Peter King fears Occupy Wall Street may gain political clout
By: Cahir O'Doherty | Published Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:13 PM | Updated Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:13 PM
If Congressman Peter King wants the media and the public to ignore the growing Occupy Wall Street movement - and he clearly does - it might be politically more astute not to acknowledge its potential effectiveness.
Speaking on the Laura Ingraham radio show this weekend King did his best to vilify the growing movement as a 'ragtag' band of malcontents, rather than a populist movement riding the surge of anger at the income inequality that is still growing in the United States (and which is now so unequal it puts us closer to Honduras than Sweden, say).
King recalled that such protests arose before in the 1960's. And that's when he also remembered how effective they ultimately were in changing the national debate.
And that's not the sort of message you want to send to the Occupy Wall Street organizers and participants, if you want to oppose them and their reform aganda, that is.
'They have no sense of purpose other than a basically anti-American tone and anti-capitalist. It's a ragtag mob basically,' King told Ingraham, sounding the all-purpose socialist alarm. But then he gave the group more encouragement than he may have intended.
'We have to be careful not to allow this to get any legitimacy,' King warned. 'I'm taking this seriously in that I'm old enough to remember what happened in the 1960's when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can't allow that to happen.'
Accidentally evoking La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France, in the hope of dampening a growing democratic movement is going far off-message.
But perhaps King's sense, and that of the public's are in sync in this way: we are clearly at the start of this movement's effectiveness, not near the end.