Not A Mirror Image

The Occupationists are the lefty equivalent of the Tea Party, and as such, pose as much of a threat to establishment Democrats as the Tea Party activists do to the establishment Republicans.  In fact, it is a movement that has the potential to spin wildly out of control, devouring the Democrats who seek to control it.  So goes the current thinking about the Occupy demonstrations that, with but few more demonstrators nationwide than Tea Party events got in individual cities last year, have suddenly occupied the national media’s attention.

This thinking is wrong, and there is every reason to believe that its promotion by Democrat activists is actually part of the strategy.

For one thing, if Peter Wehner is correct, and establishment Democrats need to be wary of Occupy, one could start by asking why they aren’t.  From labor unions to the AAUP to the White House (somewhat more coolly) to Congressional Democrats, the left-liberal establishment has decided that this is a movement worth supporting.

The Tea Party, while it may have provided the energy behind the 2010 elections, was (and is) unhappy about the lack of a coherent conservative message coming from Republican leadership.  Indeed, prior to the Tea Party’s emergence, it would have been hard to identify any coherent message coming from Republican leadership.

This is at least in part because the movement, such as it is, is essentially parrotting the line that the Democrat leadership has been peddling for four years, and amplifying over the last few months – blame capitalism, blame Wall Street, blame business, above all, blame “the rich.”  They may not be happy about regulatory capture, but they’re not demonstrating against the regulations.

Because people were clearly tuning this message out when it came from the White House, Congressional Democrats, and labor unions (public or private), an “authentic voice” was needed to promote it, from people who could be portrayed as being true victims, rather than authors of their own misfortune.

Enter the unemployable graduates, holders of unmarketable sheepskins, and being crushed by student loans, of Occupy.  This is not a spontaneous movement.  Spontaneous movements do not advertise for paid organizing positions.  It is another organized mob, intended to provide a sympathetic face to the Left’s arguments that whatever the problem is, it’s not government policies that got us here.

In fact, this strategy has already had a dry run.  This summer.  In Israel.

According to an investigative report by Maariv’s Kalman Libeskind, Democratic operative and pollster Stanley Greenberg, who, along with James Carville, Bob Shrum, and others, was part of a team sent by Bill Clinton to drive Netanyahu from office in 1999, is again trying to influence Israeli politics.

His mission: stoking economic discontent into a protest movement intended to again, replace Benjamin Netanyahu with a leader more willing to sell out to American leftists and make concessions to the Palestinians.

While the movement there doesn’t seem to have weakened Netanyahu, it does seem to have revitalized Labour to some extent.   Israel has socialist roots whose symbolism still resonates there.  (Political cultures, even within the Anglosphere, differ, thank goodness.)  The mission here is not to undermine a sitting President, but rather to force the debate onto ground more favorable to the Democrats, to force Republicans to confront the presumed trump card of “fairness.”

For these reasons, the Occupy movement is less a mirror of the Tea Party, and more like the Democrats’ Portrait of Dorian Grey.

Conservatives and Republicans have already won a series of special elections and recall elections by coming up with answers to the political class and the public employee unions.  Recognizing and pointing out that it’s the same set who’s pulling the strings here is the first step towards keeping the ideological and policy lines clear, and maintaining momentum going into the election season.

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