Pundits, pols weigh in on Occupy Wall Street movement

Schieffer: Who encouraged them?

Cain: We know that the unions and certain union related organizations have been behind these protests that are going on on Wall Street and other parts around the country. It's coordinated. To create a distraction so people won't focus on the failed policies of this administration.

Schieffer: And why is that anti-American?

Cain: It's anti-American because to protest Wall Street and the bankers is basically saying that you're anti-capitalism. The free market system and capitalism are the two things that have allowed this nation and this economy to become the biggest in the world. Even though we have our challenges, I believe the protests are more anti-capitalism and anti-free market than anything else.

Cain also said last week that even though it's harder to get a job than at any time in recent history, the protesters are simply jealous of those already have work. Bob Schieffer asked Newt Gingrich, sitting next to Cain, if he believed that.

Gingrich: Well I'm not even sure that the people actually protesting..look, there are a lot of people in America angry. I was with 35 realtors in Buford, South Carolina on Wednesday who are looking at a disaster in housing but they know that it's the Dodd-Frank bill, it's the Obama administration, it's Bernanke and Geithner and they're focusing their anger on the people who are causing them pain. They're not angry about other people being successful, they're angry about an Obama administration stopping them from having the chance to be successful.

Over at Fox News Sunday, the panel hosted by Chris Wallace offered their own thoughts, beginning with
Brit Hume, who said it was too soon to know what the Occupy Wall Street movement truly meant yet.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: ..But I would say this: I think it's risky for Democratic politicians to align themselves closely with this movement, because I think although it has something in common with the Tea Party movement, which proved to be a political force in the sense that both groups objected these big bailouts, but I think that it's a different type of demonstration that we are seeing.

This group, for example — one of the offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street was here in Washington yesterday and got into a scuffle outside the Air and Space Museum with the authorities and they had to shut the place down. That is the kind of thing that most Americans will take a dim view of. And if that becomes — if there's more of that — there has been some disruption, some sanitation issues in New York. This is the kind of thing that will turn ordinary voters off, and therefore is why I say it's perilous for the Democrats in Congress and elsewhere to align themselves with this movement.

The other pure conservative on the panel, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, was asked to react to perhaps the strongest denunciation of the protests by a mainstream Republican -- that being House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's statement on Friday that the protests are bad for America because they are pitting fellow countrymen against each other. Kristol said essentially that wasn't a great thing to say, but then took the Rush Limbaugh line that liberals, after condemning the Tea Party, are now jealous of the power that group has had in the country, and they now want their own version.

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think Republicans should be quiet. I mean, these are demonstrations against the party in power, which last I looked, was the Obama administration. They hate the current regulation of Wall Street which is being governed by a law called Dodd-Frank. Last I looked, Dodd was a Democratic senator and Frank was a Democratic congressman.

Wall Street is represented by a Democratic congressman, Jerrold Nadler. So I'd say Republicans and conservatives should step aside and let the left fight this out. I mean, who knew the left was suffering from such Tea Party envy? That's what strikes me.

They want their own Tea Party. You read these leftist columnists, they need the energy.

Weren't we being told a year ago or even a few months ago that the Tea Party was the worst thing that could have happened to the Republican Party, it's a bunch of extremists, it's going to destroy the Republican Party? And now they realize that, because the Tea Party strengthened conservatism, and they wish they had their own version of it.

But, what did the Tea Party do? This is A.B. — what did the Tea Party actually do in 2009 and 2010? They defeated a whole bunch of Republicans in primaries, right? They elected people, or, in some cases, defeated people that didn't win in the general.

They had real electoral clout. And if I were running Occupy Wall Street, they need to defeat. They need to defeat Senator Gillibrand in the Democratic primary in New York, or Congressman Nadler in the Democratic primary in lower Manhattan, or someone.

Although the mainstream media is now particularly fascinated with the Occupy Wall Street movement happening in their backyard in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, the demonstrations have become a nationwide event over the past week, with similar rallies held in Tampa, Sarasota and in most other states of our union (those demonstrations continued in Tampa over the week).

The Sunday morning television programs had their paid analysts weigh in on the subject, as did a few GOP candidates.

None of those candidates have been more mean-spirited about the protests than the current flavor of the month, Herman Cain, who appeared on CNN and CBS's Face the Nation, where he told a somewhat incredulous Bob Schieffer that the movement is simply a tool of unions, and that they are un-American.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]