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The Wall Street Journal writes today about how the tea party movement might be turning on Wall Street. I don't really believe it, but I'm excited by the possibility. Could the tea party guys actually be legitimate? Well, there is one way they can prove it.

I've made a lot of fun of the tea party people on our show. The main reason is that I think they're being led around the nose by corporate interests while mistakenly believing they're fighting the powers that be. They're being used as tools by the same exact people they think they are battling against, i.e. the elites that screw over the little guy.

But now, I'd like to change course and welcome them in. I believe portions of the movement are redeemable (we'll find out soon enough if I'm smoking crack on this one). Yes, some of them are full-blown crazy with their birther theories and lunatic signs about holocausts and fascism. A lot of them are actually mad because they think they have lost their privileged position in the country (hence, the cries of "I want my country back"). But many of them are populists that have simply been led in the wrong direction.

I'm going to be so bold as to say they can work with us. And we can work with them. But they have to do something first -- prove they are not tools of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country. Fight the banks!

See, here's my theory. The people who fund the tea-parties (their buses, websites, signs and yes even their donuts) have absolutely no interest in fighting the banks. They have no interest in pointing out that the banks took massive amount of taxpayer money through TARP, AIG backdoor bailouts and secret Fed loans. When it comes to protecting health care companies, they're in. When it comes to fighting the government if it tries to help the poor and middle class, they're in. But if you challenge corporate America, they're out, way out. No interest.

But those are the right-wing groups funding these efforts, not the actual people in the protests. The right-wing groups are not redeemable. And the tea party protestors can mark my words. Those conservative organizations will never lead a protest of the big banks that took government money. You watch. And when you see I'm right, then see if you're ready to answer my challenge.

I issue a challenge to the tea-party movement. If you're true to your word, and you believe in protecting the American people and principles, and you think government is too big and hands out money to the wrong people, then join us in fighting against the biggest giveaway to biggest culprits. Fight the power of the banks with us.

Don't listen to your leaders that tell you that liberals aren't capitalists. That's nonsense. We're the real capitalists. Just like you, we don't think the government should be in the business of handing out taxpayer money to people who didn't earn it. And if you're against handing out government money, you certainly have to be against giving that money to the richest people in the country and the ones that caused the economic collapse in the first place. You're not a sucker, are you? Why would you want to give away your money to those people?

The bank executives who are responsible for our terrible recession are about to walk away with record setting bonuses. Where did they get that money in these tough economic times? From you! They picked your pocket.

You know who helped them do it? George W. Bush and Hank Paulson. But also Tim Geithner and Barack Obama. I told you we agreed. See, I wasn't kidding. Hey, why don't you ask your organizers who have been so busy protecting private insurance companies how come they never organize any protests against Tim Geithner? Wouldn't he be a natural target as the Treasury Secretary when the economy is in recession and the banks are getting away with billions? Have you ever wondered why those well-funded tea party organization websites never have buses going to protest at Wall Street or the Treasury Department?

Join us. We can build a real populist movement that isn't funded by corporate America. That actually cares about the American people and throws the crooks out on their ass. That fights the elites who have captured the government and turned it into their own private piggy bank.

Or don't join us, just as long as you fight in the right direction. Prove you're legit. Fight against the banks that are about to take all of our money home in bonuses for themselves. You fight them from the right. We'll fight them from the left. And we'll meet you in the middle. The real middle of the country that is tired of being run over by the big and powerful interests in Washington and Wall Street.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Originally posted to Cenk Uygur on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM PST.

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