HEMPSTEAD, New York — Vladimir Jaffe had a brief moment of notoriety in 2011 when, as one of a handful of conservative amateur documentarians covering then-nascent Occupy Wall Street, he appeared on Fox News for a long segment on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show. As it turns out, Jaffe is back — he's made the trip from his current home of Staten Island to Long Island to take video of the crowd of protesters outside the second presidential debate at Hofstra University.
"It's not a movement, it's just a bunch of hippies who really don't know what they stand for, and they're just having a good time," Jaffe said of Occupy, in a thick Russian accent. He wore a National Rifle Association jacket and carried a camera.
Jaffe left Russia in 1988 at age 29, before the fall of the Soviet Union. His experiences with communism, he says, shaped his view of politics forever.
"Left is the most dangerous thing we currently have," Jaffe said. "It's a religion."
Jaffe has made dozens of videos at Occupy protests, always referring to himself as "Former Soviet Citizen" in the titles (e.g. "Nice Misguided 'Occupier' Kid Rather Belongs To Tea Party Based On Former Soviet Citizen's Analysis").
Jaffe asks questions like "And when you abolish capitalism what are you going to replace it with I wonder?", usually followed by his favorite retort — an incredulous "Really?" — depending on the answer.
His videos took him all the way to the Fox News set, where Judge Napolitano praised him as "brave enough to go toe-to-toe with the Occupy Wall Street protesters."
Jaffe identifies strongly with the Tea Party movement and supports Mitt Romney, who he met at a "Tea Party event in Philadelphia," he said.
"He's very personable," Jaffe said. And if Obama wins again — "God help us," Jaffe said.
As a swirl of protesters — Gary Johnson supporters, anti-drone people, Occupiers, and "Rent Is Too Damn High" candidate Jimmy McMillan — surrounded him, Jaffe had his camera trained on a young protester familiar from Occupy protests in New York. "Really?" Jaffe could be heard saying.