The encampment is like many others around the country. This one, however, is completely unique in that it is throwing itself directly into the implacable face of the party that is least likely to pay it any mind whatsoever. (Already, N. Leroy Gingrich and the departed clown Herman Cain have run the “Get A Job!” rap past appreciative audiences.) However, before dismissing entirely the effect of Occupy on the Republican party, consider whether we would have heard so much detailed faux-proletarian palaver from that Papist nutter Rick Santorum, or whether we’d have heard Willard Romney say the words “middle class” more in the last two months than in his entire public career, if people like Kathy Thorndike (and, yes, the people in the red robes with the cowbells) hadn’t dedicated themselves to yelling at the right buildings starting last fall. My guess is that we probably wouldn’t have heard much from them on the subject at all.
Thorndike and those like here aren’t exactly letting anyone off the hook, either. “I think it’s both parties,” she said. “I think it is very difficult for any politician to be heard at this time without raising a huge amount of money, and there’s only one place you can go to do that. Even if a politician wants to do something about the money, he has to raise the money to get elected. If the system is to be changed, we have to get the money out.”
It is the most obvious issue in the campaign, and the one least talked about. When it is discussed, it’s usually as a process story — who’s raised the most, whose super-PAC has the knives out for which other candidate. The corruption of the system has led to a corruption of the dialogue and, necessarily, a corruption of the debate. Most of the elite press is housed in a Radisson hotel across the street from the encampment. (George Will was stalking the lobby on Saturday, perhaps looking for briefing books to steal.)
Very few have been by to chat. “They’ve been trying to ignore the message,” Kathy said. “Or they’ll say there is no message. But people out there know something’s askew in our politics.”
Another car horn sounds. The people smile at her this time, and wave. She smiles and waves back. Meanwhile, two men in colonial garb on horseback ride by with a Gadsden flag and a Ron Paul banner. Something’s stirring on the fringes. Its direction is uncertain. Of course, you can say the same damn thing about the country.