Last night on AC360, John King filled in for Anderson Cooper and noted that a number of the Republican Presidential candidates are tempering their tone toward the Occupy Wall Street crowd. He asked if I stood by all my harsh words toward them. "Absolutely," I replied.
Part of the reason the candidates are toning down is because it is a good way to put more light on Mitt Romney being more of Wall Street than the rest of them. There is a populist campaign against Wall Street to be waged by the GOP and Mitt Romney can't do it.
But in waging such a campaign — one I think needs to be waged — the right needs to be very careful about going too far down the Occupy Wall Street road.
The hipsters, hippies, and assorted police car poppers on Wall Street are as upset as some on the right with the bank bailouts, etc. Superficially there is a lot to agree on.
I have said for a while that it is a crying shame companies in this country have gotten to the point where they'd rather pay a K-Street lobbyist to go carve out a tax loophole to benefit the corporation than spend money to innovate.
Simplifying the tax code, getting rid of corporate welfare, etc. are things that can be agreed on.
But in a lot of the rhetoric from the police poppers and occupying Wall Street, there is a lot of class warfare rhetoric and a lot of pop marxism. They want to redistribute wealth. They want to take from those who have and give to those who they have determined are more deserving. The blame the top 1% for gaming the system when, if they were honest, they themselves helped elect a lot of the people who passed the laws.
How many of the occupiers support Barney Frank? What about Chris Dodd?
Additionally, much of the rhetoric involves more government intervention in the economy. They claim it isn't really a free market. But their solution is not to deregulate and make the market more free. Their solution is to make the market even less free.
Historically, the further a nation moves from a free market, the more its people get poor and the more its government gets totalitarian.
The anti-Wall Street populism will play well on both sides of the aisle. But the solutions, beyond the superficial, are in stark ideological contrast. And we cannot afford as nation for the ragtag group of socialists, communists, and hangers on to have their way.