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#Occupy, Teabaggers and Voting

by: DocJess

Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:02:33 AM EDT

In this week's Time magazine, Bill Bradley has a column. Bradley was a three-term US senator, ran against Al Gore in the 2000 presidential primary, was a Rhodes scholar, plus he was some type of athlete. Smart guy. You can read his full column here. I agree with parts of it, disagree with others, and was struck by this:

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street offer contrasting examples of citizen involvement. The Tea Party promulgated a very specific objective — roll back government — and immediately converted its energy into electoral politics. The result was that in 2010, 49 Tea Party Republicans won election to Congress. Through their leverage in the Republican caucus, they almost forced the country into bankruptcy during the debate on the debt limit in the summer of 2011. That's how quickly things can change. That's how easily the status quo can crumble. Occupy, on the other hand, while full of passion and solidarity and armed with a catchy slogan — "We're the 99%" — failed to have much of an impact on policy because it had no specific objective. (Emphasis mine.)

Think about it: one election, one group, all that power. And it's more extreme than Bradley counted, if you include the state governments in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, just to name a few. If you doubt the power of a few, remember that yesterday, Jan Brewer signed legislation effectually banning Planned Parenthood, which Rick Perry did in Texas (now struck down by the courts), and that today marks the Democratic primary to challenge Scott Walker next month, and where Amendment 1 will likely pass in North Carolina. 

I don't know that Bradley's conclusion about Occupy is correct: the teabag contingent was already a movement without a name prior to their rising against the ACA in 2009. The people who comprise the teabaggers are the same racist, homophobic, anti-choice, anti-Semitic, gun-toting, poorly-educated, climate change deniers they've always been. The teabag banner just gave them a clubhouse they could all share with their vitriol. 

Occupy, on the other hand, is relatively young, and has not yet gone through a legitimate election cycle: we'll see whether or not the power of that voting bloc can be harnessed in November. And it is incumbent on us, the Democrats, to reach out and bring them into our tent. It may be a transient location. In France this past weekend, Sarkozy was ousted and much of his party replaced by Socialists who realize that "austerity" is a disaster, and government spending is the only way for Europe to recover from the sins and excesses of the right wing and their bankers. By 2014, Occupy may well be organized enough to be fielding candidates who legitimately embrace the money-out-of-politics, and related, goals. This year, their choice will be to join us, or sit out the election, possibly causing further inroads on the part of the far right.

It's an "ich kreplach" moment for Occupy. (If you don't know "ich kreplach", it's after the jump.) The idea is that they hate the influence of corporations, their money and their power, on elections, politics, and sadly, democracy. They see both parties as having fallen into the grasp of that money pit.  If you ask them about individual issues, Occupy identifies with the mainline Democratic positions: gay marriage, cap and trade, more money for education, etc. In the end though, many do not want to vote because they don't see enough difference between the two major parties, and consider them both equally corrupt.

It is up to US as individuals, to move them from that spot. Bradley's conclusion is different than mine, he thinks the answer lies in expecting more from our politicians, and making them give concrete answers. His conclusion fails in the fact that it's easy to lie, get elected, and change sides. Or just be Mittens and have a position for everyone, given the time of day. My conclusion is that we must realize that the GOP, circa 2012, is the problem, and vanquishing them is the solution. Through any non-violent way possible. 

A shout out to John McCain, who is the last Republican to have done something decent. Yesterday, Mittens was faced at a town hall by a woman who said that Obama should be charged with treason. Like all Republican candidates faced with idiocy and racism on the part of an audience member, he just ignored it. Back in 2008, in the single best moment of his campaign, McCain was faced with a woman who said all sorts of nasty things about Obama in a similar forum. McCain took the mic back and said that while he disagreed with Obama on a number of issues, Obama was a decent man, and an American.

Mic check: Vanquish the GOP at the voting booth. Bring everyone you know. It's our only chance.

DocJess :: #Occupy, Teabaggers and Voting

Ich Kreplach

Kreplach are little pieces of pasta covered meat often put in Jewish Chicken Soup. They look a lot like wontons.

