Occupy and the Tea Party

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 4 2012 4:30 PM

Occupy and the Tea Party

Buried amid the verbs and nouns in Max Berger's big think about Occupy is... hey, look, it's evidence of political success brought on by progressive activism!

[T]he Working Families Party is a unified progressive block within the Democratic party. They support Occupy and we support them on the issues. Together, we won a huge, unexpected victory for the millionaires tax.

That means that Occupy should model its work on the Tea Party's work, right? As argued in the essay Berger is responding to? Somehow, no, it doesn't mean that.

Despite the hard work of our progressive allies, the unfortunate reality is that our political system as presently constructed is simply incapable of responding to people's needs. The election of the most progressive Democratic nominee of the past 30 years and a Democratic super majority in Congress resulted in relatively little change in American political economy, even during a time of massive economic crisis. The tepid response showed our political system was designed to serve the whims of the market, and no politician has the power to do much about it.

Berger manages to finish the article without using the word "filibuster." But the conclusion I draw from his New York example is the conclusion I drew from New York's gay marriage bill -- in the absence of supermajority requirements, political extremes can actually achieve things. ("Extreme" not used pejoratively here.)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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