Tea Party Leaders: Why ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Doesn’t Compare
Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin are the cofounders and national coordinators of Tea Party Patriots, America’s largest Tea Party group.
Two groups, one “Day of Action,” vastly different results.
According to the New York Times, more than 240 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in New York City on November 17; some for felony assault. As New York Mayor Bloomberg said, “some protesters today have deliberately pursued violence,” resulting in injuries to seven police officers officers. How did the Occupy Wall Street protestors pursue violence? One threw a “star-shaped glass object” at a police officer, cutting his hand so badly it required twenty stitches. Another protester threw a corrosive liquid into the faces of four police officers. And a mob of ‘Occupy’ protesters tormented a group of “little school kids trying to get to class” chanting “follow those kids!”
Read more at www.usnews.com
By contrast, Tea Party Patriots across America visited our local representatives on the same day for what we called a “Deal in the District.” The purpose of our civilized meetings with our local representatives was to remind them that the deadline for the “super committee” to find $1.2-$1.5 trillion in cuts was November 23, and that We the People want real cuts to government overspending, not fake cuts.
New York Times financial writer Joe Nocera critiques Occupy movement
The tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements sit about as far apart on the political spectrum as they can get. Certainly, their members and the American public would be surprised, if not shocked, to consider that the two grassroots movements might derive from the same source.
Yet, that is the conclusion reached by one of the country’s foremost financial writers. In an interview last week with the Gazette, New York Times financial columnist Joe Nocera said he sees the country’s economic situation - the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots - “at the root of both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements.”
He believes that for the Occupy Movement to be successful, it must frame clear demands that outline a plan for creating jobs and refashioning Wall Street to benefit the entire country and not just a select few wealthy investors.
Read more at www.gazettenet.com
Without a solid plan for moving forward, he said, the Occupy protestors will be continued to be viewed by Wall Street supporters as little more than “a gnat that needs to be flicked from its shoulder blades.”
Left-wing organizing kingpin: Tea partiers out-organized Occupy Wall Street
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) founder and Service Employees International Union organizer Wade Rathke
acknowledged that the tea party
movement has been more effective than Occupy Wall Street in influencing American politics.
Rathke was unequivocal about the Occupy movement, telling The DC that “in no way has it had the political impact that the tea party movement has.” Yet because Occupy organizing is “still in its embryonic stages” while tea partiers have been organizing for more than two years, he cautions that “comparing the tea party movement to OWS is apples and oranges.”
While watching ACORN implode in the United States, Rathke has thrived in his new role as community organizer to the world by remaking ACORN International, known as Community Organization International in the U.S., into a worldwide community organization with near-global reach and power. And former ACORN board members say Rathke’s remarkable global turnaround is proof that most observers completely missed ACORN’s bigger picture and its broader goals.
Read more at dailycaller.com
Rathke generally had positive things to say about both the tea party and Occupy movements. “They are substantially mobilizing individuals around a set of principles,” he added. “It’s fascinating that they’re both appealing to many of the same people.”
Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party have similarities
Fed up with a status quo they see as rigged against the average American, a group of protesters took to the streets.
That was the scene in 2009, when the Tea Party came to national prominence. And that has been the scene again in recent weeks in cities across the nation with the growth of the Occupy movement.
Both are populist movements, though from different ends of the political spectrum, with the Tea Party being generally conservative and Occupy leaning to the left, said Richard Fleisher, a political science professor at Fordham University.
Read more at www.democratandchronicle.com
The Occupy movement has taken some criticism for its lack of specific goals, while the Tea Party has been more focused on such aims as smaller government and lower taxes
. But there are areas where the two groups can agree.
Occupy Wall Street insists it’s not political, at least for now
The Occupy Wall Street protest may be a movement, a momentary phenomenon or something in between, but one thing its most fervent activists insist it’s not is a team of shock troops for any political campaign.
That’s a disappointment to Democrats who wish the Occupy activists would animate their party the way the tea party lit up Republicans in the past two years, but the protesters at the original Occupy Wall Street scene say that’s not what it’s about.
“I don’t see us endorsing candidates or trying to form a party,” said Mark Bray, 29, a doctoral student in history at Rutgers University and a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. Efforts to shift the movement in a partisan direction would be unlikely to be approved by the consensus process at the protesters’ regular General Assembly meetings, he and other protesters say.
Read more at www.miamiherald.com
“There would be so many people who would balk at the endorsement of any party or candidate that I don’t think it would happen,” Bray said.
The Tea Party And Occupy Movements Have Been Hijacked
The Tea Party movement started out as justifiable outrage about the consequences of government spending gone wild. Initially, the Tea Party did not have a social agenda. It was simply “get spending under control or our economy will face dire consequences.” Then, somewhere in the mix, right-wing hardliners latched onto the movement and turned it into what it is today. There are still members of the Tea Party movement who are focused on the fiscal issues alone. But, alas, they are drowned out by the usurpers.
