When the Occupy Wall Street movement first emerged, there was an understandable rush to compare it to the Tea Party. Both movements suffered from initial image problems (though the Tea Party overcame them far more quickly), both movements were created by insurgent, grassroots forces opposed to established political trends, both took aim at large, comfortable institutions and both were essentially phenomena that began with a party's base.
Yet since each movement's inception, the end result of their activism has been completely different. Just look at the reception they each will receive at the conventions held by their respective parties. At the Republican National Convention this year, Tea Party elected Senators will be speaking. Tea Party elected politicians at all levels will be in attendance. Ideas like the Ryan plan, which may make the platform, will have come from the Tea Party, and Freedomworks will be pressuring the party to place 12 Tea Party-generated ideas on that platform.
But Occupy Wall Street? Well, they won't even be in the convention. They'll be outside. Protesting. US News and World Report explains:
Two months after the major group planning to protest the Democratic National Convention changed its name, a new and bigger demonstration is being planned for the September event. This time, it's being led by "original" Occupy protesters.
Protest organizer John Penley, among the first to join the Occupy protests in Zuccotti Park, says some Occupy protesters were disturbed by the name change, which turned the "Coalition to Protest at the DNC" into the "Coalition to March on Wall Street South — Building People's Power During the DNC."
The change in nomenclature, he said, let Democrats off the hook.
And so despite the perception that Occupy is more liberal than it is conservative, Penley says his demonstration, "Occupy the Military Industrial Complex," will very much target President Barack Obama.
"We're targeting Obama's out of control military spending," he told Whispers. "It's the key to so many problems in the U.S. That, and the drone strikes on American citizens. And the NDAA. People feel so upset with Obama."
The following poster has been circulating in anticipation of the protest:
So apparently President Obama is too much of a hawk on the war for Occupy Wall Street. Fair enough, but the last Republican president was arguably further to the Left on economic issues than any Tea Partier would dare to admit they are now. Yet the Tea Party has seized control of the Republican party and changed its orthodoxy on those issues. Occupy Wall Street's closest achievement appears to be getting Obama to make his most famous gaffe of the campaign. The Tea Party built a coalition to get their message heard, but Occupy Wall Street? They didn't build that. And no one else, not even the Democrats, seems willing to make that happen.