Odious Occupiers

Odious Occupiers

By Jack Kelly - November 28, 2011

County workers removed 200 pounds of human excrement from where Occupy Santa Cruz protesters encamped. Occupy Wall Street protesters defecated on their doorsteps, residents of lower Manhattan complained.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg evicted OWS squatters from Zuccotti Park because he feared public health was threatened by outbreaks of lice, scabies and lung disease. Health officials in San Francisco also feared disease might spread to the community from the OWS encampment there.

So when Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said OWS protesters should "go get a job right after you take a bath," he was offering sound advice. But cable news anchors took umbrage.

Mr. Gingrich's remark was "toxic," said MSNBC's Thomas Roberts.

"Newt Gingrich offers a very personal insult to the protesters, suggesting that they're dirty and need a good wash," said Martin Bashir of CNN. "But if anyone's dirty, it's Newt Gingrich, a man whose personal morality has been drawn from the sewer."

"Someone needs a bath, and I don't think it's the people from Occupy Wall Street," fumed Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "To cast aspersions and to speak down to these people as if they should be flipped away? It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting. It literally made my skin crawl."

In the early days, Occupy Wall Street drew massive, mostly favorable news coverage and won endorsements from leading Democrats, who have touted their support in fund raising appeals.

"We understand their frustration," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, Oct. 11. "We applaud their activism."

"We are on their side," President Barack Obama told ABC News Oct. 18. "You are the reason I ran for office," he told OWS protesters in New Hampshire Tuesday.

Much of the news media played down unsavory aspects of Occupy Wall Street. But over time the arrests (about 4,000); violence (murders and rapes as well as the customary assaults on policemen) and vulgarity affected public opinion.

"The whole world is watching, and it's generally repulsed by what it's seen," said public relations expert Fraser Seitel.

OWS now polls badly. Ms. Brzezinski's rant came at a time when other liberals are backing away.

"The arrests and occasional violence marking Occupy Wall Street's two month anniversary underscore Democrats' strategy of keeping their distance from the protest movement," Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press wrote, disingenuously, Nov. 17.

Despite Ms. Fouhy's efforts to drop it down the memory hole, the Democrats' embrace of Occupy Wall Street will hurt them in 2012, thinks Democrat pollster Douglas Schoen.

Who'da thunk a protest movement composed largely of ignorant and arrogant rich kids with no coherent agenda who deliberately disrupt the lives of working people, urinate and defecate in public, steal from street vendors and assault old ladies and little children would become unpopular?

Most normal people would have. Prominent liberals didn't. Why not?

Aging liberals have a romanticized memory of the protests of the 1960s, when they saw themselves as standing up to the establishment -- before they became the establishment.

The mythology of the faux heroism of those days is spread to the young by leftist professors who attack "the system" from comfortable sinecures the system pays for.

Nostalgia for the old days increases as liberals seek escape from mounting evidence in the present of the failure of the policies they've advocated all their lives.

OWS epitomizes liberalism's greatest failure. The "Me" generation has spawned the "Gimme" generation.

"The Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything," Mr. Gingrich said. "They take over a public park they didn't pay for, go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. This is a pretty good symptom how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country."

The truth stings. That Newt Gingrich expressed it so well is, I suspect, the real reason for Ms. Brzezinski's rancor.

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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