So, the story goes, there's a kid who hates kreplach. His parents take him to a Chinese restaurant and send him into the kitchen, where he tastes the filling, and declares it delicious. He tastes the pasta and loves that, too. He eats a raw one and is enthralled.  He rejoins his parents at the table, they put a bowl of wonton soup in front of him and he says "ich, kreplach."


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"the Democrats, to reach out and bring them into our tent" (0.00 / 0)
You would think that the Democrats and Occupy are a natural fit, but neither side has any love for the other. This is the real difference, the Republicans completely embraced, and even promoted the Tea Baggers, while the mainstream Democrats have just as much opposition to the Occupy Movement, it was especially disappointing to see Democratic Mayors unleashing just as cruel oppressive police powers against Occupy, and even hearing the DHS under Neapolitano coordinated these efforts to squelch the camps. In the end the astro-turf Tea Baggers were a tool of the mainstream Republican Corporate Agenda, and Democrats are as much a part of that as well, so Occupy is the only genuine anti status quo movement. I find there are a large number of Independents in Occupy who like to say there is no difference between the parties and like the Ron Paul rhetoric so they are closer to the Tea Baggers than to democrats, I have a friend who is libertarian and went to a few Tea Bag events and there is a lot of ground we can cover where we agree before he calls me a Commie or I say he's brainwashed by Fox News.

The core and funding a.k.a. the Koch Brothers have been there for  the last century in different manifestations, Sarah Robinson put it in perspective in her article "Fascist America: Have We Finally Turned The Corner?"

Our latter-day Christian Dominionists, sexual fundamentalists and white nationalists are the descendants -- sometimes, the literal blood descendants -- of the same people who joined the KKK in the 1920s, followed Father Coughlin in the 1930s, backed Joe McCarthy in the early '50s, joined the John Birch society in the '60s, and signed up for the Moral Majority in the 1970s and the Christian Coalition in the 1990s.  

(by the way one of the founders of the John Birch society was Fred Koch, the Koch Brothers Father, and the originator of the "No Fluoridation in Water" conspiracy, among others)

Occupy operates in a democratic strand of Anarchism a bottom up variety using unanimous consent, Noam Chomsky often talks about as an alternative to as he puts it a class of "Ruling Elites". though Obama pays lip service to "Bottom Up" it is not welcome in the current Democratic Party, case in point Rahm Emmanuel has been busy turning The Big Town into a police state for the up coming G8 summit, and Charlotte is doing the same for the Convention. Obama continued the patriot act, signed NDAA and signed presidential orders limiting civil liberties and empowering police action against protesters.

So there is little the Democrats offer Occupy at this time and it is by their own actions they have alienated Occupy.

Joe Giannasio (0.00 / 0)
I read your comment yesterday, and my immediate thought was "he better not be right" -- then I decided to think on it a while.

I certainly know that you're correct, BUT...I'm not convinced that it's too late. I believe that there truly is a difference between Fred Koch, the minions he spawned and their acolytes as contrasted to the Democrats. And today, in light of Obama's FINALLY being forced to come out for gay rights, that perhaps the whole party can turn somewhat leftward, embrace Occupy, win November, and set the country on it's better path. If not, it's time to start making plans to move to another country in December.  

[ Parent ]
actually, even though the teabaggers were esentially an astro turf movement by rightwiong nutcases within the GOP (0.00 / 0)
many mainstream Gopers still resisted them, though many of those who did got eaten alive. Romney is a bit of a repudiation of the Tea Party, though he pandered to them as much as he could, the teabaggers only embraced as a best chance candidate to get the negro out of the white house. I think we are having the same bit with the 99%. I think the college kids will do it again this summer and have a bigger impact as the conventions and elections roll around. i hope we dont see a repeat of the 1968 dem con, but if we do, we do.

the loss of the presidency that year was somewhat offset by the improving of the policies of the Dem party moving forward.

[ Parent ]




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