Can the two populist movements in the United States—the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street—find common ground? The "unofficial chief ideologist" for the San Diego Tea Party, B. Daddy, believes it's possible, as does the local incarnation of the Occupation, Occupy San Diego, which has invited local conservative radio host Rick Amato to speak at the Civic Center today at 5 p.m.
More details here.
I actually had a small role in convincing Amato to go out on a seemingly left-bent limb. When he mentioned the invitation skeptically on Twitter, I asked him whether he agreed with the core chant of the movement, "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."
He said he did. I said, then, he should definitely go. ---
I've covered the Tea Party since its very beginning, and I do believe the two movements have common roots. Without the 2008 Ron Paul campaign, there would be no Tea Party—and if you look back at Paul's supporters, you'll notice a symbol shared with today's Occupy Wall Street protesters: The Guy Fawkes masks. The similarities don't end there: Both the Tea Party and OWS are sickened by bailouts and have little faith in the federal government. You'll see general agreements, though not universal, on campaign-finance reform and investigations into corporate securities.
Of course, there are a lot of differences as well, many rooted irreconcilably in the core philosophies of the movements. I just hope that Amato will stick to the commonalities rather than use the opportunity to manufacture more controversy.
I'll be there tonight, and then I'm heading to the mayoral forum that CityBeat is co-sponsoring at the Balboa Theatre.
You should go to that, too.
More information on the A Better San Diego forum here.