Rep. Barney Frank had some tough love for Occupy Wall Street protesters on Rachel Maddow's show on Monday night: Where were you guys in November 2010 when we needed you in the voting booth?
[S]imply being in a public place and voicing your opinion in and of itself doesn't do anything politically. It is the prerequisite, I hope, for people getting together and voting and engaging things.
And I understand some of the people on Occupy Wall Street are kind of critical of that. They think that's conventional politics.
Well, you know, the most successful organization in America in getting its views adopted is the National Rifle Association. They are in many cases a minority. But in addition to everything else they do, they very effectively identify who the members of the Congress are, the legislatures and vote for them.
So, as I said, I welcome the Wall Street energy. I don't agree with everything some of the people say. I agree with the general thrust of it. But it's not self-executing. It has to be translated into political activity if it's going to have the impact. And -- you know, I would just say, the last thing, we had an election last year in which people who disagree with them, and disagree with me and with you, got elected.
I want to be honest again here. I don't know what the voting behavior is of all these people, but I'm a little bit unhappy when people didn't vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting.
And he has a very salient point. If you agree with the Occupy Together movement and you choose not to vote, then the Republicans win. Really is that simple. The fact of the matter is that while the Occupy Together movement is fantastically energetic, it has to be channeled into the means for positive change at the voting booth to make any actual difference. The good news is given how awful Republicans have been to the movement, that may happen more as a secondary backlash rather than a primary goal. If that's true, then I'll take it in a heartbeat.