Quote of the day

Janie Lober of Roll Call reported that:

A planned meeting today between the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Occupy Wall Street activists was scuttled late Tuesday after Roll Call inquired about it, highlighting increasing tensions between Democrats and the movement.

While Democrats are adopting the movement’s “99 percent” language, they are increasingly retreating from the protesters themselves and their anti-capitalist rhetoric. Some in the party view the Occupy activists — camped out in grubby tent cities around the country — as a potential liability in 2012.

“Democrats should reject Occupy Wall Street as the spokesmen for the 99 percent,” said Kelly Bingel, who served as former Sen. Blanche Lincoln‘s (D-Ark.) chief of staff until 2005 and is now a partner with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc. “The chance of those guys going out and voting or encouraging anyone else to vote is very low.”

Another Democratic lobbyist and early supporter of President Barack Obama agreed. “I think Democrats need to stay away from embracing OWS. We can acknowledge their frustrations without embracing their movement,” he said. “They are too fringe-y and don’t play well in middle America. Let the Republicans be the party of the angry right. We need to be the party where moderates feel welcomed.”

That tension was on display Tuesday as an attempt to bring Occupy activists together with lawmakers devolved into a controversy over who was using whom for a public relations ploy. The meeting between members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and 10 protesters from New York City was canceled late Tuesday afternoon.

To be sure, lobbyists have every reason to despise the Occupy Movement. Whereas the Occupy Movement promotes democratic and public accountability, a rational lobbyist will oppose any political entity which diminishes her influence. She will oppose it because, as a lobbyist, she sell private access and private accountability to those who can pay for it.

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