“Maybe things were better then, before you led a promised life. Rash commitments, heavy raps and left-wing spiel all compromised.”
— Pete Townshend, “Cry If You Want.”
Return with us now to the thrilling days of early 1968: LBJ was in the White House, confused at why he, his self-described Great Society, and the Vietnam war were suddenly hated by nascent elements of the far left. Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy were out on the campaign trail, and the new left were simultaneously shaving their beards, cutting their hair and getting “Clean for Gene” — and reading the brand new underground magazine Rolling Stone, which promised a brave new world of stardust and sunshine, once it smashed The Establishment, maaaan.
Flash-forward a few decades. In 2000, Rolling Stone’s publisher was reported to have a net worth estimated at “somewhere between $500 million and $750 million, with earnings in the $40 million-to-$60 million range.” And Rolling Stone itself is merely one cog in a conglomerate that also includes such equally-staid publications as Men’s Journal and Us Weekly magazines. (See also: similar fate of Ben & Jerry’s.) Its cover stories, once filled with fresh-faced leftwing musicians in their early 20s, now seems indiscernible from AARP’s monthly magazine. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, when Paul McCartney makes regular appearances at the Obama White House and praises the president, whom Jann Wenner and his magazine went all-in endorsing in 2008.
In other words, the new left, once radical in 1968, is now The Establishment. Which brings us to former Huffington Post contributor Lee Stranahan at Big Journalism on “Why Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi Has No Choice But To Support #OccupyWallStreet:”
Here’s the position Taibbi finds himself him; he cares passionately about the problems created by the nexus of government and the big financial industry. He’s identified them countless times over the last few years but he can’t figure out who will actually solve them. Taibbi has no place to go.
Poor Matt knows that Obama and the Democratic party aren’t the answer. He’s given a ton of ink to stories about what sellouts the Democrats and Obama are. Here’s a quote from a recent Taibbi article called Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal:
My theory is that the Obama administration is trying to secure its 2012 campaign war chest with this settlement deal. If Barry can make this foreclosure thing go away for the banks, you can bet he’ll win the contributions battle against the Republicans next summer.
That isn’t a right-wing blogger calling the President “Barry” in a sneer. That’s Matt Taibbi calling the President “Barry” in a sneer. The 2012 elections are on the horizon and no Democratic primary challenger is riding in to save the day, either. Game over. Matt is stuck with Barry.
Unless … no, wait. It’s simply too crazy an idea. It’s mad, I tell you — mad! Maybe Taibbi could look to his right and see the people who have been raising the red flag on issues like TARP for the last couple of years.
Stop laughing. We all know that’s never going to happen.
Therefore, Matt Taibbi is forced to pin his hopes on the warmed-over hippies and YouTube-fueled hipsters of #Occupy Wall Street. He won’t stop believin’ in them because they are all he’s got. He’ll offer them advice knowing there’s almost no chance that they would stop chanting long enough to listen.
Read the whole thing. And then check out Milton Wolf in the Washington Times. Wolf is the president’s conservative cousin with an MD, who writes, “Liberalism is dying before our eyes, not with a whimper or a bang, but with a grand unbathed and so apropos whine-fest:”
The central tenets of statism are in free-fall, and its benefi- ciaries, namely those who live off the fruits of other people’s labor, are in a panic for one last round of government handouts before they completely bankrupt the nation.
Consider for a moment the tortured psyche of today’s American liberal. The 2008 election promised that “the smartest guy ever to become president” would “fundamentally transform the United States of America” into some liberal utopia. Wars would end. Seas would calm. And Barack Obama would spread the wealth. Instead, all he spread was misery as he unleashed the twin terrors of redistributionist economics and government-controlled health care. Hope and change became despair and more of the same.
The failed Obama presidency, however, is just the beginning. The most liberal president in history, with an assist from his predecessor, has unmasked the structural flaws of liberalism itself. All told, nearly $5 trillion of government bailouts and stimulus spending between the two presidents failed to rescue our economy. Their $5 trillion bought the most expensive lesson in human history: Government cannot create wealth, and an overtaxed and overregulated private sector can’t, either.
Keynesian economics, as it has evolved, is the debunked belief that government can stimulate, direct, regulate and bail you into prosperity. This failed religion is now so thoroughly disproved that it simply cannot survive the collapse of the Obama presidency, except perhaps on the calcified pages of the New York Times. After all, if $5 trillion isn’t a large enough stimulus, what is? And if the smartest guy ever to become president can’t manage liberalism, who can?
Enter the disillusioned “Occupy Wall Street” protesters. Suddenly the 1970s “Me Generation” seems altruistic, and the ‘60s hippies seem hygienic. What a perfect name for their movement: “Occupy” – to take up space. If there’s one thing these overcredentialed but undereducated people excel at, it’s taking up space. They occupy university campuses for years without learning skills that can actually contribute to our society’s economy. They demand to occupy a child’s place on their parents’ health insurance plan and then can’t understand why everyone’s premiums have risen further out of reach. They occupy a place in their mothers’ basements and can’t believe their fathers have become little Eichmanns in a capitalist world. Heck, at this point, I’d be happy if they’d just occupy a shower once in a while.
Somewhere between the occupiers’ curbside sex and public defecation, many of them have begun listing their demands. Brace yourself. Truth is more hilarious than fiction. Years ago, the parody news website the Onion ran a fictitious (but spot-on) point-counterpoint piece. Point: “America’s homeless want a hand up, not a handout.” Counterpoint: “I want handouts! Hey, speak for yourself, buddy. I want handouts! I want other people’s money, I want it in my pocket, and I don’t want to work for it!” Rarely in real life, however, is truth laid so bare – until now. The public sex performers have demands: They want handouts.
And evidently, the source of the financial expertise that drives their demands was Rolling Stone, based on their knowledge of the American economy. Or as John Hinderaker writes at Power Line, “Are You Smarter Than A Wall Street Occupier? You would almost have to be.”
Related: Speaking of box canyons, “The president looks likely to improve his standing with the [OWS] protesters in 2012. The survey found 48% would vote for his re-election, even though a slim 51% majority of the protesters disapprove of his job performance.”
More: “Occupy Barack: Obama Has Raised More from Wall Street [for the upcoming election] than All the GOP Contenders, Combined.”