On both the right and the left there have been suggestions the emerging Occupy Wall Street movement was conceived and embraced as a liberal alternative to the paunchy, pale-skinned eruptions of cranky wingers who took to having cows over their dim perceptions of health reform. I don’t think so. And frankly, who the hell would want to be them?
Here are a few reasons why nobody in his right mind would.
1. They Got the Original Tea Party Wrong
Oddly enough, the more recent version of tea partiers strongly resembles the earlier one. That our current teabaggers don’t know that or know exactly how is beside the point. Indeed, like them, the original Tea Party was astroturfed as well. Rather than some spontaneous uprising, the original of course was a bunch organized (and in some cases paid) by domestic merchants to go down to the harbor and raise hell. The domestic merchants, the 18th century version of big business were in an uproar at the hit they were about to take on account of bigfooting by The East India Company back in the motherland. More business dispute than righteous vandalism.
And of course attaching yourself to the phrase “taxation without representation” in a nation in which there indeed is representation, and where in fact the representatives you elected enacted the taxes on your behalf, is pretty damn dumb. There’s no other way to put it.
2. An Anti-tax Movement at Exactly the Wrong Time
The Tea Party has billed itself first and foremost as an anti-tax movement. In comedy, sports, sex perhaps, and surely in social movements timing can be everything. So these geniuses chose a time when the amount of revenue collected by the American government in taxes is at its lowest point in American history, and when tax rates are historically low as well to launch an “anti-tax” movement. Huh? The timing was particularly inauspicious (brain dead) given Obama had just reduced taxes for 98% of the population. Who starts an anti-tax movement when taxes are at their lowest point in history? Really dim bulbs, that’s who.
3. They Didn’t Have A Clue About American Government, American Health Care or Health Reform
If some of your membership is hoisting a sign that says, “Government Keep Your Hands Off my Medicare,” you’re not channeling the Founding Fathers there, but any movie posse of Seth Rogen’s.
And such was the astuteness of the teabaggers they fell for the intoxicatingly paranoid misconception, which they brayed about to no end, that health reform was “a government takeover of the health care system,” in response to a plan that grandly expanded the customer base for private health insurers. Duh. These are people who actually believed mythical beasts called, “death panels” were coming to get them soon. Ironically, this fear was evinced at a time when private health insurers actually were and are acting as death panels choosing the potentially life-saving treatments they will or will not cover. If that weren’t dumb enough, how about a crowd protesting being given additional health care rights and expanded coverage at lower costs? Think, people, think!
4. If you Represent the Views of Only a Tiny Minority You Aren’t the Voice of the People, but Simply Cranks.
As far as anyone could tell, this revolution of the couch potatoes was mostly aimed at Obama, and rose up during a time when his popularity was still above 60%. Less Vox Populi than the death rattle of the hopeless 20% who supported Bush all the way to the bitter end.
And global corporations funding rallies where,“ordinary” people advocate the views of global corporations is about as subtle as Flo representing a giant insurance company (Give me those Geico woodchucks any day). A “grassroots” movement entirely financed by large corporations and wealthy owners to protect the interests of the One Percent doesn’t make them populists: it makes them stooges.
5. You Can’t Carry a Sign Comparing Obama to Hitler or Stalin if you’ve been a Stalwart Supporter of Bush and Cheney’s National Security State and Torture
No one I’m aware of ever saw a single teabagger lathering up in public over waterboarding, a favored practice of authoritarians. Nor was anyone using the Lipton company as a haberdashery ever witnessed marching in the streets when the Bush administration blithely engaged in the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. These in fact were people who warmly embraced Gitmo.
Clearly folks more likely to warm up to totalitarianism for real, aren’t just hypocrites when they yammer about Obama as Hitler, they’re idiots.