To paraphrase singer Britney Spears, Oops, she did it again. In this case, she is conservative commentator/columnist Ann Coulter, who on the Fox News television talk show Hannity's America Thursday said the Occupy Wall Street protest movement is a mob and similar to mob uprisings.
Coulter also told host Sean Hannity that the Democratic Party likes these type of protests because it gives them results, including an ability to implement a socialist domestic agenda.
Most mainstream political analysts, as well as political scientists, view the social reforms implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (via the New Deal) and other Democratic presidents (including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton) as creating a modest social-welfare state in the context of the United States' conservative corporate capitalist economic system, which dominates commercial activity. Almost no analysts view the U.S. social-safety net as akin to the extensive -- and, in some cases, socialist -- safety nets found in many Western European democracies.
Coulter: Occupy Wall Street is Not Peaceful
Coulter does not view the U.S. social-safety net as being modest, and she does not view the Occupy Wall Street movement -- overwhelmingly peaceful, with none of the social unrest found in, for example, Greece -- as being mild or constructive.
Generally, mob uprisings are associated with violence. I think this particular mob is so ragtag and pathetic. And, also, Americans aren't really going for it. This is not a general cross section of America. It's adolescents looking for a cause, it's teenage runaways, criminals, homeless, Coulter said, according to Fox News. No, I don't think there are even many of those [trust-fund young adults]. It just is 18- to 22-year-olds who don't have a home to go to.
This is the third time Coulter has used extremist phrases to describe the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, which seeks economic and fiscal reform.
Earlier, Coulter said the Occupy Wall Street protest movement was similar to the Nazis' rise to power in Germany in the 1930s, and that the protesters also represent the start of totalitarianism in the United States.
Specifically, Coulter said the statements by Occupy Wall Street protesters, a movement that doesn't attach itself to the Democratic Party or any other political organization at this point, are similar to what was said before the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and with only slight modification when the Nazis came to power ... This is always the beginning of totalitarianism.
Coulter did not explain how the largely left-of-center Occupy Wall Street crowd is the equivalant of the 1930s Germany Nazi Party, which was a right-wing, extremist group that was authoritarian in structure, not totalitarian -- it allowed private corporations to continue to operate -- and murdered millions of liberals and left-wingers.
Cantor Also Viewed Occupy Protests as 'Growing Mobs'
Coulter is not the first conservative public figure to use extremist adjectives to describe the five-week-old Occupy Wall Street movement, which has grown steadily with demonstrations in U.S. and abroad.
This month, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called the Occupy Wall Street movement growing mobs.
Cantor has since backtracked from that comment, but he has not apologized.
Even so, the political fallout from Cantor's remarks has not been insignificant. On Friday, Cantor abruptly canceled an afternoon speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business that had become the target of Occupy Philly and other groups, philly.com reported. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the University of Pennsylvania, nonetheless, carrying signs and shouting slogans.
Occupy Wall Street: No Demands, so Far
To date, Occupy Wall Street has emphasized a nonhierarchical structure, and that's perhaps one reason the coalition has not issued a formal list of demands, but most groups in the coalition appear to agree on several points:
1) An increase in taxes on the rich/upper income groups -- in the group's phraseology, the wealthiest 1 percent of society -- to get them to pay what the coalition argues is their fair share in taxes.
2) A large increase in federal spending to create jobs to lower the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, improve the nation's infrastructure and education system, and better fund other social programs, such as health care.
3) Protection for Social Security and Medicare entitlements.
4) New laws to strengthen unions, encourage collective bargaining, and bolster union membership.
5) An end to corporate welfare tax laws and programs.
6) Some form of debt relief for middle- and working-class citizens, as well as the poor.
One general Occupy Wall Street theme is that the coalition believes both public-policy and tax-law changes during the past 30 years have resulted in a society in which the rich and upper-income groups, including banks and other financial institutions, are reaping most of the financial rewards from society at the expense of everyone else, including the middle class, the working class, the working poor, and the poor. Occupy Wall Street argues this trend in society is antidemocratic and unjust: It contends public policy should change to help create a more-fair, more-egalitarian society -- one in which the decisions are made by a majority of the people and serve everyone -- not by and for, the coalition argues, the rich and upper-income groups.
Political/Public Policy Analysis
Coulter joins conservative/libertarian commentator Glenn Back and House Majority Leader Cantor in using vitriolic terms and extreme rhetoric to mischaracterize the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
The liberal or what some call the left segment of the U.S. ideological spectrum forms the bulk of protesters, but the coalition also contains populists, libertarians, moderates, conscientious objectors, environmentalists, independents, public accountability advocates, independent tradesmen and tradeswomen, small-business owners, and people who have never previously been involved in a social/economic demonstration. Naturally, the coalition includes some who would describe themselves as socialists or democratic socialists, but to conclude at this early stage of the movement that Occupy Wall Street is a mob or represents the beginnings of totalitarianism is absurd.
See Also -- To Read More News Stories and Analysis Regarding the Occupy Wall Street Protests: Click Here.