Whatever one might think of Occupy Wall Street's strategy, the motivations behind it are genuine. Too many Americans have fallen victim to hard economic times, with no help in sight. Meanwhile, the close relationship between corporations and lawmakers angers those who believe in democracy. There is a hunger for economic justice in this country, and Occupy Wall Street is channeling that hunger into something positive.
However, many voices on the far right do not agree. As the Occupiers grow in strength and numbers, several right-wing figures continue to mock the movement, accusing it of a litany of wrongs.
First, as mentioned in a prior post, Glenn Beck told an audience at the 2011 Values Voters Summit that "The violent left is coming to our streets, all of our streets to smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, to destroy." He insisted that Occupy Wall Street, flash mobs, and "redistribution-of-wealth people" want to take from others and seek revenge.
Beck did not stop there. On the October 10th edition of his radio show, he also made inflammatory comments about Occupy Wall Street. At the 2:51 mark of the video below, Beck claimed that a "top down" effort reminiscent of the Night of Long Knives would be necessary to contain the protesters. (Hat tip to the Huffington Post.)
"Nancy Pelosi, do you really think these people are your friends? Are you guys stupid? ... Do you really think that you're going to be able to somehow or another control these people? The only way you'll do it, gang, is top down, bottom up, and inside out, and it will be the Night of Long Knives. It will be a purging of this country. You encourage this, and it's going to require the top to come down and stop it."One of the men in Beck's studio said, "Troops. Send in the Marines. Clear 'em out." Later, at the 4:27 mark, Beck admonished capitalists and Democrats to be wary of Occupy Wall Street, lest they become violent.
"Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsies with these people, you're wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you ... They're Marxist radicals ... Last call, Democrats. Get out of bed with these people ... These guys are worse than Robespierre from the French Revolution. Remember, Robespierre wasn't talking about just beheading everybody. That came later. These guys don't even have power. They don't even have power. They'll kill everybody."
Next, on October 7th at the 2011 Values Voters Summit, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) condemned the "growing mobs" occupying Wall Street. At the 50:55 mark of C-SPAN's morning coverage video, Cantor had this to say.
"I for one am increasing concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans."Also at the 2011 Values Voters Summit was Laura Ingraham, who made cheap shots about Michael Moore's weight before scoffing at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. At the 33:47 mark of C-SPAN's afternoon coverage video, Ingraham compared the Washington D.C. occupiers to figures in government, health care, and the financial world that she dislikes.
"The D.C. occupation is nothing new, right? They've been occupying the health care system. They've been occupying the financial sector for the last couple of years. They've been occupying the supreme court, and they've basically been occupying every aspect of our lives, so I'm bringing you a message today. The D.C. occupation ends next November."At the 34:27 mark, she claimed that the demonstrators do not represent Americans' concern over the economy.
"[President Obama] said that the protesters represent the broader concern in the nation over the economy, okay. After spending some time down at the protest, I will tell you these protesters don't represent the broader concern of their college dormitory, let alone the broader nation."A post by the Family Research Council described Occupy Wall Street as a "sixties-style tent city" which has been revitalized by celebrities, Democrats, and the "sycophant liberal media." It offered a prayer to God to prevent the "radical organizers" of Occupy Wall Street from "stirring revolution and distracting voters from the elections."
In an October 13th commentary at the New York Post, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain defended capitalism as the "economic engine" that has brought with it the "comforts of modern life." He mocked the Occupy Wall Street protesters, claiming that they would rather have handouts than work. He told demonstrators to "examine their own failures and take a hard look in the mirror," rather than protest.
The National Review reported that during an October 12th press conference, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) said that Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are complaining about some of the same things that conservatives and Tea Partiers are. However, he claimed that Occupy Wall Street lacks "the basic American legitimacy" of the Tea Party.
On the October 13th edition of The 700 Club, after a short segment on Occupy Wall Street, Pat Robertson called the protesters "nuts" and "clowns." At the 4:40 mark of the show, Robertson argued that Obama's rhetoric has contributed to the mindset undergirding the protests.
"It’s kind of a nice little time to blow off steam and have some nuts express their points of view. The problem we’re dealing with, ladies and gentlemen, is much more important than this, is the corrosive effects of the speech of our president. The president’s supposed to be the leader of all of us but he has chosen to attack a segment of our population, those who’ve been successful. He’s attacking those who own capital, those who use jet aircraft as a business tool, he’s attacking all the people who have any kind of luxury or wealth. And yet, he goes to Martha’s Vineyard and hobnobs with the rich. But nevertheless, this is a continuous drumbeat that these people are taking advantage of is that the rich are evil. It’s the socialist cant that he picked up years ago in Chicago, but it is corrosive. We have to build an economy and the people who are making jobs don’t need to be vilified by the president. So these clowns up there at this Occupy Wall Street are just picking up the president’s message, perhaps on a cruder form."In an October 13th column at RenewAmerica, Michael Obernorf described Occupy Wall Street's participants as "a few thousand die-hard, old, New Lefties and their spawn, clearly not very bright." He insisted that their methods consist of "[a]nti-Semitism, intimidation, and threats of violence."
UPDATE: Even more right-wing voices are sneering at Occupy Wall Street. It's hard to keep up!
Hat tip to Right Wing Watch for several of these leads (see here, here, and here). For additional commentary, visit the following links.
Hollywood Reporter: Occupy Wall Street: Former 'SNL' Actress Victoria Jackson Grills Protesters
Think Progress: Conservative Pundits’ Double Standard On Occupy Wall Street And The Tea Party
Addicting Info: Conservative Reaction to OWS