Tuesday, October 18, 2011

But No One Will Listen

Matt Taibbi is right that OWS and Tea Partiers (at least as they were initially conceived) are natural allies against the too big to fail, big government dependent financial industry. But that is complicated and hard, and too many Democrats (and allies) and Republicans (and allies) are scrambling to work OWS into the same divide that they fit everything else into.

It also neglects the fact that while when the Tea Party started a couple years ago they were very much anti-TARP and anti-bailout, they have morphed into ultra-conservative Republicans. It wasn't long before tea party events were being sponsored by pro-corporate pseudo-Libertarians, and that anger was quickly redirected to being against taxes (on the wealthy) and against regulation (a very pro-corporate stance).

OWS seems, in no small part, a reaction to the Tea Partyification of the GOP.

There has not been a place in politics for populism in the past maybe 30 years. "What's the Matter with Kansas" does a pretty good job of explaining how the GOP has managed to use wedge issues to get lots of people to vote against their own best interest. Democrats have, in response, pushed further to the right themselves on some notion of capturing that elusive "moderate" "middle of the road" voter that doesn't really exist. Most people in this country are very poorly served by both parties. Companies are, on the other hand, very well served by both parties.

Money has so much power that when the Tea Party started to rise up against the GOP's horrible anti-American policies, they were gobbled up whole by the party that they wanted to change. The few wacko candidates that they worked into the GOP have been even more pro-corporate pro-wealth, anti-regular American, than those already there. Now OWS has arisen, purportedly from the left, but really from a slightly different anti-politics-as-usual popular front in this nation. So far they have been more successful than was the Tea Party at keeping "above the fray" of politics, but I wonder how long it can last.

People are not happy. The rich are doing fine and the rest are suffering. The financial industry wrecked the economy and not only got off scot-free but were bailed out by the rest of us, who have gotten nothing back. OWS is the response.

Most of the media has some interest in placing OWS into a camp, either to attack, or to co-opt, or to simplify...mostly to simplify. While the populist movement has a rather simple reason for being, the specifics for what can/should/must be done and in what order and how are myriad and become complex when trying to figure out. Moreover, even for the policy savvy (like Matt Taibbi) there isn't really a simple solution, and politically there isn't really a possible solution.

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