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The Nation: Occupy The Tea Party's Mind

A selection of pins are shown at the 'Occupy Wall Street' protest in New York on Nov. 8, 2011. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

A selection of pins are shown at the 'Occupy Wall Street' protest in New York on Nov. 8, 2011.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Ben Adler reports on Republican and conservative politics and media for The Nation as a Contributing Writer.

The schedule at the Defending the American Dream Summit, a conference of thousands at the Washington, DC, convention center on Friday and Saturday, said nothing about Occupy Wall Street. The event, organized by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a fiscally conservative activist organization, had a series of issue and skills-building panels, a few keynote speeches by conservative celebrities and a "Cut Spending Now Rally."

But OWS was a phantom presence. Nearly every speaker mentioned the Occupy movement, invariably to vilify it. Conservative propagandists such as National Review's Jonah Goldberg and web activist Andrew Breitbart tried to mock and dismiss the Occupy activists with bluster and bravado. They alternated between haughty derision and panicked fear-mongering. They all insisted that their side is winning and Occupy will be surely self-defeating. But their constant obsession with Occupy suggests they doth protest a bit too much.

The New Yorker reported last week that some Occupy Wall Street activists think the Tea Party is as legitimate a movement as their own, and one they should seek to work with. The feeling is not mutual.

The descriptions on Occupy Wall Street broke down into several, sometimes somewhat conflicting categories:

They are really mad at President Obama. "The community is organizing against the community organizer," cracked Andrew Breitbart.

They were inspired by Obama and other Democrats, so anything they do can be blamed on Obama and his party. "They would not be organizing if they were not blessed by Nancy Pelosi and organized by Obama," said Breitbart. "Occupy Wall Street is the direct result of Barack Obama's relentless class warfare that he's been practicing since he was a candidate," said Rudy Giuliani. "I believe that Barack Obama owns the Occupy Wall Street movement. It would not have happened but for his class warfare. He praised it, supported it, agrees with it, sympathized with it. As it gets worse and worse it will be the millstone that takes his presidency down."

They are a bunch of lazy hippies. "I'm happier than a hippie in Zuccotti Park on free hash brownie day," joked Jonah Goldberg, who apparently moonlights as a Borscht Belt comedian. "How about you occupy a job?" Giuliani rhetorically asked the protesters. "How about working? I know that's tough. Woodstock is more fun. How about proceeding with your education? Nah, they'd rather do Woodstock in Manhattan, which is what it's turned into."

(Giuliani must be unaware of the widely reported fact that many of the protesters hold a bachelor's or even master's degrees, and it is because they cannot find work to pay off their student loans that they are protesting.)

Continue reading at The Nation.