Spin Control

SATURDAY, OCT. 22, 2011, 6:13 P.M.

Sunday Spin: Treat Occupiers, Tea Partiers the same

OLYMPIA – As the news media lurches between ignoring and overexposing the Occupy Wall Street/Spokane/Seattle/Everywhere movement, is it too much to ask for the pontificators to show a little consistency in their love or disdain for populist rebellions that spring up in the 21st Century?
Conservative commentators are complaining that the Occupy (fill in the blank) protesters are inexperienced at best and ignorant at worst. Liberal commentators have essentially alibied the protesters by saying the movement is young, diverse and still in its nascent stages.
Funny thing is that two years ago when the Tea Party movement sprang up, the conservatives and liberals were taking the opposite stances. So here’s a thought:
If you criticized Tea Partiers two years ago for saying they opposed government-run health care, then pointed out some of them were on Medicare, you can ding Occupy Wherever for complaining about capitalism while wearing Nike logo clothing or using their ATM cards to get cash for a latte at Starbucks. If you ignored the first, you should ignore the second.
If you razzed Tea Partiers bizarre attire that included tea-bag festooned hats and Colonial tri-corners, you can toss verbal bricks at the 99 Percenters for dressing like they shopped at a Haight-Ashbury Value Village. If you gave one a pass on weird fashions, do the same to the other.
If you suggested that Tea Partiers didn’t understand health care reform, tax policy or the democratic process, you can suggest that Occupiers don’t understand banking regulations, international finance or the democratic process. If you thought the one provided a refreshing new perspective on old tired issues, don’t accuse the other of being foolishly naïve.
And don’t pop out that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about a foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of a small mind. A consistent lack of consistency is the hallmark of an even smaller one.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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