Senate hopeful, former WaMu board member Leppert funding anti-Occupy petition drive
If you’ve been curious about U.S. Senate candidate and former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert’s take on the Occupy Wall Street movement, well, wonder no more. Friday afternoon, Leppert unveiled his campaign’s effort to steer the national discourse, with endoccupy.com.
The site features a photo of screaming young people, waving signs with anti-war, pro-environment and pro-jobs messages, over a black-and-white video backdrop of slow-motion footage from the New York City protests (for the full zombie-flick effect, you can watch the video on its own here).
We’re waiting to hear back from Leppert campaign spokesman Daniel Keylin, but the site describes why Leppert’s campaign wants the nation de-occupied:
The Occupy Wall Street crowd represents the same flawed values that got our country into this economic mess. They possess a false sense of entitlement and think they should be receiving government handouts and run up the debt on an imaginary credit card by making hard-working Americans and future generations pay for the bill.
So resolved, the campaign hopes to gather 5,000 signatures for an online petition asking President Obama “to denounce the angry Occupy mob.”
Obama has already made overtures to the Occupy Wall Street cause, though the protesters say they’re wary of being co-opted by party politics and large institutions. It’s unclear how a lack of support from Obama would hasten the movement’s end.
If it takes off like “We are the 53 percent,” it could arm Leppert with thousands of new email addresses as he tries to avoid being crowded out of the senate race. (Clearly, endtheoccupation.org was already taken.)
Leppert’s opposition to the Occupy movement probably isn’t just a philosophical one. While he was mayor of Dallas, Leppert also sat on the board of Washington Mutual, including the bank’s audit committee, steering the bank into a 2008 acquisition that, wrote the Dallas Morning News’ Dave Levinthal at the time, “financial observers are calling the largest bank failure in U.S. history.”
The Dallas Observer’s Sam Merten wondered what lessons could be drawn from Leppert’s management style while he was in charge of the city:
In April, $7 billion of capital was put into the bank, yet only five months later, WaMu is no more. If Leppert, as a board member and audit committee member for WaMu, can watch $7 billion slip away seemingly into the night, can he be trusted to dip his hands into the pockets of Dallas taxpayers? Discuss.
So far in his campaign, Leppert has tried to position himself as the policy wonk with a concrete jobs plan, but has been overshadowed in the race by Lt. Gov.
David Dewhurst and former solicitor general Ted Cruz. Cruz announced earlier this week that he’d raised $1 million in the last three months, making him the top fundraiser in the race, with $2.8 million so far. Like Dewhurst, though, Leppert came into the race with significant personal wealth that he’s contributed to his own campaign.