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Barney Frank: 'The Tea Party Has Been Much More Effective Than Occupy


"The Occupy people are doing more that makes them feel emotionally satisfied."

Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) took to the air on C-SPAN to talk about his view of where the current political spectrum is, and his take on the state of the Left may surprise some.

"I think too many of my friends on the liberal side are into demonstrative politics, which makes people feel better but doesn't affect anything. Leave aside any other differences -- the Tea Party has been much more effective than Occupy," Frank says in the clip below. "I think the Occupy people are doing more that makes them feel emotionally satisfied, but too much that's actually effective."

The Occupy movement, which some conservatives have interpreted as merely an astroturf movement held on the leash of Big Labor, emerged only recently on the political scene, and has apparently coalesced around a blistering and monomaniacal opposition to income inequality. Yet even liberal economist Paul Krugman concedes that income inequality has very little to do with the current economic downturn:

Here’s an example: is economic inequality the source of our macroeconomic malaise? Many people think so — and I’ve written a lot about the evils of soaring inequality. But I have not gone that route. I’m not ruling out a connection between inequality and the mess we’re in, but for now I don’t see a clear mechanism, and I often annoy liberal audiences by saying that it’s probably possible to have a full-employment economy largely producing luxury goods for the richest 1 percent. More equality would be good, but not, as far as I can tell, because it would restore full employment.

Frank himself has also been critical of the Occupy movement in the past, telling Rachel Maddow of MSNBC that "I’m unhappy when people didn’t vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting.” Frank has also attacked far-Left activists like Ralph Nader for what he sees as excessive purity in the service of their cause.

"I think Ralph gets to luxuriate in the purity of his irrelevance," Frank scoffed when Nader confronted him on the Ed Show in October of 2009. One could easily see the same statement being applied to Occupy.

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