Saturday, October 22, 2011


In The New York Times right now, Kate Zernike gives us 33 paragraphs of Tea Party/Occupy Wall Street compare-and-contrast, under the title "Wall St. Protest Isn't Like Ours, Tea Party Says" -- but in trying to discern what's similar and diffeent about the two movements, Zernike never once uses any of the following words:

* Koch
* Fox
* Armey

... You get the drift. Look, what Zernike is doing is fine, up to a point. She sees President Obama and others comparing the two movements, and she goes to a teabag leader to get a predictable "noun, verb, and 'constitutional'" response:

"They seem to be more in favor of anarchy than they are in favor of working out problems through the Constitution," Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said about the Occupy forces.

She gives OWS a pass on vagueness, which I suppose is big of her, because, in her view, the teabaggers were(for a short time) rather incoherent:

The Tea Party, too, was vague about its frustrations in its early days, or contradictory, as in the sign at one rally that was cited as evidence that the Tea Party itself was uneducated and uninformed: "Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare."

But Zernike also writes this:

In fact, the two movements do share key traits. They emerged out of nowhere but quickly became potent political forces....

She never bothers to tell us how the teabaggers became "potent" -- as the results of lots and lots of skid-greasing from the right-wing media and well-funded groups like the Koch/Armey Americans for Prosperity. To Zernike, the teabaggers simply bootstrapped themselves to prominence and clout.

In fact, Zernike's only mention of any link between either group and mainstream politics is on the side where the linkage probably will never really happen in any meaningful way:

Certainly one reason that conservatives do not like the comparison is that Democrats and unions have eyed the Occupy movement as a vehicle for energizing the left in the 2012 elections.

I don't know how much OWS will want to link itself to the Democrats -- but even if bonds are forged, they're not going to be anything like what happened between the teabaggers and the established right -- a story Zernike either didn't think was worth recounting or doesn't completely grasp.