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The 'movement' movement

Armstrong Williams | 10/19/2011, 3:04 p.m.

When is a movement not a movement? Has the national Tea Party been elevated beyond just some collection of disgruntled, angry white folks, to hear the liberals describe them? You bet. Are they here to stay? I would wager they are, for quite some time.

But let's turn to another growing faction: the Occupy Wall Street group. These protesters have been gathering every day on Wall Street (and now in other cities) to decry corporate greed and those who are making profits in a sour economy.

Heck, even the usual political ambulance chasers are out in full force. The two reverends-Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton-are kicking themselves they didn't think of this idea first, So they've headed to New York to try and have some of that disgruntled fever rub off on their own eternal pursuits of fame...er, I meant, help for the less fortunate.

But is this "99 percent" who struggles as the economy reels truly a movement? It seems to me it's not, not in the way we'd expect factions to grow and pursue their agendas. For that matter, can anyone tell us what the agenda of these Lower Manhattan protesters is? Are they doing their darndest to make sure that they're not perceived as favoring the left or the right?

Are they protesting the embarrassing economic policies of the Obama administration? Are they asking for a sea change in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives? Are they comprised of, for the most part, former ACORN employees and its CEO?

When the Tea Party made itself known to the political and social landscape in 2009, many Democrats across the nation described them as an unruly and disguised mob, and Republicans certainly praised and embraced them as patriots. Now, where Republicans see an unruly class warfare mob, Democrats describe them as embracing patriotism.

They certainly don't have an organization. Just last week, Big Labor and teachers unions decided to head downtown and check out all the commotion. Has anyone researched deep enough to find out how they are funded? Does anyone know who actually benefits from their protests in the long run?

I haven't really heard of any political demands, let alone any party attacks on Washington. Many aren't even referencing D.C., when it's clear that the real perpetrators of the disdain these folks are feeling are not inside Wall Street, but rather in the halls of Congress.

There is one thing the Occupy Wall Street protesters, the Tea Party and others all have in common: They can't stand the way this government is being run. Now we're seeing that it's not only reflected inside the Beltway, it's leaking all over this nation.

That's why I'm amazed when I hear the likes of President Barack Obama shake his head and seemingly sympathize with the financial haters. He's part of the problem. Throwing away $800 billion of good taxpayer money is not my idea of healing the class warfare rift that he himself relaunched in this country.

Think about it, when Americans struggle and economic problems seem intractable, blame permeates every argument. We need a president who doesn't encourage the blame, but steps in and tries to resolve the problem.

These folks are criticizing everyone from Obama down to the Treasury bureaucrats. If this town doesn't realize that, then Lord help us all. However, I feel it's still too early to call the "occupiers" a movement. Either way, it doesn't help when candidates such as Herman Cain belittle their protests with Antoinette-like dismissals.

These folks are hurting like many Americans. Politicians of any stripe shouldn't insult them any more than they should leverage their disgruntlement to score political points, like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi did over the weekend. It's such weak theater, and coming from an institution that holds just 11 percent of the public's trust, that's downright pathetic.

Armstrong Williams content can be found on RightSideWire.com. He is also the author of the new book "Reawakening Virtues." Listen to him daily on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside.