“Their chief target is Wall Street, but many of the demonstrators in New York and across the U.S. also are thoroughly disgusted with Washington, blaming politicians of both major parties for policies they say protect corporate America at the expense of the middle class.

“‘At this point I don’t see any difference between George Bush and Obama. The middle class is a lot worse than when Obama was elected,’ said John Penley, an unemployed legal worker from Brooklyn…

“But while tea party activists eventually became a crucial part of the Republican coalition, the Occupy Wall Street protesters are cutting President Barack Obama little slack. They say Obama failed to crack down on the banks after the 2008 mortgage meltdown and financial crisis.

‘”He could have taken a much more populist, aggressive stance at the beginning against Wall Street bonuses, and exacting certain change from bailing out the banks,’ said Michael Kazin, a Georgetown University history professor and author of ‘American Dreamers,’ a history of the left. ‘But ultimately, the economy has not gotten much better, and that’s underscored the frustration on both the right and the left.'”

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“Anti-Wall Street protesters marched past the gates of the White House on Thursday, bringing their message of economic injustice to the capital and posing an opportunity, but also a threat, to President Obama, who presents himself as a fervent defender of the middle class.

“Brandishing placards that said ‘No More Wall Street White House’ and chanting ‘Shame! Shame!’ the crowd took aim at the president, even if it saved most of its vitriol for the nearby headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — or as one banner labeled it, ‘Chamber of Corporate Horrors.’…

“‘There’s a lot of discontent with Obama’s policies,’ said Kevin Zeese, an organizer of the protest, which drew about 500 people. ‘Obama is out of touch. He’s busy going around the country raising $1 billion to run for re-election.’…

“‘With the people he put in, Goldman Sachs basically occupies the White House,’ said one of the protesters, Bill Brunot, 60, a mechanical engineer from Winchester, Va. ‘We got sold out; the banks got bailed out.'”

***

“Senate Democrats, in interviews today with National Review Online, roundly praised the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), for example, identified himself as an ally of the cause. ‘I’m very, very understanding of where they’re coming from,’ he said. ‘I think there’s a lot of frustration and a lot of anger, and I’d been sort of anticipating that before long, people were going to start demonstrating it in various ways.’…

“Sen. Bob Casey (D., Penn.) went a step further, telling NRO that the message from the rowdy rallies echoes the concerns of Pennsylvanians. ‘They’re a substantial demonstration of real frustration and anxiety that people feel across the country, and I think it’s consistent with a lot of what I hear back in Pennsylvania, especially when we were more on the ground in August, when people said to me two things: Do something about jobs and work to get something done.'”

***

“The spreading protests against Wall Street show that the American people are angry about worsening economic disparities, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

“‘Let’s be honest with each other. What is the core of that protest? The core is the bargain has been breached with the American people. The American people do not think the system is fair,’ Biden told the Washington Ideas Forum…

“Biden also said that ‘banks are part of the problem in the economy.'”

***

“During a press conference Thursday afternoon, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi praised those participating in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests. ‘God bless them,’ Pelosi said, ‘for their spontaneity. It’s independent … it’s young, it’s spontaneous, and it’s focused. And it’s going to be effective.’

“‘The message of the protesters is a message for the establishment everyplace,’ said the House Democrats’ leader. ‘No longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street.’…

“When the Tea Party movement emerged in 2009, then-Speaker of the House Pelosi called them ‘astroturf’ and ‘un-American’ people who were “carrying swastikas.'”

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Via the New Editor.