Occupy Wall Street protesters are ‘conservatives, they just don’t know it,’ says AEI

Exactly one month after the Occupy Wall Street protests began in Zuccotti Park, the American Enterprise Institute released a video by think tank staffers who observed the protest and concluded that the Occupy Wall Street protesters “a bunch of people that are conservatives, they just don’t know it.”

Most conservative organizations and media outlets, however, have denounced the protesters.

Eric Teetsel, program manager of AEI’s Values and Capitalism Project, said the goal of the visit was “to get past the rhetoric and just sort through what is it that is driving these people--what are they animated by?”

The AEI team’s evidence that the protesters are conservatives seems to rely on one individual, Edward T. Hall, III, who made arguments for states’ rights in areas like education and healthcare because “the federal government will never be good enough...”

Hall was part of the so-called “soft drink summit” that put him and Jimmy Vivona, 40, a stock broker, at a table to discuss the two sides of the debate.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at governmentality.net and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

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