Loose Canons

Occupy Charlotte

It won't be a real Democratic convention unless the Occupy Wall Street crowd adopts the next one as its home.

By 10.24.11

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When delegates to the Democratic National Convention arrive in Charlotte, North Carolina, next September, they may find the streets occupied by the same protesters who are now the darlings of the media: the "Occupy Wall Street" crew. President Obama has expressed his support for OWS in such glowing terms that the protesters should read it as a personal invitation to the convention.

There's little for the Democrats to fear in this, other than the lack of sanitation that will accompany the "occupation" of their convention city.

As we've seen in the past four or five Dem conventions, the press will do its level best to suppress any reporting of the craziest conduct of the delegates, of which there is usually enough to fill hours of broadcasting and thousands of column-inches. Were it not for the Washington Times, we'd probably never have known that the Boy Scouts were booed in the 2000 Dem convention when they carried the flag to the podium. (BSA didn't allow homosexual scout leaders, so all the gay anger among the delegates was channeled into a rather large outburst.)

Next year, all you'll see are flags waved, passionately staged patriotism and all the homosexual-transsexual-dope-smoking weirdness will be off-camera. Except for the gay soldiers, sailors, and Marines who will march to the stage to surround Obama and to demand more military "diversity" at various times.

Because President Obama has embraced the OWS protesters, many of the delegates may be drawn from among the protesters. "I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests," Obama told ABC's Jake Tapper a week ago. He added, "In some ways, they're not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party," and "The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side…" What better way to show that support than to enable an "OWS Caucus" at the convention?

Perhaps most importantly, the OWS crowd isn't at all like the disaffected youth of 1968 that brought violence to the walls of the Chicago convention in 1968.

Nineteen sixty-eight was a horrible year. Martin Luther King was assassinated, resulting in huge riots in several cities. Bobby Kennedy's assassination soon followed. And, all the while, some of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War -- in the Tet Offensive, Khe Sanh, and Hue -- poured gasoline on the fires of the anti-war movement.

The Vietnam anti-war movement was small before it became an anti-draft movement comprised of those who feared combat and those who wanted to use the timorous to gain political power. By the time the Democratic Convention kicked off in August, the nation was boiling over. Thousands of anti-war protesters went to Chicago with the express goal of interrupting the convention proceedings. They succeeded. Poor Hubert Humphrey had to campaign with the Chicago riots as his backdrop no matter how far from the convention he traveled.

The OWS crowd has no such goal. Or, discernibly, any other. The standard response to reporters' questions seems to be "Um," followed by a long pause before rehearsing some half-hearted talking point about the evils of Wall Streeters who, they believe, should be in jail.

Obama -- and his media cohorts -- would like American voters to believe that the OWS crew is just another version of the Tea Party. They're all the same, just expressing anger at government over lack of jobs and economic distress. It's just another false media narrative into which facts will be folded, spindled, and mutilated to fit.

So who are the OWS protesters? They're not the underprivileged and, pretending to be disaffected, but unwilling to abandon the privileges to which they believe they are entitled. On-scene reports of four-star cooking being served in the tent cities, the profusion of iPhones and iPads, all paint a picture of over-privileged under-achievers who lack anything resembling a work ethic.

They're not anti-war protesters trying to end the draft and the war. There is no draft. No one is threatening to send them to Afghanistan or any other place they may get hurt. In fact, no one is threatening to send them anywhere, even out of the city parks they are soiling.

The first Vietnam draft lottery was held in 1969. I remember the night very well. Those of us in ROTC watched in inebriated amusement as many of our non-ROTC classmates pulled lottery numbers in single digits. None of them, to my knowledge, fled to Canada as a result, but many others did.

Consider this 2011 version of the 1968 angry young man. He was photographed in Washington, D.C.'s McPherson Square the other day holding a sign that said, "college grad. will work for $75,000." Only $75,000? He, like too many others of his generation, is spoiled by a sense of entitlement and privilege. He's angry, all right, but only at "the system" which hasn't awarded him a job at the salary level he believes he deserves. He's unwilling to work for less, but he'd rather not live in his parents' basement for another year because chicks don't like going there.

He's ignorant of the fact that a rising tide lifts all boats. If he were better educated, he might have understood that Obama's economic ebb tide has left too many boats -- including his -- aground.

If that young man goes to Charlotte, it will be on dad's American Express card, and he'll insist on a room at (at least) a four-star hotel. He won't riot: he'll whine about the injustice found in a bottle of lousy chardonnay.

The OWS crew is a loose collection of iPhone-totin' tokin' foodies who would rather walk a mile to get the best sushi than walk a mile in a poor man's shoes. Seriously, the poor man doesn't even have a decent pair of ASICS training shoes.

So why not invite the OWS crowd to occupy Charlotte and dominate the convention? Only one reason stands in the way.

Obama cannot be reelected if he remains the face of angry liberalism. The anger -- built between George McGovern's defeat in 1972 and Obama's election in 2008 -- spilled out in a tsunami of legislation aimed at transforming America into a European socialist state. The 2009 stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank financial "reform," and so much more were the instruments of relieving the anger.

But even those massive changes to America didn't relieve the liberals' anger because it's part of their character. And because their leader is -- and always will be -- a deeply angry man.

His polls notwithstanding, the likely nomination of Mitt Romney almost irrelevant, Obama's greatest fear is that he won't escape the popular backlash to the angry liberalism that is embedded so deeply in his character. His speeches have revealed too much. The "No Drama Obama" of 2008 has been replaced by the "All-Drama Obama," the angry accusatory orator of 2011. He daren't let voters see that in the 2012 Convention or in the campaign that will follow. His only hope is to conceal it.

So, to all the OWS'ers who may by accident read this, let me say that we need to hear from you next year. Go to Charlotte, and not just as protesters. Get a spot as a convention delegate. For those who aren't delegates, please take your parent's credit card and buy a good hotel room or a nice Eddie Bauer easy-to-pitch tent and all the gear that you'll need with it. Camp out in some nice park and hog as much bandwidth for your iPhones and iPads, as much good wine and all the sushi you can find. You're entitled to it all.

And the Democrats deserve you and thousands like you, in full plumage, in every bit of media time you can grab in Charlotte next September.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.