I think the Occupy Wall Street people are wrong on pretty much everything. Even the the things they’re right about (e.g, bailouts, high student debt etc.), they seem to be right for the wrong reasons and then go on to propose the wrong remedies.
Still I love this stuff. Yes, there are elements in those crowds that dream of very dangerous things. And one should always remember that stupid movements have become deadly because nobody took them seriously until it was too late. But for now, they are just so much fun to watch. Their claims of representing the 99 percent are so preposterous, it’s sad and funny at the same time. Their various lists of demands sound like they were written in a tree house by politically precocious pre-teens.
I don’t think this thing has nearly the legs its boosters do. For starters, for all the talk about this being the U.S. version of the Arab Spring (a disgusting, and idiotic, anti-American slander by the way), at least the Arabs were smart enough to start the Arab Spring in the Spring! These bozos chose the fall which means it’s only going to get colder. No doubt some will hold out in their urban yurts for as long as it takes, but that self-anointed avant garde of the campus proletariat is going to get lonely when it starts to snow (of course they could all migrate south for the winter).
Anyway, over the weekend, I think I heard E.J. Dionne talk about how Obama has been hurt by the lack of criticism from the serious left in his first few years in office. I think that’s probably true. It always helps to have the crazies yelling at you if you want to seem moderate. But Obama has nobody but himself to blame for their silence: He successfully co-opted the hard left in no small part by convincing them he was one of them. Or, if you prefer, he co-opted the moderates and liberals by convincing them he was one them. Regardless, Van Jones and that crowd loved Obama — and still do.
The problem, I think, is that it’s too late for the hard left to help Obama triangulate. I mean he’s moving leftward at precisely the moment everyone’s first impressions of the Occupy Wall Street “movement” are being formed. If he’s going to triangulate, he needs to do so soon, if not right now.
No matter what, I very much doubt the scruffy hordes will pull mainstream voters, particularly independents, leftward toward Obama. Rather they are going to be counted as further evidence the country is on the wrong track. But, if the “movement” does grow, I suspect it will sap energy from Obama’s youth and minority mobilizing more than anything. Mobilizing for Obama was the hip and revolutionary thing to do in 2008. If this thing continues to build, mobilizing for Obama might be seen as selling out.
Personally, I’m hoping for this thing to grow to the point where one of two things happen. (1) The Occupy Wall Street “movement” serves as a de facto primary challenge to Obama, sapping his strength, his glamor and his party’s enthusiasm. Or, (2) Van Jones and his ilk succeed in making this motley bunch into the “leftwing tea party” of their dreams. If every Republican candidate is responsible for the rare dumb or “extreme” statement of a tea partier, I look forward to the Democrats having similar problems with the Marxists belches and burps that will emanate with increasing frequency from the pseudo-revolutionary maw.
Either way, it will be entertaining and beneficial. And, so far, things are looking good.