|Today, September 17, marks the second anniversary of the Occupy movement. When that movement is mentioned at all in Washington, which is rarely, the tone is dismissive. It didn’t have coherent goals, someone may say. The movement needed an electoral strategy, someone else will add. No wonder it didn’t last.
That’s getting it backwards. The Occupy movement wasn’t the foundation for change; it was the reflection of a deeper desire for it. It was the effect, not the cause, and it won’t disappear because of the wishful thinking of a few.
If you don’t believe that last part, just ask Larry Summers.
It’s not surprising that Republicans don’t understand. The Tea Party was their well-funded project to channel populist anger, and it led to the clueless spectacle of information-starved Americans marching to eliminate their own Social Security and Medicare. But the Tea Party has become a Frankenstein’s monster that threatens its creators in the GOP establishment.
The Republicans’ mistake was spiritual and moral. They chose to channel public rage, and only rage, without reaching out to people’s idealism as well. They acted out of self-interest and therefore, perhaps inevitably, triggered only selfish instincts. Now they can’t control the anger they’ve spawned.
As the old, supposedly Chinese adage goes: He who rides the tiger cannot dismount. The GOP is stuck with its Tea Party, making it all but impossible for them to govern – even on behalf of its wealthy paymasters.
(Not) Dancing With the Ones Who Brought Them
The White House, on the other hand, should’ve known better. It, and the party which it leads, were stuck in the polling doldrums before Occupy came along. President Obama and party leaders were trying to sell the economic foolishness of Simpson-Bowles austerity and the polling-booth poison of Social Security cuts until Occupy came along. The excitement spawned by the movement, along with the new economic vocabulary it generated, gave them a new direction and new momentum.
They were smart enough to seize it all – the moment, the movement, and the language. They rode that wave of economic populism into electoral victory, recapturing the White House and the Senate and winning 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives than Republicans did. (The Republicans kept the House anyway, thanks to gerrymandering.)
But the administration drifted after the election, diluting the message of economic populism and failing to deliver either bold economic proposals or aggressive enforcement against criminal Wall Street banks.
Then, in a gesture of stunning tone-deafness, the White House began floating the idea of nominating Summers to head the Federal Reserve. That sent exactly the wrong message to the American people, and to the Democratic base in particular. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—Obama Administration Revamps Missile Defense: Leaner, Meaner, and More Realistic:
|The arms control and defense wonk world has been turned on its head by today's big news regarding the Obama administration's re-assessment of the Bush administration's pet project in Europe: a missile defense shield, consisting of ground-based interceptors based in Poland, and a radar array based in the Czech Republic.
The news broke very early in the morning today, via an article in the Wall Street Journal:
OBAMA CANCELS MISSILE DEFENSE!
Now, I'm going to speak very slowly so that everyone can understand this: Obama DID NOT "cancel missile defense." Hardly.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounded up the day's news, including the 2nd anniversary of OWS, Larry Summers' withdrawal, new polling on Syria, gun issues following the shooting, and the Johns Hopkins NSA blogging story that Armando helps dispense with afterward. Armando stays on for discussion on the Navy Yard shooting, a brief GunFAIL update, and then more on The Mysterious Case of Jake Tapper's Twitter Grudge. Next, the bizarre: "America's Middle East Policy Collapses," the saga of fake Syria expert Elizabeth O'Bagy, and Michelle Obama says drink more water, so conservatives become anti-water.