Mellman: Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

We can agree…

  1. This is piece written by Mark S. Mellman – 02/11/14 07:27 PM EST from
  2. These are the honest words of a true Socialist.
  3. The Resistance FFACTS expose him.
  4. … Add to this platform with YOUR opinion below…

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party followed similar trajectories. Both grew, seemingly as grassroots movements, enjoyed brief popularity and are now widely disliked by the electorate. But the two movements bequeath different legacies.

The FFACTS: Accurate

While Tea Party power may have ebbed somewhat, there is no doubt the movement achieved real power and exerted (for the worse, in my view) real influence on national policy. Occupy Wall Street left us with little more than a piece of an idea — the 1 percent — and many Democratic politicians would rightly argue they had been using that language long before Occupy made it famous.

The FFACTS: Accolades for identifying his political beliefs.

Why the divergent legacies? Politics matters.

Of course, the Tea Party had its own TV network, as well as national funding and some centralized institutional control. Fox News helped build the Tea Party, covering rallies of 20 and 30 people while almost ignoring gatherings of hundreds of thousands for progressive causes. Moreover, Fox provided its viewers with information on upcoming Tea Party events and urged viewers to participate. Financial support came from the Koch brothers, while FreedomWorks, Russo Marsh and Rogers and the Tea Party Express provided organizational muscle.

The FFACTS: Mr. Mellman truly believes that FOX News is biased and the other mainstream media is objective.  What he doesn’t realize is that his views are a result of the decades of liberal media bias before FOX News.  FOX News ratings equal that of all the other news outlets combined because, just as the electorate is evenly divided (recent elections have been close), the source people seek for news is evenly divided.  Why is it that conservatives can recognize a FOX News bias but Liberals refuse to accept a liberal bias?  Because their perceptions of reality are a result of that bias.  And that’s a FFACT.

Occupy Wall Street lacked some of those initial advantages — its media advocate was an obscure Canadian magazine called Adbusters. Yet it too generated a good deal of coverage, and ended up bringing tens of thousands of people to tents in some 600 communities.

The FFACTS:  All of the networks carried the Occupy Wall Street protests and including FOX News.  The only part omitted by the Main Stream Media was the anarchy.

Both movements were popular at their start, but both developed negative images. In January of 2010, 33 percent of Americans viewed the Tea Party favorably and 26 percent harbored unfavorable opinions in a CNN/ORC poll. By September, more people were unfavorable than favorable, and by the end of 2013, just 28 percent were favorable toward the Tea Party with 56 percent unfavorable, an increase of 30 points in unfavorable ratings.

The FFACTS:  A CNN poll?  FOX News is biased and CNN is balanced?

Occupy suffered a similar fate. In February 2010, 35 percent reported favorable and 22 percent unfavorable views. By October, more were unfavorable than favorable, and by March of 2012, unfavorables jumped 29 points to 51 percent, while favorables views declined to 30 percent.

The FFACTS:  How did so many people form an opinion when just a Canadian magazine covered the cause?  Is there a chance that these polls were affected by the bastardization of the Tea Party in the objective mainstream media?

Perhaps the most important difference was the choice each made about politics. The Tea Party was avowedly political. It participated in campaigns and ran its own candidates, some of whom were successful (though others were spectacular failures). But the end result was Tea Partyers in the halls of power and almost every Republican lawmaker looking worriedly over his or her right shoulders at every vote. The Tea Party had power in the sense defined by my teacher, Yale’s Robert Dahl, who died last week at 98. “A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do.” The Tea Party demonstrably got Republicans to do things that they would not otherwise have done.

The FFACTS:  This is a clear indication that Mr. Mellman does not understand the original intent of the Tea Party.  The intent, until it was bastardized as racists and homophobes, was to disrupt the Republican Party.  Republican RINOs were supposed to look over their shoulder.  Those Republican candidates looking over their shoulder were supposed to change or better yet, they should have just joined the Dependency Party where their big government beliefs are welcome.

Occupy Wall Street moved in the opposite direction, actively eschewing politics. Its members saw no place for themselves in the electoral system and often shooed away elected officials who attempted to visit their encampments, displaying contempt for politics and politicians. As a result there were no Occupy members of Congress, nor did anyone look over their left shoulder worried about a primary threat from Occupy.

The FFACTS:  Why do you believe this happened?  The FFACT is that the protesters were not about solutions, just the complaint.

The only residue they left in the body of politics is a slogan — and it’s not a slogan they invented. Polemicists have talked about the 1 percent for centuries. Al Gore accused George Bush of supporting the “wealthiest 1 percent” several times during the 2000 presidential debates. And other Democrats regularly used the phrase, though Occupy brought it to new heights of media attention and fame. But without a base in politics, the flame fizzled.

The FFACTS:  That’s because it’s a faulty slogan in the first place.  To have your slogan based on class-envy is the epitome of selfishness which is the root of all sin.

The more long-lasting influence of the Tea Party demonstrates that political involvement matters. Those who don’t want to get their hands dirty may remain pure, but their impact will remain limited.

The FFACTS:  Amen bro.  Not only will those not willing to get their hands dirty have limited impact on politics, they can’t even improve their own lives.

Mellman is president of The Mellman Group and has worked for Democratic candidates and causes since 1982. Current clients include the majority leader of the Senate and the Democratic whip in the House.

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