The Democrats fairly quickly saw the Occupy Wall Street and derivative Occupy protests around the nation as a politically exploitable movement, their version of the 2010 TEA Party demonstrations that helped the Republicans make such significant gains in the 2010 elections.
But there was a problem: the Occupiers were nothing like the TEA Partiers, and are really almost the exact opposite. While some on the left have tried to compare the two, there’s really no similarity beyond the word “protest.”
The TEA Partiers held protests during the day, and went home when it was over left their rally sites mostly clean. They had to leave; most of them had to go to work on Monday. The Occupiers camped out, and stayed in place, not going home, because they don’t have jobs or anything productive to do. The rallying points were polar opposites: the TEA Partiers are the tax payers, while the Occupiers are the tax consumers.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, that wasn’t much of a base on which to build. And now, it seems like even the Democrats are getting tired of the Occupiers: whatever political advantage the Democrats might have seen has gotten lost in the stench of urine and feces from the camp sites. When you see an article like this in The Washington Post, you know that the Democrats are getting fed up:
The Occupy movement: More trouble than change?
By Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch, Published: November 15
The movement began as a protest of major economic and political issues, but lately the most divisive issue has become the protests themselves. The Occupy Wall Street encampments that formed across the country to spotlight crimes committed on Wall Street have become rife with problems of their own. There are sanitation hazards and drug overdoses, even occasional deaths and sexual assaults.
On Tuesday, New York and other cities across the country continued the chaotic, disruptive process of picking sides. Police made arrests in at least six states; three civil rights groups filed lawsuits on behalf of protesters. Mayors and city officials from coast to coast held emergency meetings and tried to decide:
- Is the most far-reaching protest movement in the past decade solving problems or creating them?
- Is this an occupation or an infestation?
The reports keep coming in, reports of spreading ringworm, lice, scabbies, assaults and rape, and the big city mayors whose responsibility it is to keep their cities safe, clean and healthy feel a duty to respond. And let’s be clear about this: the mayors of these cities aren’t Republicans. Oakland evicted the Occupiers; Oakland is run by the Democrats, and has been for decades. New York is primarily run by Democrats, and while Mayor Michael Bloomberg is currently an independent, he has been both a Democrat and republican by registration, registering as a Republican when he felt it would be more advantageous to run for the Republican rather than Democratic mayoral nomination. Wilipedia describes Mr Bloomberg as “a social liberal, who is pro-choice, in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and an advocate for stricter gun control laws.”
Some of this was inevitable. The Occupiers constituted a dense mass of people, camping very close together, with very little in the way of sanitary facilities. Too few or no bathrooms, few or no showers, little or nothing in the way of laundry facilities, in the rain and the cold and the mud, and the diseases and pests and parasites that thrive in densely packed, poorly washed areas are going to spread and thrive. The assaults and rapes were not inevitable, but given a large group of emotionally driven young people with a lot of time on their hands and little to do, such is hardly a surprise.
It’s not a surprise that the Democrats thought that they could use the Occupy protests to their political advantage; the Occupiers’ basic themes fit in well with the Democrats’ meme that they represent the common man while the Republicans are the party of the rich. But it was always a bit uneasy, and in the end, couldn’t work, because, whether we disagree with the Democratic leaders policy positions or not, we can agree on one thing: they are sophisticated, educated, responsible, successful and hard-working people, a description which puts them greatly at odds with the Occupiers. Michael Nutter is a life-long Democrat, but he became Mayor of Philadelphia through a career of success on the city council and previous endeavors. Jean Quan of Oakland didn’t become mayor by being a slacker, but worked hard during her career, making a success of herself. These politicians might have some sympathy for the Occupiers, but they are simply not like them and cannot really identify with them.