Politics and Public Opinion

No, OWS still isn’t conservative

Allen McDuffee reads my column today and asks if I now think Occupy Wall Street is more conservative than I suggested last week.

He makes the leap that in order for Occupy Wall Street to get Obama out of office it would have to vote for the Republican presidential candidate. But that’s not true. It could tell people not to vote. It could throw its weight behind a third party candidate. I don’t see why Occupy Wall Street has to vote Republican in order for Obama to lose.

This assumption prompts him to ask:

So then the question is: Does Goldberg now suggest that the Occupy Wall Street movement does, in fact, have conservative tendencies or is he suggesting they abandon their ideals for the anybody-but-what-we-have strategy in 2012?

I don’t agree with the logic. But the short answer is no, I don’t think Occupy Wall Street is remotely conservative, save perhaps in some interesting but essentially fringe romantic, literary, or anarchist interpretations.

But I do think he pegs a more basic point about the nature of the two party system. Independent movements tend to hurt the ones they’re closest to. The Naderites hurt Democrats in 2000. Ross Perot hurt Republicans in 1992. Roosevelt stole votes from Republicans in 1912. Occupy Wall Street is by no stretch of the imagination a third party. But, generally speaking, it is much closer to Obama’s worldview than anybody in the GOP field.

I wasn’t offering tactical arguments to Occupy Wall Street, largely because I don’t think they’d listen and I don’t think they much care about such matters anyway. My point was that the OWS flame can’t become a prairie fire so long as Obama is soaking up all the political oxygen.

Still, McDuffee’s sort of right in the sense that, to paraphrase Orwell, being pro-OWS is to be objectively anti-Obama.

One thought on “No, OWS still isn’t conservative

  1. When casting labels as conservative or liberal… Goldberg is well known for his misjudgement and history revisionism… (trying to paint Hitler as an atheist ‘liberal fascist’)

    Perhaps he never heard this quote and many others like it…

    “Today Christians … stand at the head of this country… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.”

    [The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872]

    Sounds a lot like today’s conservatives… now voting to reaffirm “In God We Trust”. They are about as far from the Founders seal: E pluribus unum – “Out of many, one” as they possibly could be.

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