Republicans' Growing Fear of Occupy Wall Street

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

In this April 13, 2011 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Unlikely as it may seem, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress actually do share some common ground on the need to curb Medicare costs. Embedded in both the House GOP plan to replace Medicare with a voucher-like system and in Obama's counter-proposal is the idea of putting a limit on the growth of the $500-billion program, and making sure it sticks.

Occupy Wall Street survived the weekend’s freak snowstorm, and police crackdowns are energizing demonstrations across the country. That’s bad news for Republicans, writes The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, pointing to a bristling speech by Rep. Paul Ryan last week in which the GOP’s resident wonk attacked Obama for divisive rhetoric. “Ryan would not have given this speech if the Republican Party were not so worried that it is losing control of the political narrative,” says Dionne. “In particular, growing inequalities of wealth and income … are now finally at the heart of our discourse.” By arguing that Americans still have significant social mobility—something the facts contradict—Ryan showed how inadequate his celebrated ideas are for the incoming political moment.