The Occupiers vs the Tea Party, Who Wins the Battle of Perceptions?

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Runny Bulls

THE MELTING OF THE BULLS? - Will Occupy Wall Street win the battle of perceptions with the Tea Party?

There’s a lot of rumination over Occupy Wall Street and its steadily growing raft of branch offices. Depending on your rhetoric, The Occupiers are massing to do righteous battle with corporate greedheads, their overpaid leaders, and associated serfs. On the other hand, the right sees The Occupiers as a bunch of gold bricks who want to lynch job creators Fortune 500 CEOs, crooked politicians, and their assorted Tea Partyish fellow travelers.

In many ways it doesn’t matter whether a person’s perception is right or wrong, it only matters they have it. For good or bad that means those with a different perception can either ignore opposing perceptions or work with them and try to change them.

It Ain't No PartyThe hallmark of the Tea Party’s ascendency is to ignore counter arguments and scorch the earth of anyone that disagrees.  At the risk of using an over inflammatory analogy, lets say their strategy is akin to a certain western European country launching a “lightning war” against some smaller European countries. Sort of a crush the rebellion motif meted out by self-described rogues.

As the perception of the quarrelous tea sippers sours, more moderate conservatives have begun to move left because they find the unbending ideology-based actions scary. They’re being joined by left-leaning moderates to form what could be a formidable force in 2012.

Queue the ascendency of The Occupiers. They’ve seized on the scariness of Tea Partiers as a strategy to change perceptions. Their message is more palatable – you can’t trust an arrogant Wall Street banker or CEO any farther than you can throw Ben Bernacke.

It’s easier to sell higher taxes on people holding 99% of the country’s wealth while you see your life’s dreams crash and burn as a direct result of the One Percenters actions. It’s also easier to sell real accountability for the those who not only failed to see economic problems they created, but then used the failures to make a profit on them. Oh, and don’t forget the bonuses they awarded themselves for doing such a bang up job creating those failures plus bonuses to retain their “expertise” to solve the problems they created.

The national zeitgeist is bifurcated. The question is whose perception is likely to win. Last time out the Tea Party won the battle of dueling perceptions. This time there’s a new game in town and it looks like people are taking to it quickly. So far, that bodes well for the change perceptions theory and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, The Occupiers are in it for the long haul, don’t ignore the actions of their opposition, and don’t fall into the same short-sighted trap.

That sort of complacency is how we got here in the first place.

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