Obama Drafts the Tea Party into the Occupy Wall Street Mob

In his Kansas speech Tuesday, President Obama linked the motives of the Tea Party movement to those of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. It was revisionist history on parade. 

Memes are like genes, in that they can change. In the political arena, memes are linguistic, not biological. Nevertheless, like genes, they evolve, they mutate, and they can go extinct. Yesterday, we witnessed a meme mutation. Or, maybe better, the grafting of one meme onto another as the President drafted the Tea Party into the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) mob and equated their motives. 

The Left's OWS meme is that the occupiers represent the vast majority, 99% used as a hyperbole, of Americans angered by not being given their fair share in an economic system where they're "left holding the bag," while the rich enjoy an unfair advantage.

The Left's original Tea Party meme defines the Tea Party people as extremist conservatives holding radical beliefs -- racists, birthers, aging reactionaries, white people feeling threatened by an African-American President, and...well, you know the ornaments that have decorated the Left's Tea Party meme tree. They glitter all over the legacy media.

Then something happened to the Left's Tea Party meme. Its credibility was severely undercut by the OWS crowd's bad behavior.  In a one-to-one comparison, the Occupiers' optics did not fare well against the Tea Partiers'. Consequently, a meme adjustment was required. It happened in the President's Kansas speech when Obama said,  

"Ever since [the 2008 financial crisis] there has been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness. Throughout the country, it has sparked protests and political movements -- from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It's left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. And it's been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women who are running for president."

Disregard the snide comment, offered in passing, of the GOP Presidential candidates' discussions as "sometimes colorful." Focus on the coupling of the Tea Party Movement (TPM) to the OWS people. Obama implied that both movements were sparked by a growing disparity in class incomes, coupled with the greed of "a few with irresponsibility {sic} across the [financial] system".

In short, both protests, he claimed, stem from the financial crisis of 2008 and share a common motive.  That's meme grafting -- one meme grafted onto another.  The scruffy Occupiers and the clean-cut Tea Partiers are now comrades-in-arms in the battle for income redistribution.

That'll come as news to the TPM. They've been thinking their movement had more to do with the irresponsible spending of the federal government, rather than Wall Street.

Oddly enough, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican conservative icon, laid a foundation for this shift when he said,

 "I think if you look at the Occupy Wall Street folks and the Tea Party folks, that they come from the same perspective, they just have different solutions."

What "same perspective" would that be, Governor? The OWS folks want to replace capitalism with...well, something unidentified.  The TPM wants the federal government to stop spending the country into a bankruptcy that will enslave their children and grandchildren for generations. How is that the "same perspective"?   Never mind; yesterday the president made it so.

It seems like only the day before yesterday, because it was, that the legacy media, in lock-step with the Democratic Party, was intent on propagating the notion that the Tea Party movement consists of extremists.  Their evidence was a few edgy signs that appeared at TPM events.   It didn't matter whether or not the accusations was true, because -- and this is important to note about political memetics -- the impact of a meme doesn't depend on it being true.     

Moderate Republican pols, some with no definitive ideology of their own to speak of, saw an opportunity to bring an errant element of the GOP's constituency under control, and went along with the Democrats' Tea Party meme.  They either mutely kept their distance from the Tea Party, or offered polite temporizing words about the TPM as though it was that crazy, but harmless, uncle that was Barack Obama's preacher for twenty years.

Others among the Republican establishment, recognizing the TPM as a threat to their controlling leverage over the GOP, issued mild tsk-tsk statements intended to display their disapproval of all radical viewpoints, and their willingness to - prepare to read the divine word of this silly season - compromise.  

The Left's original Tea Party meme will still hang around, available for the media and Democrats - a redundancy in terms - to use if a GOP candidate emerges who doesn't shy away from associating with the TPM.  But it's lost much of it strength, thanks to the antics of the Occupy Wall Street mob.

In his Kansas speech Tuesday, President Obama linked the motives of the Tea Party movement to those of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. It was revisionist history on parade. 

Memes are like genes, in that they can change. In the political arena, memes are linguistic, not biological. Nevertheless, like genes, they evolve, they mutate, and they can go extinct. Yesterday, we witnessed a meme mutation. Or, maybe better, the grafting of one meme onto another as the President drafted the Tea Party into the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) mob and equated their motives. 

The Left's OWS meme is that the occupiers represent the vast majority, 99% used as a hyperbole, of Americans angered by not being given their fair share in an economic system where they're "left holding the bag," while the rich enjoy an unfair advantage.

The Left's original Tea Party meme defines the Tea Party people as extremist conservatives holding radical beliefs -- racists, birthers, aging reactionaries, white people feeling threatened by an African-American President, and...well, you know the ornaments that have decorated the Left's Tea Party meme tree. They glitter all over the legacy media.

Then something happened to the Left's Tea Party meme. Its credibility was severely undercut by the OWS crowd's bad behavior.  In a one-to-one comparison, the Occupiers' optics did not fare well against the Tea Partiers'. Consequently, a meme adjustment was required. It happened in the President's Kansas speech when Obama said,  

"Ever since [the 2008 financial crisis] there has been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness. Throughout the country, it has sparked protests and political movements -- from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It's left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. And it's been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women who are running for president."

Disregard the snide comment, offered in passing, of the GOP Presidential candidates' discussions as "sometimes colorful." Focus on the coupling of the Tea Party Movement (TPM) to the OWS people. Obama implied that both movements were sparked by a growing disparity in class incomes, coupled with the greed of "a few with irresponsibility {sic} across the [financial] system".

In short, both protests, he claimed, stem from the financial crisis of 2008 and share a common motive.  That's meme grafting -- one meme grafted onto another.  The scruffy Occupiers and the clean-cut Tea Partiers are now comrades-in-arms in the battle for income redistribution.

That'll come as news to the TPM. They've been thinking their movement had more to do with the irresponsible spending of the federal government, rather than Wall Street.

Oddly enough, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican conservative icon, laid a foundation for this shift when he said,

 "I think if you look at the Occupy Wall Street folks and the Tea Party folks, that they come from the same perspective, they just have different solutions."

What "same perspective" would that be, Governor? The OWS folks want to replace capitalism with...well, something unidentified.  The TPM wants the federal government to stop spending the country into a bankruptcy that will enslave their children and grandchildren for generations. How is that the "same perspective"?   Never mind; yesterday the president made it so.

It seems like only the day before yesterday, because it was, that the legacy media, in lock-step with the Democratic Party, was intent on propagating the notion that the Tea Party movement consists of extremists.  Their evidence was a few edgy signs that appeared at TPM events.   It didn't matter whether or not the accusations was true, because -- and this is important to note about political memetics -- the impact of a meme doesn't depend on it being true.     

Moderate Republican pols, some with no definitive ideology of their own to speak of, saw an opportunity to bring an errant element of the GOP's constituency under control, and went along with the Democrats' Tea Party meme.  They either mutely kept their distance from the Tea Party, or offered polite temporizing words about the TPM as though it was that crazy, but harmless, uncle that was Barack Obama's preacher for twenty years.

Others among the Republican establishment, recognizing the TPM as a threat to their controlling leverage over the GOP, issued mild tsk-tsk statements intended to display their disapproval of all radical viewpoints, and their willingness to - prepare to read the divine word of this silly season - compromise.  

The Left's original Tea Party meme will still hang around, available for the media and Democrats - a redundancy in terms - to use if a GOP candidate emerges who doesn't shy away from associating with the TPM.  But it's lost much of it strength, thanks to the antics of the Occupy Wall Street mob.