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TYRRELL: Those demonstrators in the park
Surprise coming for Democrats viewing occupiers equals of Tea Party patriots
Question of the Day
It is called the Taranto Principle, and it is being employed by the Kultursmogists to blanket the country in a preposterosity: namely, that the Tea Partyers and the Occupy Wall Street crowd have much in common. So go ahead, loyal Democrats, and take up the occupiers' anger. Giving presidential voice to the occupiers' complaints will be a sure winner for President Obama in 2012.
Somehow, I think not. According to the Taranto Principle, first identified by the distinguished Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto, the mainstream media concocts false truths that encourage liberal Democrats to extravagance: Al Gore hyperventilating over global warming, Jean-Francois Kerry presenting himself as a Vietnam War hero and Barack Obama awash in red ink and promising more. Operating in accord with the principle, the liberal Democrats abandon themselves to a riot of fantasies far removed from the American consensus, and the result is catastrophe for them and much amusement for the rest of us.
Right now, all the polluters of the Kultursmog are engaged in spreading the vast delusion that a handful of cranks are at one with the law-abiding, Constitution-loving Tea Partyers. The cranks are often referred to as members of "Krugman's Army" - so named after the delusional columnist Paul Krugman at the New York Times, whom I always read to satisfy my appetite for misplaced indignation and delightful incoherence. Other writers from the New York Times and its assorted allies throughout the mainstream media have been laboring almost heroically to spread this myth.
Their effort was given comprehensive voice in an amazing front-page effort by The Washington Post on Sunday. There journalist Mark Fisher - he could not have acted alone - wrote: "Although many organizers of the two populist efforts view their counterparts from the other end of the spectrum as misguided or even evil, attitudes among the rank and file of the tea party and Occupy Wall Street are often much more accepting and flexible. They start out with different views about the role of government, but in interviews and online discussions they repeatedly share many of the same frustrations, as well as a classically American passion for fixing the system." The piece went on for thousands of words. It was a colossal effort at misinformation. Democrats who take it seriously will soon sound like hippies in 1968 and be overwhelmed by the voters in 2012.
The Occupy Wall Street misfits are actually in the minority even along Zuccotti Park, where my agents found them outnumbered by tourists and police. The same is true in Washington's McPherson Square. Yet you need not take my word for it. Consider the polling done by Douglas E. Schoen, a pollster who served President Clinton and doubtless is still a loyal Democrat. He polled the Zuccotti Park patriots and found "the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of the wealth, civil disobedience, and, in some instances, violence." As for Americans in general, they are not so high on the folks in the park. A USA Today/Gallup poll taken Oct. 15 and 16 found 22 percent approved of the movement's goals, 15 percent disapproved, and 63 percent said they did not know enough about the movement to make a judgment.
That does not sound as if the occupiers are making a lot of headway with the average American. But they are making headway with liberal Democrats. White House adviser David Plouffe says, "the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens across America. ... People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don't seem to play by the same set of rules." And the brightest president in American history has said, "I think people are frustrated. And the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works." Once again, the Taranto Principle is vindicated.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is author of "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery" (Thomas Nelson, 2010).
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