During this weekend’s broadcast of “The McLaughlin Group,” host John McLaughlin asked his panel about what would happen to Occupy Wall Street as its novelty wears off and the weather gets colder. Amid mixed reactions, conservative MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan described a scenario where freezing temperatures bring out the movement’s violent side.
“It’s going to end very, very badly with these folks in the winter,” Buchanan said, “and they’re not going to be getting publicity and they’re going to be acting up and acting badly like the worst of the demonstrators in the ’60s … not just overnight camping: They’re going to start fighting with the cops.”
Newsweek/Daily Beast liberal contributor Eleanor Clift suggested the movement would stick around, drawing parallels with the early twentieth-century women’s suffrage movement.
“There was one fight with the cops in Oakland: An Iraq war veteran was hit with a projectile in the head and is in critical condition,” Clift said.
“I don’t know who you blame for that, but I know how I view it. I think they have staying power … and secondly the suffragists who stood in front of the White House — they thought they would go home when it got cold. They heated bricks for them to stand on. I think these people have some staying power.”
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Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner sided with Buchanan.
“There’s just not that many of them,” Ferrechio said.
“We’re talking you know a couple hundred people camped out here and there in Washington, D.C. So staying power — I guess in the media, we’ll probably keep [mentioning] them. But I think also once winter comes along, you’ll see some of these people head home and it might get even smaller.”
The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page said the Occupy Wall Street movement has already shifted the public discussion, making it a success by any measure.
“Don’t measure their success by their numbers out on the street,” Page said. “Measure it by the way the conversation is changing. We’re talking about wealth gap right now. So instead of talking about what where we will cut now, where are we going stop spending now? All we talked about for the last several years. All of a sudden now we’re seeing the conversation shift and early polling shows the Occupy Wall Street group, among those following the news, as more popular than the tea party.”
“The answer is: This is transitory, unless they spawn a third-party candidate.”