Yesterday, Barney Frank appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to discuss how much impact the Occupy Wall Street protests are having, and according to Mr. Frank, it's not very much at all. In response to Rachel's question about whether the OWS protests were effective counterpoints to tea party rallies that engaged both the media's and the GOP's attention, Frank responded that if the OWS protesters wanted to be as effective as the tea partiers, they needed to vote, and put more Democrats in congress. After all, continued the always grumpy Mr. Frank, it was the tea party contingent that delivered the House to the GOP in 2010 while progressive mal-contents stayed home.
Um, I hate to break this to you Barney, but we progressives, brand new voters and a boatload of independents did come out and vote to put the Democrats in charge of the White House and congress in 2008 and a fat lot of good it did us. Instead of clasping us to your breast, and thanking heaven for our support, as the Republicans do with the people who elect them to office, you Dems all kicked us to the curb and continued along with business as usual while breaking every campaign promise for change that you made to us.
As the Republicans bend over backwards appeasing the furthest fringes of their party, Democrats seem to think that they can pacify those of us who vote for them with a bunch of platitudes and empty promises. After all, in the immortal words of former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "F**K the progressives, where else are they going to go?" Well, 2010 showed you exactly where we're going to go and it was to the mall instead of the voting booths. New voters disappeared as well and Independents who had taken the huge step of switching over to Obama and the Democrats in the hope of reveling in change they could believe in, not surprisingly went back to voting for Republicans.
And even though it was the "Blue Dog" democrats who were resoundingly kicked out of Congress while the progressive caucus was overwhelmingly re-elected, Democrats in Washington don't appear to have gotten the message. They are still loath before the coming election to try and rescind the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, implement real regulations on financial institutions, pass a meaningful jobs bill, or get rid of the unfair advantages corporations have over everyone who isn't a corporation, just in case there are voters in their district who might be against those things. Unlike GOP representatives who embraced the tea party rallies, the response from Dems to the Occupy Wall Street protests has been, well, tepid would be putting it strongly.
I'm sure Frank's right when he says that protests are nice but not terribly effective, after all how many anti-Iraq protests did we have and we're still there? However, if 2008 was supposed to show us how effective we can be when we pull together and vote, I think if it's all the same to you, I'll pick up my sign and keep marching.