The Occupy Wall Street movement started out as justifiable outrage about all of the garbage the banks and brokerage firms were pulling. It also included outrage over the tremendous compensation packages that some executives of public companies received. Then, somewhere in the mix, the movement — at least in some areas — has been taken over by who knows who. In Oakland, the Occupy movement took over the docks at the Port of Oakland. The president of the longshoremen’s union pleaded with the Occupy movement to stop because his union members were being docked pay for not reporting to work. Who were they trying to help? In other locations, Occupy movement members carry signs calling for the overturn of capitalism. Now, there’s a solution.
Read more at www.forbes.com
Who can name the U.S. president who said that we must govern from the middle and not from the extremes?
Tea Party Videos Take Aim at Occupy Wall Street
Tea Party group FreedomWorks is using the Occupy Wall Street movement to galvanize anti-Obama support. The organization is one of a handful of so-called Super PACs that are spending on web video, online ads, and email in preparation for the ever-closer 2012 election.
Another tea party group, American Crossroads, has begun spending on digital media to defeat President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Obama-backer Priorities USA has outspent them both online.
Read more at www.clickz.com
Videos posted by FreedomWorks in the last week are aimed squarely at the right’s frustrations with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Both OWS-related videos posted on the FreedomWorks Action YouTube channel include overlay ads pointing to petitions on the group’s website. Like many outside political advocacy organizations, the goal is to build a supporter list with fresh contacts to tap throughout the next year for volunteer action and fundraising.
The Nation: Occupy The Tea Party’s Mind
at the Defending the American Dream Summit, a conference of thousands at the Washington, DC, convention center on Friday and Saturday, said nothing about Occupy Wall Street. The event, organized by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a fiscally conservative activist organization, had a series of issue and skills-building panels, a few keynote speeches by conservative celebrities and a “Cut Spending Now Rally.”
But OWS was a phantom presence. Nearly every speaker mentioned the Occupy movement, invariably to vilify it. Conservative propagandists such as National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and web activist Andrew Breitbart tried to mock and dismiss the Occupy activists with bluster and bravado. They alternated between haughty derision and panicked fear-mongering. They all insisted that their side is winning and Occupy will be surely self-defeating. But their constant obsession with Occupy suggests they doth protest a bit too much.
Read more at www.npr.org
The New Yorker reported last week that some Occupy Wall Street activists think the Tea Party is as legitimate a movement as their own, and one they should seek to work with. The feeling is not mutual.
Thumbs down for Occupy, Tea Party in new nationwide poll
The online poll of 1,005 American adults reveals that 35 percent still have a positive impression of the Occupy movement, but 40 percent now say they have an unfavorable opinion. About one quarter of the poll respondents had no opinion or were unsure.
The UMass Lowell/Herald poll, conducted Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, is the first to show negative sentiment tilting against the Occupy movement, which has now spread to hundreds of cities, including Boston. Several other comparable national polls conducted earlier in October showed slightly more positive than negative views of the protests.
But while Tea Party and Occupy supporters may share some views, they don’t have much else in common, according to the UMass Lowell/Herald poll.
Read more at news.bostonherald.com
Nearly two-thirds of Tea Party sympathizers describe their political views as conservative, while just 14 percent of Occupy Wall Street backers call themselves conservative.
Americans torn between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street would back an independent for President
New York Times polling shows that our government has virtually no credibility. Eighty-nine percent of Americans say they distrust government, 84% disapprove of Congress and 74% say the country is on the wrong track. In 1992, the last time there was a viable presidential independent candidacy, Gallup polling showed that voters were satisfied with government, 58% to 39%. Now, voters say they are dissatisfied, 81% to 19%.
This is not simply another cycle of discontent. We’re dealing with historic levels of frustration.
In Gallup polling, 69% of respondents say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high. Fifty-seven percent have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, which exceeds the previous high of 53% recorded last year. And a majority (53%) has little or no confidence in the people who seek or hold elected office.
Read more at www.nydailynews.com
The polarization of the two parties has left a wide open gap in the center for a third presidential candidate. A group that I am working with, Americans Elect, is in the process of obtaining ballot access in all 50 states for a centrist, bipartisan ticket. Americans Elect has no issue agenda, and no candidate has been nominated yet through its online process. It is simply dedicated to offering a nonpartisan, centrist alternative. Polling my firm conducted for the organization showed that 57% believe there is a need for a third party, and 58% favor having an alternative presidential ticket that is independent of the Democratic and Republican parties on the ballot in 2012.