On her MSNBC show last night, Rachel Maddow asked Rep. Barney Frank whether the ever-growing Occupy Wall Street movement has "energized Democrats at all." The congressman's response suggests that protesters are the ones who need to get energized to show up at the ballot box the next time the opportunity arises to take action on the issues driving the demonstrations.
The longtime target of critics opposed to loosening mortgage regulations says he is sympathetic to the movement but also says, "I'm unhappy when people [who] didn't vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting.”
Rough transcript from TVEyes:
Yes, I hope there will be pressure to do even more, but I, again, want to be honest, simply being in a public place and voicing your opinion in and of itself doesn’t do anything politically. It is the prerequisite, I hope, for people getting together and voting and engaging things. And I understand some of the people on occupy Wall Street are kind of critical of that. They think that's conventional politics. Well, you know, the most successful organization in America in getting its views adopted is the national rifle association. They are in many cases a minority. But in addition to everything else they do, they very effectively identify who the members of the congress are, the legislatures and vote for them.
So as I said, I welcome the Wall Street energy. I don't agree with everything some of the people say. I agree with the general thrust of it. It's not self-executing. It has to be translated into political activity if it's going to have the impact. You know, I would just say, the last thing; we had an election last year in which people who disagree with them, and disagree with me and with you, got elected. I want to be honest again here. I don’t know what the voting behavior is of all these people, but I'm a little bit unhappy when people didn't vote last time blame me for the consequences of their not voting.
Frank's frustration is understandable, but it seems to us it would be more productive to harness the energy of Occupy Wall Street than to chastise participants for what they may or may not have done in years past. Hopefully a combination of activism and traditional political participation isn't too much to ask.
Read more at Mediaite.
In other news: Girl Football Player Sits for Team's Sake.