As Democrats move to embrace the emerging “Occupy Wall Street” rallies popping up around the country, Republicans are starting to push back.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Paul Broun, a tea party Republican from Georgia, said the protests amount to an “attack upon freedom” — one that he said is now being hijacked by labor unions in attempt to reelect President Obama.
“They don’t know why they’re there. They’re just mad,” Broun told us. “This attack upon business, attack upon industry, attack upon freedom – and I think that’s what this is all about.”
Labor unions, he said, are now joining the protest to “subvert that anger into a political power.” Their aim is to reelect a president whose “policies are just ignorant and incompetent” about the economy, he said.
“This president and his administration have policies that are taking our freedom away,” Broun said. “They’re killing our economy, they’re killing jobs, they’re running them over offshore. We need to change all that. If we don’t, this economy is going to have a bigger crash than we did in the Great Depression.”
“This election is going to mean whether we’re going to go down the tube financially,” he added.
As for what’s likely to get done in the short term, Broun said he doesn’t think Congress is likely to pass any significant legislation that would create jobs, given the gridlock in Washington that leaves the Democratic-controlled Senate not acting on bills passed by the Republican House.
“I don’t think you’re going to see anything get done,” he said. “We’ve passed a number of bills that will create jobs. … Harry Reid and Barack Obama are just sitting on those.”
And Broun blasted Obama for pushing the “same old failed policies” when it comes to job creation.
“It’s just inane, it’s insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” he said. “It’s absolutely critical that we make some political changes here in Washington.”
We also checked in with Variety’s Ted Johnson, who covers the intersection of the entertainment and political worlds, about Hollywood’s disaffection with President Obama.
Last week’s fundraiser with Lady Gaga, Johnson said, could be a turning point that helps Obama win that piece of his base back, in a kind of “bandwagon effect” among celebrities, Johnson told us.