I’d like you to try to dig deep down in your heart and attempt to dredge up some compassion for Rolling Stone’s Matt Tiabbi–I mean, real heavy spiritually-lifting compassion, the kind that is given even when it hasn’t been earned–Matt’s antics, from the horse semen pie incident (don’t click that link before lunch) to his vile attack on Michele Bachmann (ditto), have not earned him much compassion. But try, anyway.
Here’s the position Taibbi finds himself him; he cares passionately about the problems created by the nexus of government and the big financial industry. He’s identified them countless times over the last few years but he can’t figure out who will actually solve them. Taibbi has no place to go.
Poor Matt knows that Obama and the Democratic party aren’t the answer. He’s given a ton of ink to stories about what sellouts the Democrats and Obama are. Here’s a quote from a recent Taibbi article called Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal:
My theory is that the Obama administration is trying to secure its 2012 campaign war chest with this settlement deal. If Barry can make this foreclosure thing go away for the banks, you can bet he’ll win the contributions battle against the Republicans next summer.
That isn’t a right-wing blogger calling the President “Barry” in a sneer. That’s Matt Taibbi calling the President “Barry” in a sneer. The 2012 elections are on the horizon and no Democratic primary challenger is riding in to save the day, either. Game over. Matt is stuck with Barry.
Unless … no, wait. It’s simply too crazy an idea. It’s mad, I tell you — mad! Maybe Taibbi could look to his right and see the people who have been raising the red flag on issues like TARP for the last couple of years.
Stop laughing. We all know that’s never going to happen.
Therefore, Matt Taibbi is forced to pin his hopes on the warmed-over hippies and YouTube-fueled hipsters of #Occupy Wall Street. He won’t stop believin’ in them because they are all he’s got. He’ll offer them advice knowing there’s almost no chance that they would stop chanting long enough to listen. As liberal blogger Kevin Drum points out:
I think Taibbi is probably right that the OWS protest can’t stay chaotic and inchoate forever. The anarchist types in the crowd are apparently opposed to anything that suggests they merely want to reform the existing system instead of tearing it down completely, but let’s face it: that’s a path to irrelevancy before too much longer.
Of course, even if the Consensus Mob did listen and gave Taibbi a big twinkle-hands up, it wouldn’t matter because Taibbi, along with fellow Occupy boosters like Dylan Ratigan and Glenn Greenwald, are stuck in Smug, Well-Intentioned Liberal Media Purgatory. The think they are seeing the crisis clearly, but in reality, they are only seeing half the crisis and none of the solution.
In the case of the financial industry, they see the problems inherent in giving the federal government access to trillions of dollars in taxpayer money, but they are wearing such a thick set of left-slanted goggles that they don’t want to see the whole wide range of problems inherent in giving the Federal Government access to trillions of dollars in taxpayer money. Thus, something as simple as acknowledging the bloated welfare system would be “attacking the poor” and tantamount to treason.
Of course, the poor aren’t the problem. Neither are the rich. You don’t need to be rich to be greedy. There are plenty of dirt poor people who are greedy as all-get-out. Acting entitled to what you haven’t earned is greed, and poor folks do it the same as rich folks. When politicians corral enough greedy poor folks into endless, ambition-killing entitlement programs, it can kill an economy, too.
So the issue isn’t “class,” unless you mean the Political Class that kowtows to both the poor and the backroom deal-making Wealthy. Fiscal conservatives and Tea Party types are able to acknowledge both sides of this coin–the middle class being sucked dry by both the crony capitalists and the massive welfare state. Pity liberals like Taibbi who can only declare machine-gun class warfare on the wealthy. They can only see a one-sided coin. Because, you know. The Poor.
Trapped in the liberal closet, Taibbi is so heavily invested in #Occupy, the last possible hope, that he’s required to overlook the fact that it’s a muddleheaded mishmash of a movement that was started by a fairly well-organized network of socialists and anarchists who want to bring down not just the banking system but the entire United States of America. He can’t acknowledge that the “consensus decision-making” structure of #Occupy isn’t just a Monty Python sketch, but it’s barely workable in a Prius full of people trying to decide where to get lunch.
Nope. For Matt, #Occupy Wall Street is one about one thing. It’s about the banks, and that’s it… even as the New York Times points out this morning that #Occupy is a Blind Man’s Zoo united by just one thing–anger.
Maybe that’s enough, though. Anger is one thing that Matt Taibbi has plenty of.
“It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.”
“I pity the fool.”
– Mr. T