The best sort of clueless person is the sort that pats themselves on the back for actually being all with-it, and suchlike. Today’s example: Larry Lessig. Lessig didn’t really write anything that was good enough stylistically to quote, so I’ll summarize: Lessig hates Citizens United, likes to beat the dead horse of public financing of elections (mind you, that horse was shot four years ago by Barack Obama), and thinks that there should be an organic grassroots movement designed around the bedrock principle of Do Whatever Larry Lessig Says. And that said grassroots movement needs to be cultivated by the Democratic Establishment (which includes Larry Lessig, despite his no-doubt vehement protestations otherwise). Because, you know, the Democrats need to create their own Tea Party.
We go through this every year, don’t we? Here’s the great secret of populist politics: genuine populist movements show up whether the Establishment wants them to, or not. You think that the Republican party was happy that the Tea Party overruled them on various candidates? No, the Republican party was not. You think that the GOP establishment is gritting its teeth over its need to tread carefully on the fiscal compromise trail right now? Yes, the GOP establishment is. Are most of the people reading this muttering More of both, please right now? Very probably, they are – and that’s why there’s a Tea Party, despite the fact that it was subjected to external pressures that would have made Occupy Wall Street shrivel up and fly away on the breeze*.
Well. It did do that eventually anyway. But it could have happened sooner, if the groups had been subjected to anything like the negative mainstream media coverage that the Tea Party was.
Anyway, back to Larry Lessig. I will be fair: the man clearly thinks the Tea Party is an organic grassroots entity, and I’m sure that it frustrates him that he cannot get the group interested in overturning Citizens United. But what Lessig should be contemplating here is that perhaps there is a reason why Republican-libertarian partisans are not interested in prioritizing blocking free speech rights over fixing the economy… or, indeed, blocking free speech rights at all. Or that perhaps there is a reason why spontaneous, sustainable, and meaningful Left-partisan populist movements do not arise in this country. Or perhaps there is even a reason why the average Tea Partier reacts to the average Occupier (and their ilk**) in much the same way that a person reacts to a rotting pile of garbage.
I don’t expect him to do any of that contemplating, of course. But he should.
*I should note that the eventual reasons why OWS did shrivel up and fly away were all self-inflicted: poor hygiene (both physical and social), coupled with an incredibly annoying collective – dare I say, corporate? – suite of entitlement issues, eventually got everybody else fed up with the Occupiers. Moral of the story: clean up after yourselves, don’t rape anybody, and don’t defecate on police cars.
**Choice of word deliberate.