In an interview with ABC News, President Obama dared to compare the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as populist movements that reflect the public’s alienation from and frustration with the government.
“I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama said. “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.”
It was a clever thing to say, because it places Obama in the political middle, between the protest movements of the far right and the far left. That’s exactly where he wants to be, a year away from his next election. It only helps him that both groups have reacted with revulsion to his comparison. Although both are protest movements inspired by outrage at the Wall Street bailouts, each considers the other a gang of radical troublemakers.
Rep. Joe Walsh, whose disdain for Obama runs the deepest shade, issued a press release defending the Tea Partiers against such an invidious comparison. Occupy Wall Street, he wrote, is simultaneously funded by elites and socialistic. That makes no sense, but Walsh never allows logic to get in the way of his demagoguery. The Tea Party, on the other hand, is a grass-roots movement of patriots trying to restore America to its founding values:
President Obama, you are dead wrong when you try to compare the Wall Street protests of the past few weeks with the now almost four-year-old tea party movement. The tea party movement is an organic, bottom up movement of millions of Americans who are upset with how big government is getting and how we’re bankrupting future generations. These Wall Street protests are top down, well funded, and coordinated efforts by very leftist individuals to protest and disrupt commerce and advocate for more and bigger government.
I won’t speak for the Occupy Wall Street protestors - their goal seems to be to trash parks and sidewalks and add to local taxpayer’s bills. But, I will speak for tea party folks. When you say that these folks feel separated from their government, you are either purposely misrepresenting them or you really don’t understand American history. Tea party folks feel suffocated by their government. They want government off their backs. Your policy of over regulating, over taxing, and over spending is killing the private economy and saddling future generations with an unforgivable debt.
President Obama, you don’t understand what makes this country great and your support for the Occupy Wall Street crowd only reinforces how out of touch you are. That crowd only wants to cause disruption. They aren’t serious about what’s best for this country and the vast majority of Americans will ignore their socialistic ideas. By coordinating your message with theirs, you once again are playing politics and not being straight with the American people. Thankfully, most voters now understand your aims.
That statement plays right into the president’s hands. When the nation’s two leading protest movements are calling each other un-American, sitting between looks very American indeed.