A few days ago I noted that the reactions to the Occupy movement by Missouri’s senators, Democrat Claire Mcaskill and Republican Roy Blunt, ran true to their usual form. But what about the gaggle of GOPers who are vying to be the Republican candidate for McCaskill’s Senate seat?
Two of those in the running, Sarah Steelman and Rep. Todd Akin (R-2), are both currently on the record with a few predictably dismissive comments. The third and newest contender, St. Louis businessman John Brunner, has, so far as I can determine, not made a public statement on the Occupy movement. However, since he doesn’t seem to have said much of anything about anything in public, that’s not especially surprising.
On the topic of the Occupy protesters, Sarah Steelman observes that:
Yes, they have a right to be angry that there are no jobs. But they shouldn’t sit back and act like somebody should do something about it. They need to do something about it
Hunh? She thinks it’s just another symptom of apathy when protesters take a stand in order to articulate the essential powerlessness so many Americans feel in the face of a corporate culture gone off the rails and taking our government with it? If she means that they should go out and get a job, of course, maybe somebody ought to remind her what unemployment figures actually mean about the availablity of jobs.*
Steelman also wags her metaphorical finger at the protesters, declaring that the poor babies are “misguided and they don’t understand what capitalism is.” But isn’t this the kind of thing lazy thinkers always say when they aren’t willing or capable of of responding to an argument, in this case the Occupy movement’s critique of the laissez faire capitalism that is favored by Steelman and her GOP cohorts? Greed and its effects aren’t really hard to understand – especially for its victims.
The best that one can say about Rep. Akin’s logically tortured contribution to the discussion is that it is, as are so many of his utterances, at least unique:
The thing that I find sort of amusing about it is it is the liberal whole philosophy which destroys the average person,” Akin said. “They’re screaming about there’s rich and poor, and they’re the ones that create that more than anyone else by just taxing the hide and regulating the dickens off of an average American.”
This is coming from a man who has actively supported the mislabeled “fair tax,” which would increase the tax burden of the poor and middle class while decreasing taxes on the wealthy. Tell me again who it is who wants to tax “the hide” off of the average person? As for “regulating the dickens off an average American,” does that maybe have something to do with protecting that average American’s food, air and water from greedy corporations? Makes you wonder just who Akin thinks “average Americans” really are.
What we really learn from these comments is that the Occupy movement is getting harder and harder for politicians to ignore, no matter what ideological hidey-hole they inhabit. As Eugene Robinson observes in his column today:
The biggest impact of the Occupy Wall Street protests has been to provide a focal point for generalized economic and political discontent. Frustrated voters on the left and the right may disagree on, say, immigration policy or health care reform. But they can agree on a critique of the financial sector – and, potentially, on specific measures to bring about necessary change.
Ms. Steelman to the contrary, I’m willing to bet that that a viable critique of the financial sector that will satisfy the Occupy folks and their myriad sympathizers will not include a sermon on the sanctity of the untrammeled market and its Wall Street acolytes. Nor, despite Todd Akin’s liberal-hating spleen, will many of these folks endorse his efforts to force the 99% to pay for tax cuts for the 1%.