By Felicia Cravens, Contributor, US Daily Review
CPAC, one of the largest conservative political conferences in the country, was this week’s target of Occupy ire. The results, however, were not quite what the Occupiers evidently had in mind. One report suggested Occupy was preparing to pull fire alarms and assault speakers, but as of this writing, neither had been reported.
Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller went out to interview the protesters, and caught a couple of interesting videos. In the first, she asks protesters if they are familiar with the event they are protesting. The protesters had apparently been given some coaching, and ordered not to give interviews. The policy was then enforced by union leaders who kept steering protesters away from Ms. Fields. Perhaps the Occupy leadership has been chastened by the appearance of videos of protesters that seem to be, well, less than clear. Ms. Fields did get in some questions to a couple of protesters; one admitted he had no idea what the event was or why the protests were occurring, and another Spanish-speaking attendee holding a sign declared that he didn’t know what it said.
In the second video, Ms. Fields discovers union workers among the protesters, one of whom admits receiving $60 a head for showing up to protest. One wonders why the union has not decided to pay the union workers a living wage. And why tea partiers not only show up for free, but usually pay for the privilege.
A rather large group of protesters gathered in the vicinity of the hotel where the conference was taking place. The ever-vigilant (and ever-confrontational) Andrew Breitbart took advantage of the opportunity to engage in a little Occupy-baiting, with chants of “Behave yourself!” and “Stop raping people!” as police tried to move him away from the crowd. Other protesters attempted to enter the hotel, and were turned away by security and police. Still, a few managed to get into the hotel and register for the event, deciding to block the video monitors while Mitt Romney made his speech. Others attempted to disrupt a breakout session, only to find that the person they came to protest was actually giving his presentation in another room.
Occupy has a real public relations problem on its hands. Instead of focusing on elections work to help their ideas prevail at the ballot box, the most visible Occupy groups have concentrated on the art of disruption. Whereas tea party moved quickly from protest to participation, Occupy seems content to form drum circles and chant slogans. This is a problem for other Occupy groups who are attempting to explore whether tea party and Occupy have the ability to find common ground. A thoroughly educated Occupy force, combined with a thoroughly committed tea party, would be a political force to be reckoned with. Our own Houston Tea Party Society will be meeting with some local members of the Occupy movement this month, and we all expect much better, and much more productive, results than Occupy DC could ever claim.
Felicia Cravens walked away from her accounting degree over a decade ago to become a stay-at-home mom. Since then, she has filled her “spare time” teaching drama in an after-school program and working in conservative politics. She founded the Houston Tea Party Society in 2009, serves as a frequent media contact, and trains and equips people new to the political process, on topics such as Convention 101 and Twitter Basics. She also serves as Vice-President of the organization that planned January’s Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll. Her passion for social, media in politics has led her to launch Dialect Social Media this spring, a consulting firm for candidates, and she can be found on Facebook and Google+, and on Twitter as @somethingfishie and at LinkedIn. She is a contributor at The Texas Conservative as well as a blogger in her own right at Something Fishie.