Occupying the Caucuses

DES MOINES – Walk from the state capitol, head due west, and you will run into the headquarters of Occupy the Caucus. photo (15) When I got there, no clear agenda in mind, I was greeted right away by a volunteer assigned to give background information to the press. What followed: A well-drawn biography of the now-or-never movement in Iowa. This space, formerly a bar called the 504 Lounge, was empty when Occupiers cut a deal with the owener. They grabbed it last Friday, cleaned it by Sunday, and on Tuesday, they were ready for the “People’s Caucus” on the stage soert of visible in the background below/
photo (14)
The old bar was now a counter for food, offered “to those in need and those without. It was separated by a wall from the chalkboard where Occupiers were planning daily actions and meetings. These were not designed in the classic “occupy” manner, of a room of people “mic-checking” and voting in real time what to do. A subcommittee was created to manage the schedule. It typically decided, once a day, to “occupy” something. Two days ago, it tried to occupy Mitt Romney’s HQ; when that failed, it went to Wells Fargo. I’ve heard Ron Paul praise the insights of the “occupiers,” but he’s unique. Every other Republican candidate views them with contempt. So do Republican voters. At a different event, one for Newt Gingrich, a tie-clad Republican named Keith Hunter layghed at how his Wells Fargo office was occupied. “The company employs 40,000 people in Iowa,” he said, annoyed. “We have, I don’t know, 15 buildings? They thought they were occupying our boat but we have a fleet.” The occupying will keep on, but the coming goal of the protesters is to influence – not disrupt! – the Iowa Caucuses. The mission: Infilitrate the Democratic or Republican caucuses, and make “uncommitted” win them. “If Obama lost the primary to uncommitteed,” said one of them, “it would be volcanic.”