OWS and the Tea Party

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Recently by David Franke: Why Conservatives Deserve to Lose in2012

     

The Tea Party began as a protest against the bailout of Wall Street.

Now the Tea Party is, in effect, coming to the defense of Wall Street.

Conservatives never learn.

Let me explain.

I'll begin with a trip into Washington, D.C. a few years back. I was accompanying one of the legendary leaders of the conservative movement, who had been invited to speak to a group of visiting Wellesley political science students. They were in town for a week of exposure to a potpourri of political viewpoints, and he thought this trip into D.C. would be a good opportunity for us to catch up on each other's lives. Perhaps he also didn't want to be burned at the stake alone. He knew I was a good bet because I never pass up an opportunity to be in the company of young women, even a bevy of future Hillary Clintons.

On the way in, he asked me a question he knew he would be asked at the meeting: "What do you think is the main mistake made by the conservative movement, or the main opportunity lost?" What an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and before I could settle on just one, he gave me the answer: Our failure to get involved in the civil rights revolution. In hindsight, he said, we should have helped black Americans obtain justice, and in the process seek to influence the movement in a constitutional direction.

I've thought about that conversation many times in the passing years, each time noting how conservatives continue to make the same mistake. "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned" is a lot easier to acknowledge than "Forgive me, Father, for I am sinning again, and I don't want to stop."

The latest example is this whole Occupy Wall Street brouhaha.

As I maintained in a previous article here, the Tea Party is losing impact because it has lost its focus. What began as a single-issue revolt centered on our fiscal crisis has morphed into the usual litany of conservative issues in an election cycle. Put another way, the Tea Party has been co-opted by the conservative movement, and since the conservatives have never been able to prevail over the Republican establishment, both Tea Partiers and conservatives are sinking together.

Now the Tea Party has found another way to slide into irrelevance, with its negative response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ordinary Americans sense that we have been screwed by Wall Street every bit as much as by Washington, D.C., but instead of fighting together we have fallen into the perennial Right vs. Left trap of letting the ruling establishment divide us. The conservatives say Washington caused our meltdown, the progressives say Wall Street caused our meltdown. Only the Ron Paul Revolution understands that they are one and the same, with the Federal Reserve representing and empowering both Washington and Wall Street against the people.

When the protests first began, conservatives and Tea Partiers should have descended on New York to seek to influence the movement in the right direction. From what I have read and seen, some members of the Ron Paul Revolution have been trying to do just that. But the Tea Partiers have reacted like, well, conservatives. And now the opportunity has probably been lost. Occupy Wall Street has been taken over by the liberal branch of the establishment — the labor unions — just as the Tea Party has been taken over by the conservative branch of the establishment — Washington insiders. The union bosses and conservative power-brokers saw their opportunity and took it.

I urge you to watch this short Occupy Wall Street video. Like the Ron Paul campaign's antiwar ad, it is one of the most powerful political statements I have seen since the advent of the YouTube revolution:

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