Friday, October 14, 2011

Right-Wing Voices Scoff at Occupy Wall Street

Republic of Gilead has a post on the Stop the Machine and Occupy D.C. demonstrations in Washington D.C., as well as commentary links on the Occupy Wall Street movement. For this post, I'd like to direct attention to the hostile comments some right-wing voices have made about the movement.

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


  1. It is kind of an interesting show, you know. You can see the failures of prejudice bias.

    Beck's hysterical, so, nothing new there. With Cantor, it's tough to know exactly what he's talking about there, but possibly Beck-level hysteria.

    Ingraham, I think what she dislikes specifically, is democrats, and is tying together the occupiers with the dems, thus the November reference. The next quote you give from her, though, speaks to that bias. She seems to think that the overwhelming majority of Americans think like her, and that there is no problem with the power in corporations or Wall Street, ergo she thinks that they do not represent any significant portion of Americans. But that's pretty flawed logic, given that they are showing up in significant numbers in major cities throughout the US.

    FRC may be right about the appearance of the tent-city thing, but (as usual) goes a little too far.

    Cain, he's a smart dude, and has made some incredible accomplishments. (Check out his resume sometime.) But his bias, like many "self-made" men, is believing the myth that all you have to is work hard to become successful. (Smart, but that 9-9-9 plan is not one of his best ideas except in the simplicity of marketing.)

    Sessions, and others, somehow have this unrealistic perspective that only the Republican voice is American.

    Pat Robertson, and others, try to paint this a Obama waging class warfare, but, as he misses the irony of his own statement, Obama and many other dems are rich! So any tax laws they pass directly affect themselves. Are they attacking themselves then?

    Obernorf is doing classic marginalization.

  2. Wise Fool -- Good observations! I suspect that right-wing ire toward OWS will continue to grow, given how they frame the movement.

  3. Ingraham has been privileged all her life and not very smart. I believe many on the right have come from some very narrow portions of our society and represent the absolute division and complete separation of different classes of people. Ingraham and many others from the wealthy class who champion that which feeds them, represent those among them who have shallow imaginations and/or little ability to exercise empathy. They look upon those of the classes lower than themselves as inferior - it is a knee-jerk reaction that they've grown up with and they don't think too hard about it. Remember, there are many enlightened people who've grown up wealthy, but they have demonstrated an higher conscientiousness. I really think the Ingrahams of the country resent the higher intellect of most on the right and see their calls for change as very threatening -- that they can figure out.

    On the other end you have those within the lower and middle class who have either moved up by lucky circumstances or being in the right place at the right time, or by having some very unique talent, into the wealthy class. They enjoy their new position; justifying the social injustice they know exists rests of seeing themselves and those around them as exceptional from the herd. If they have to give any of this up, then they must give up their exceptionalism. No one likes to stop feeling special.

    Then there's those who still live poor or middle class. They believe deep down that if they root for the bigger team, somehow, someday, someway they'll be remembered and included, or if they just imitate the movements, motions and motives of the uber rich class, that they will get catapulted onto that slide of wealth and comfort. Because remember, the biggest lie the wealthy tell the working class is "You can too if you think like us."

    Its the most self-serving lie told to the working people of the twentieth century. Not only does it push the belief that the rich are all good guys like us, but it also promulgates the idea that if you deny what will work for you (and what conversely works for the rich) you will somehow reap some benefit for yourself.

    No, you won't and the sooner the working classes learn that and accept it, the sooner we can all get this country back on track.

  4. the shriller the cry from this beast the deeper the knife is in its heart.

  5. Anonymous -- Welcome! That definitely helps me understand why some middle and working class people root for the elites. A clear-eyed, insightful comment.

    Christopher -- Welcome to the blog!

  6. Hard work, foresight,self-sacrifice,and
    risk-taking(guts) often lead to financial success,but should the reward be BILLIONS$$$?)
    (or millions?)

  7. Excellent analysis and commentary, as usual! Found this post:
    linked at Dependable Renegade. It is short, concise and worth a read.

  8. Anonymous II -- Good point. Thanks for stopping over!

    Noodleepoodlee -- Great column -- it got to the core of the present economic downturn, as well as the role of the bailouts several years back. Thanks!

  9. Is it bad that I find this funny?

    "They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you."


  10. Anomaly 100 -- It's hard NOT to find Beck funny sometimes. He's so over-the-top.

  11. Me again! See you made the Blog Round Up at Crooks and Liars. Excellent, and congratulations. I sent them my re-posting of "Don't Piss of My Head and Tell Me That It's Raining -- An Anti-Ode to Trickle Down Economics" under the heading The Autumn of Our Discontent? today.

    Glad your work site will get the exposure because you have a voice worth hearing.

  12. Noodleepoodlee -- Thanks! I'm glad that the information is finding an audience.

  13. Observing who feels most threatened by Occupy Wall Street has been most enlightening. It demonstrates just how polarizing the far right is.

  14. Cognitive Dissenter -- Polarizing indeed. I wish the far-right would show half as much outrage toward economic injustice as they do toward those protesting it.


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