Quotes of the day

“A group that divides the world between the pure 99 percent and the evil 1 percent will have nothing to say about education reform, Medicare reform, tax reform, wage stagnation or polarization. They will have nothing to say about the way Americans have overconsumed and overborrowed. These are problems that implicate a much broader swath of society than the top 1 percent…

“The 99-versus-1 frame is also extremely self-limiting. If you think all problems flow from a small sliver of American society, then all your solutions are going to be small, too. The policy proposals that have been floating around the Occupy Wall Street movement — a financial transfer tax, forgiveness for student loans — are marginal.”

***

“The left got what it wanted in 2008: a liberal president with a sweeping agenda and big Democratic majorities capable of enacting it. The result has been a great and failed experiment in progressive politics and governance. In due course, one hopes, the left will absorb some lessons–but for now, they seem to be suffering a nervous breakdown.

“That is one way to understand why so much of the liberal establishment is rallying behind Krugman’s Army, as the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests are known. Everything they believe in has failed, so they are turning nihilistic.”

***

“‘That’s the danger with something like this — that you go from peaceful protests to throwing trash cans,’ said a senior House Democratic official, who spoke on condition of anonymity…

“Matt Bennett, vice president for Third Way, a Democratic think tank in Washington that favors a more centrist approach, said he believes the angry and sometimes radical tone of the protests may turn off moderate swing voters who will be critical in the 2012 elections, just as many moderates are put off by the rhetoric of the Tea Party on the right.

“Embracing the protests may prove a mistake for Democrats, Mr. Bennett said. ‘There’s not much upside,’ he said, ‘and there’s a lot of downside.'”

***

“There are endless things they can’t do now. They can’t pay their debts. They can’t secure credit. They can’t get work in their field of knowledge. They can’t get work, period, when confronted with the prevailing corporate attitude toward gaps in employment history and other irregularities of resume. They can’t force political change. They can’t change the world. They can’t stop the world from changing.

“They can’t join a union. They can’t go on strike. They can’t join the army. They can’t, like the incapables of early Nazi Germany, pick up a spade, put on a uniform, and march in formation. They can’t form a soviet.

“What they can do is get together — all mob and no lynch, idealists without a cause. And so this is what they did.”

***

“Photos confirm what I suspected: that most of the protesters are kids looking for their Sixties rush. Naked girls are painted in psychedelic colours. Handsome boys lounge around in cable-knit sweaters. Angry, doomed youth wave signs in the faces of frustrated policemen. Numbers are exchanged; kisses are snatched behind the barricades; disease is spread. This is what every generation of liberal has tried to recreate since 1968, be it the Watergate protests, the Battle of Seattle or the Stop the War Movement. I know this because I, too, once grasped for my 1968 moment. In 2003, I joined the sweaty ranks of the antiwar campaign. I was honestly motivated and intellectually sound, but I can’t deny the heady anticipation that a life of protest would lead inexorably to drugs and girls. I got the drugs but not the girls, and woke up several months later in a squat surrounded by Trotskyite bores who seemed far more intelligent when I was stoned. Zabriskie Point it was not…

“Protest is exciting when you are young, and everyone deserves their chance to burn something down. But the political reality is that voters don’t actually want the wheels of Capitalism to stop turning. They don’t want free love or a rainbow nation of stoners. They want a job. That’s why Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have made a big mistake in expressing sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement. They’ve endorsed a happening that is moral in principle but politically toxic. Ordinary voters – the boring, unpretty folks who get up every day and go to work and never once complain – will reject it at the polls. The silent majority will be heard eventually, just like it was back in 1968.”

***

“Cantor said elected officials, by endorsing the protesters’ critique of Wall Street bankers and the rich, are ‘pitting one part of our country against another.’

“‘We have elected leaders stirring the pot, if you will,’ Cantor said. ‘That’s not good'”

***

“Gandhi, Gandhi today is, with respect to all of you, Gandhi today is a tumor that the ruling class is using constantly to mislead us. French Revolution made fundamental transformation. But it was bloody.

“India, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people living in maximum poverty.

“So, ultimately, the bourgeosie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class.

“Long live revolution! Long live socialism!”

***

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy