activists — camped out in grubby tent cities around the country — as a potential liability in 2012.
Whatever the point of the meeting was, somebody in the CPC obviously wanted to foil it for some reason. And the caucus was clearly anxious to keep the event hidden from the press:
A spokesman for the caucus declined to comment on the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the meeting, but an email sent to CPC members from the group’s executive director, Brad Bauman, blamed a leak for the last-minute change.
“Due to a leak from within the caucus, press were alerted to our Occupy guests this week,” he wrote in an email obtained by Roll Call. “Our guests will now not be participating in the member meeting. … All internal communications are OFF THE RECORD.”
Based on the story, it sounds like the meeting was set up so the CPC could privately assure OWS it was hearing its grievances. If that’s the case, the CPC could have just set back its relationship with the liberal base tremendously by throwing the movement under the bus.
The secrecy is the strangest thing about this story. Democrats have known for awhile that OWS is a liability, but it’s still odd that that would deter the far-left members of the CPC from meeting with its activists. After all, these people are their constituents. What are we missing here?