The Problem With the “Occupy” Movement

By: inoljt,

The Occupy Wall Street movement, a group of events protesting rising income inequality and arguing in favor of the “99%,” has recently started shaking American politics. It has become the subject of many conversations, including at my college.

In the two particular conversations that I recall, the tone was somewhat critical of Occupy Wall Street. One person stated that it seemed that the movement didn’t really have a set goal, and just seemed to be protesting for the sake of protesting. Another group of students was also skeptical of the movement; my memory is somewhat hazy on this matter, but they seemed to criticize the protesters as not really representing the working-class.

These anecdotal critiques may seem of little significance to most people, but they actually point to a very big problem with the Occupy movement. These people who were critiquing the Occupy movement were not conservatives by any stretch; they hold very liberal views. By all rights, the individuals I talked with ought to have been strong supporters of Occupy Wall Street; in fact, they should have formed the core of support for the movement. College students are some of the most liberal people in America; the typical college student is one of the most likely demographics in the country to support a protest on social inequality.

The problem with Occupy Wall Street is not really the goal of the protests but rather its tone. It just seems too hippie for most of America. I cringe when I read the “About Us” section of its unofficial website, which uses words like ”people’s assembly.” There is a very negative connotation that most of America holds when it hears a phrase like that.

This is very sad, because most Americans would agree with the aims of Occupy Wall Street. It’s just that the tactics of the movement will eventually alienate the typical swing voter.

If Occupy Wall Street can’t even win students at my college, how is it going to win Middle America?



A Real Winning Democratic Strategy for 2010

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

One thing I keep seeing a lot about is how Democrats are going to lose in 2010. Everyone seems to be wandering what strategy they can come up with to hang onto the House and Senate. A lot of people want to predict doom and gloom for our party and they may be right. However, I believe the strategy they think we should impose misses the mark.

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My guess, for what it's worth, is that President Obama will find a middle ground on the troop increase and provide fewer troops than requested. And the strategy will probably be tweaked toward the Joe Biden position and explicitly or implicitly away from nation building.

I'm fine with that. There may well be words of support for the Afghan government, but we and our allies are unlikely to commit to the numbers of troops and the time and the money required to build a viable, honest national government. In my opinion, we need to keep a sufficient force in the region to keep Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from re-establishing a base there and to protect and aid Pakistan. What the troop number and operational strategy should be is way beyond my thought process.

While I'm generally against nation building or intervention in foreign lands, I would support one unlikely scenario. If the principal nations of the world would agree and provide moral and material support, I would have us join in action to prevent undue oppression and human suffering imposed by evil regimes such as Idi Amin's or the Taliban.


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Gagging On Half a Loaf

In one of her debates with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (who's forgotten more about health care than hacks like Kent Conrad will ever know) said Democrats needed to insist that their plan provide universal coverage (which Obama has always been lukewarm about), or else the opposition would "nibble it to death." Well, as usual, Hillary was right.  The Republicans and their crazed wingnut hordes have been nibbling away like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and they may very well succeed in getting President Obama to sign a shitty bill.

But missing from this depressing story in today's New York Times ( /policy/06lessons.html?_r=1&ref=poli tics) is any indication that Barack Obama himself -- who's been lauded for playing chess while lesser politicians played checkers -- has much interest in the health care endgame from a policy standpoint.  He seems prepared to sign anything, which might be why, at each potential inflection point during the course of the debate, he has chosen to make himself invisible.  And politics abhors a vacuum.

This is the problem with Democratic strategists in general and Obama in particular.  They're still afraid of looking too liberal.  So in the end, because they refuse to lead, they look weak, even in victory, as they pass a milquetoast bill that they then have to sell -- without conviction -- to a still skeptical public.

But maybe this time, the Democratic base might get royally pissed off.  What -- really -- have we got to lose?

(From my blog

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Silent Running


"The chief characteristic and strength of the submarine is its invisibility due to its ability to submerge. As a consequence, the submarine is distinguished, at the same time, by another special feature, the advantage of surprise. "

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on the Obama strategy:

Every single symbolic act has been inclusive and sober. From that speech in Grant Park to the eschewal of euphoria on Inauguration Day; from the George Will dinner invite to the Rick Warren invocation; from meeting the House Republicans on the Hill to convening a fiscal responsibility summit; from telegraphing to all of us Obamacons that he wasn't a fiscal lunatic to ... unveiling the most expansive, liberal, big government reversal of Reagan any traditional Democrat would die for.

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