Jim Hightower on the Occupy Movement and the Republican Presidential Candidates

Photo courtesy of notmytribe.com.


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“This is a movement that can grow into something not only big, but important,” progressive author and commentator Jim Hightower said Oct. 15 after addressing protesters at Occupy DC at Freedom Plaza. “Even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. The powers that be [have]… kicked too many of us,” said the Texas populist, wearing his trademark cowboy hat.

Since the Sept. 17 occupation of Liberty Plaza on Wall Street, more than 1,500 “occupy together meetups” have sprung up throughout the country and across the globe, according to OccupyTogether.org. What’s more, the occupations have broad initial public backing, which may be unique in the history of progressive movements in the U.S.

A Hightower campaign ad. Photo courtesy of the Austin-American Statesman.

“The American Revolution itself had very little support at the start,” said Hightower. “In fact, by the time of the Declaration [of Independence] only about a third of the American people actually supported it. It’s always a few people who get something going. That certainly was the case in the civil rights movement. It was the case in the anti-war movement in the Vietnam period, which I went through. But this one has a sort of spontaneous combustion.”

The support of the U.S. public is surprising when considering the corporate media’s coverage of the occupations which frequently fails to convey underlying reasons for the protests. In a recent radio commentary, Hightower said, “It’s silly to say that the protestors’ purpose is indecipherable. Hello – they’re encamped next door to Wall Street, isn’t that a clue? They want what America’s workaday majority wants: stop the gross greed of financial and corporate elites, and expel a political class that’s so corrupted by the money of those wealthy elites that it has turned its back on the middle class and the poor.”

Speaking two blocks from the White House at Freedom Plaza, Hightower also discussed the Republican presidential contenders. “The fact that Herman Cain is even in the race, much less leading the Republican primary for president, is an astonishing admission of the shallowness of the gene pool on that side of the political spectrum these days.”

Hightower – who knows something about Texas politics having been elected twice to statewide office from 1983-1991 as Texas Agriculture Commissioner – said of Gov. Rick Perry, “He’s a corporate whore. Corporations put money into his campaigns and he delivers taxpayer money or government favors back to them. It’s a straight quid pro quo kind of government.”

Hightower continued, “[Perry] started off very high in the polls and he’s plummeted. They say that the higher the monkey climbs the more you see of its ugly side and that’s what’s happened with Rick Perry, he’s being discovered. It’s also being discovered that he’s not the brightest porch light on the block… Ted Williams, a great baseball player, once said, ‘If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.’ Perry’s been thinking too much, I’m afraid.”

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“Occupy the USA,” Says/Sings Emma’s Revolution, Oct. 8, 2011
Justin Rodriguez on the Ongoing Occupation of K Street, Oct. 9, 2011
Occupy Wall Street: A Movement is Born, Sept. 30, 2011

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