Have the Occupy Wall Street protests turned a corner, or are they about to jump the shark?
On the one hand, establishment players suddenly seem to be treating the movement far more seriously. Meanwhile, a widely-cited survey suggests that over half of Americans have heard of the protests and feel broadly positive about them.
On the other hand, Kanye West swung by, taking a break from rapping about designer sunglasses in order to protest capitalism instead. And there’s this rather frustrating video of the Occupy Atlanta crowd “voting down” an address by civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis. This in particular does not augur well for the movement. Watching it you’d almost think it’s a parody of a windy, platitude-stuffed talk shop. Only it’s real.Equally troubling is the growing paranoia about “provocateurs” in the crowds. Here’s what purports to be a picture of liberal-baiter extraordinaire James O’Keefe “infiltrating” the Wall Street gathering.
Then there’s the story about this editorial assistant from the American Spectator who’s essentially being portrayed as a Machiavellian conservative super-genius who single-handedly whipped an otherwise peaceful crowd into an unruly mob.
If this is to become a liberal version of the tea party then one would rather it didn’t inherit the suspicious streak of the “real” tea party, whose members are all too eager to claim anyone among them holding a racist sign simply must be a liberal plant.
Update – 6:21pm Eastern:
TPM reporter and O’Keefe expert Ryan Reilly instantly realized something fishy might be up with O’Keefe’s Wall Street appearance, and chased down the answer over whether he was violating the terms of his probation.
Meanwhile, Karl Rove becomes the latest Republican to be shocked, shocked that anyone would think of comparing OWS to the tea party.