Democrats fundraise off OWS

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent paints it as heroic loyalty: Democrats who initially expressed support for Occupy Wall Street haven’t disavowed it, even though they risk negative political backlash for their alignment with a movement that has proved itself to be chaotic and violent. How brave, how principled of them! Democrats agree with what they perceive as the basic premise of OWS — that the rich should pay more in taxes — so why worry about the more unseemly aspects of the Occupation?

That’s one way to look at it. But maybe Democratic support of OWS is not heroic loyalty or impressive allegiance to certain ideals (although I’d agree that some Democrats surely like the class warfare flair of the Occupation). Maybe it’s just flat-out opportunism.

Sargent is certainly right about one thing: Democrats haven’t disavowed Occupy. They’ve coopted its language — and, now, they’ve begun to send out fundraising e-mails that obliquely reference the movement:

[T]he DCCC is now raising money off that recent report of a GOP-connected corporate lobbying firm’s proposed smear campaign against the movement. Nancy Pelosi has authored a DCCC fundraising email that presents this as proof that Republicans are on the side of Wall Street and against Dems and the protesters.

But, really, why not? In her letter, Pelosi references OWS as a “grassroots citizen movement … working to hold special interests accountable.” If lightly mentioning OWS protesters in an e-mail scores Democrats a few extra bucks, why wouldn’t they mention ’em? Democrats have a proven talent for associating with unsavory characters without sullying themselves, and the careful language of Pelosi’s letter suggests the DCCC is just as prepared to deny any unappealing connection with OWS as they are to take credit for the movement if it cleans up its act and actually accomplishes something.

Meantime, incidentally, I am disappointed in the “GOP-connected corporate lobbying firm” that proposed a coordinated campaign to discredit OWS. Anybody with eyes to see knows that Occupiers do that most effectively themselves. What’s the number now, Mr. Nolte? 329, you say? Yes, that’s right. As of today, Occupiers have been responsible for 329 incidents of violence, vandalism or outrageous behavior. We can’t hear what Occupiers are saying because their actions just speak so loudly.