Editor’s note: In Part 1 of this series, Matt Kibbe explained why the Tea Party has been so successful. In Part 2, he explored what makes Occupy Wall Street different. In the last installment, Kibbe uncovers plans for a new left-wing answer to the Tea Party.
Despite the violence, property damage and lack of a coherent “set of demands,” occupy Wall Street has been celebrated by the media as a legitimate counter-balance to the Tea Party. All of the accusations wrongfully hurled at us, having occurred time and time again at OWS protests, are dutifully ignored in deference to the morally superior cause of this protest movement. But the media coverage doesn’t change the fact that OWS is destined to fail.
Van Jones, the former green jobs czar in the Obama administration and now a top a community organizer, says we should ignore the lack of policy clarity. “They’ve got moral clarity,” Jones says. “They’re as clear as a bell, and that’s what’s been missing. You should not ask folks who have been hurting, sitting on a white hot stove for three years… to holler properly.”
Vice President Joe Biden was asked by NBC’s David Gregory if he stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. “What is the core of that protest?” Biden asks. “The core is: The bargain has been breached. The core is: The American people do not think the system is fair, or on the level. That is the core is what you’re seeing with [Occupy] Wall Street. Look, there’s a lot in common with the Tea Party. The Tea Party started, why? TARP. They thought it was unfair.”
President Obama himself is sympathetic: “I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street… So yes, I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.”
Whether or not Democrats should hitch their political wagon to Occupy Wall Street is a highly debatable proposition. They now own the property damage, the violence, and the radical agendas of this struggling movement. But they join in common cause out of desperation. Since our first Tea Party protest, the Democratic coalition has been searching for its own Tea Party.
Van Jones in particular is worried that we have successfully stolen the left’s strategy playbook. OWS is just part of a broader effort by Jones to regroup after the devastating repudiation of President Obama’s economic agenda on November 2nd. This is Hope and Change Part II: The Empire Strikes Back. But even Jones has grudgingly conceded that we have out-crowd sourced, out- organized, and out-performed the most sophisticated community organizers on the left, starting with the president himself.
“Here’s the irony,” says Jones. “They talk rugged individualist, but they act collectively.” According to Jones, the Tea Party is “an upgrade on what we did.” “They have their own groups. They have their own causes. But they came up with a meta-brand too, called the ‘Tea Party.’ And they affiliated to that.”
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are certainly flattered by Jones’ new political initiative, called Rebuild the Dream. He has explicitly modeled it after FreedomWorks’ decentralized model, creating a service center for the disparate factions of the progressive movement, including Occupy Wall Street. He is attempting to recreate the Contract From America with a crowd-sourced, ten point policy platform called “The Contract For The American Dream.” He thinks that he can out-Tea-Party the Tea Party because collectivists, like those drum circle protestors, are naturally drawn to a collective strategy, community-based action and, apparently, a redistribution of wealth to each according to need, from each according to ability.
This, I predict, will work as well as the distribution of OWS resources at Zuccotti Park amongst the infinite demands of the “entitled.” But then again, I’m guessing that Mr. Jones has never picked up a copy of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. There can be no real sense of cooperation, no sense of community, without respect for and individual’s life, liberty and property. No one says “please” or “excuse me” to someone who is trying to hurt you, or take your stuff.
Van Jones won’t get it right because he doesn’t comprehend how freedom works. He’s a czar, after all.