The political left has been searching for the last couple of years to find an answer to the tea party. Some hoped last year's rally in Washington led by TV comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, a response to right-wing rallies attended by such conservative media celebrities as Glenn Beck, would spark a national movement. That didn't happen. Now they're pinning their hopes on Occupy Wall Street, which in many ways is a mirror image of the tea party. Both groups are motivated by frustration over the rotten economy and are vague about causes and solutions, though if their positions could be summed up in a one-line manifesto, it might be: The tea party, dominated by elderly conservatives, blames government overspending and overreach for our economic problems and would therefore like to cut federal spending, while Occupy Wall Street, dominated by young liberals, blames corporate greed and would therefore like to tax the rich and decrease corporate political power.
Photos: Protest and parade in downtown Los Angeles
By that measure, the tea party has been a phenomenal success. Republican voters turned out in big numbers in the 2010 elections while the Democratic vote was depressed, leading to the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. A Gallup poll last week found Democratic enthusiasm for voting in 2012 is at its lowest level in a decade, trailing Republicans' net enthusiasm by 27%. No one can say whether Occupy Wall Street will change that. But it would be a mistake to write off the movement before it gets started.