Back in October, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made one of his frequent MSNBC appearances to chat with Chris Matthews about the hot new show in town: Occupy Wall Street. Matthews and Brown seemed equally enthusiastic about the left’s answer to the Tea Party movement.
My favorite part of this clip is Sherrod’s self-contradicting statement, “this isn’t a liberal/conservative, left or right, it’s whose side are you on?” Sherrod is a Progressive, you see, so he’s not divisive – he just wants you to pick a side, and if you pick the wrong side he’s going to demonize you.
As reported in November at Third Base Politics, an Ohio conservative blog I help manage, Sherrod Brown’s campaign site even used the Occupiers’ “stand with the 99%” rhetoric for an email-harvesting web petition. Occupy Wall Street’s whiny demands that government do everything are a perfect match for Sherrod’s pitiful class warfare, and it seems obvious Sherrod had high hopes for the movement.
In an October 2010 USA Today editorial titled “How to fight Tea Party’s faux populism,” Sherrod was less excited about organized protest:
Tea Party populism is driven by anger at our government and at our country. Real populism fights for all Americans, while Tea Party populism divides us.
Republicans have always been good at coming up with catch phrases and slogans that traffic in fear and misinformation.
What changed between 2010 and 2011? Rallies against Obamacare’s unconstitutional overreach – for which Sherrod Brown was the deciding “Yea” vote – were replaced by riots against The Rich. Where is Sherrod’s editorial decrying the rampant violence and hatred we’ve seen from the Occupiers he endorsed on television not 4 months ago?
By December, Occupy camps across the country had racked up more than 400 criminal incidents – leading the movement to win coveted Time “Person of the Year” recognition and the illustrious Breitbart “Ambiguous Entity of the Year” award. Last week, even Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walked back her support for Occupy Wall Street.
Search for evidence of Sherrod Brown’s disapproval, and the best you’ll find is a snarky PolitiFact Ohio hit piece against his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel. As of this writing, Sherrod’s “Stand with the 99%” petition is still online.
It’s odd that Sherrod took to the pages of USA Today to wag a finger at Tea Party anger but is now giving the Occupiers a pass, don’t you think?
For the entire miserable picture, you can watch the full Hardball segment, review the transcript, and read Sherrod’s tea party smear in USA Today. When you’re done, I suspect you may want to send a few bucks to Josh Mandel’s campaign.
For more from Ohio, follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart