Hoping that the movement can become their Tea Party, Democrats are lining up to identify with Occupy Wall Street. But like Republicans in the early days of the Tea Party, they are not quite sure how to harness the anger and energy on display in New York and smaller encampments around the country.

U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, whose raised a soo or two from Wall Street, defended the protesters’ right to continue demonstrating in New York, but he was careful to add that he found reasonable Mayor Bloomberg’s eviction for cleaning and his ban on the occupiers returning with tents and sleeping bags.

“The movement will continue,” Larson told The Hill. “They’re still going to be able to go there. It’s just that there were some health issue and concerns of deterioration to the park, which is certainly not the goal [of the protests].”

Other congressional Democrats polled by The Hill were more critical of Bloomberg.

And Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote “Nickel and Dimed,” a book chronicling the struggles of the working class, has denounced President Obama and other Democrats for not forcefully speaking out against the evictions in Zuccotti Park.

“One of the appalling things here is that there are so many Democratic mayors involved in these crackdowns or in Bloomberg’s case, someone who is seen as a liberal,” Ehrenreich told The Guardian in a telephone interview. “And where in all this was Obama? Why couldn’t he have picked up the phone at some point a couple of weeks ago and called the mayors of Portland and Oakland and said: ‘go easy on these people. They represent the anger and aspirations of the majority’. Would that have been so difficult?”

Meanwhile, the Occupy Hartford folks are maintaining their small encampment at Broad and Farmington with the blessing and/or tolerance of city officials.

They are planning a protest for Nov. 19 outside CL&P in Hartford, apparently an effort to use anger over the power outage to raise broader concerns about corporate profits.

One continuing challenge for Republicans is how to get Tea Party activists, who will march on the state Capitol for tax protests, to sign up for the grunt work of campaigns. Will Democrats have better luck with Occupy?

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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