CHICAGO — October 18, 2011 – Since the Occupy Wall Street protests began last month, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and other prominent Democrats have attempted to hitch their wagons to the boisterous left-leaning protest train.
The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee even circulated a petition a week ago asking 100,000 supporters to declare, “I stand with the Occupy Wall Street protests.”
But even as the Occupy Wall Street protest demonstrations continue, a new poll finds that more Americans blame Washington for the country’s economic and unemployment woes than Wall Street.
According to a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll
taken last weekend, 78% of Americans hold Wall Street at least partially responsible for the bad economy; 87% say it is the government’s fault.
Tea Party Member and Occupy Wall Street participant
The implication of the poll is clear: Americans are fed-up. The Financial Collapse of 2008 has remained in the public’s memory, kept alive by anger over taxpayer-funded financial bailouts of Wall Street titans, Democrat efforts to block reform of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the subsequent bailout of those institutions, President Obama’s auto industry bailouts, and his massive $825 billion stimulus program that has failed to result in any significant jobs.
But Americans are also angry about the collusion between the federal government and Wall Street, symbolized on the political right in the form of the Tea Party Movement and, at least for now, on the political left in the fledgling demonstrations of Occupy Wall Street.
Reacting to the pressure, the President says he recognizes the frustration of the Tea Party Movement and Occupy Wall Street protesters. “I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests [Occupy Wall Street],” said President Obama to ABC News Correspondent Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Tuesday evening
Occupy protesters dressed as zombies.
“In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them,” he said
With criticism of his Administration mounting, President Obama seems caught in the middle of a delicate but volatile balancing act: Will Obama continue to embrace the Occupy protesters and their anti-capitalist message, which has been plagued with incidents of violence and anti-Semitism? If so, how will Main Street react? Will Occupy Wall Street organizers fall in step behind traditional Democrat activists and support the President’s re-election campaign? Will protesters overlook Obama’s own ties to Wall Street titans, like Goldman Sachs
which gave more than $994,000 to his presidential campaign committee in PAC and individual contributions in 2007 and 2008? Will Occupy Wall Street even last another month?
And what will be the Tea Party Movement’s impact?
Although both protests movements are an outgrowth of public frustration and anger over financial bailouts for the politically privileged, the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements view each other with suspicion. In particular, Tea Party leaders flinch at any attempted comparison of itself with the grungy far left-leaning demonstrators.
Boston Tea Party by Currier and Ives
“The Occupy Wall Street protests do not have anything in common with the Tea Party,” said Joe Terrell of the Northern Illinois Tea Party. “We are about constitutionally limited government, fiscal and personal responsibility, and free markets. The so-called ‘demands’ made by the Occupy movement are unrealistic, socialist, and completely contrary to the Tea Party principles.”
Apparently, the feeling is mutual. “The Tea Party is racist,” said an Occupy protester when Rockford Tea Party activists arrived for a counter-protest in front of Chase Bank in Illinois last weekend. “They’re lucky someone doesn’t go over there and beat them up,” he said.
However, competing political interests do not have to like or trust one another to have an influence. Yet the presence of two potentially powerful protest movements in one election cycle spells double trouble for President Obama regardless of which way the political winds blow.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.