The Corner

Occupy Detroit: The Tea Party Difference

Detroit, Grand Circus Park — Desperate to show the Left’s grassroots in a favorable light, the MSM has taken to comparing the Occupy movement with the Tea Party. In reality, there is no comparison.

The 99 Percenters are professional protesters. There is nothing new here. Survey the Occupy Detroit crowd, and for the most part it is the usual suspects: anti-war protesters, racial-grievance activists, left-wing students, unionists. Activism is their avocation — only the theme changes. In 2006 they protested the Iraq War. In 2007 it was global warming at Live Earth. In 2010, supposedly racist cartoons in the New York Post. This spring they protested public-sector union reforms in state capitals. Now they protest corporations. They are supported by the usual names: Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, Bob King, UAW, SEIU. They know how to organize — and, just as important — the MSM sympathizes with them and covers their every move.


In part this was because the liberal MSM is out of touch with the middle-class, conservative voter.  But also it was because the tea partiers were new to the protest game. They were soccer moms, they were engineers, they were retirees who had never protested anything before. They weren’t backed by special-interest groups.

But suddenly, faced with a power-hungry, Obamacare-forcing, Democratic socialist Washington political class intent on poaching their liberties, they rose “to take back America.”

They are well on their way to doing so with the tsunami election of 2010 — and now have their eyes on the ultimate prize: the presidency. The tea-party agenda, however, endangers the special interests of professional protesters — who, not surprisingly, are striking back.

That’s the meaning of the 99 Percenters. They aren’t a liberal grassroots answer to the Tea Party. They are the Big Government special interests that are threatened by it.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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