Mayor Bloomberg welcomed the protestors, saying they can stay indefinitely.
President Obama’s Chief of Staff expressed doubts that the protests are helpful to the president:
After the speech, I asked Daley about Occupy Wall Street. Why not? I asked if it was helpful to the White House, in its current jobs bill campaign, to have economic angst protests in dozens of cities.
“I don’t know if it’s helpful,” he said. “I wouldn’t characterize it that way. Look it: People express their opinions. In the new social network world, they can do it pretty effectively outside the normal way, historically, people have done it. So whether it’s helpful to us, or helpful for people to understand in the political system that there are a lot of people out there concerned about the economy — I know the focus is on Wall Street, but it’s a broader discussion that we’re having.” He pointed to Sam Stein, who’d been asking about supercommittee negotiations. “Part of the thing here, about a balanced approach — I think people want to see fairness in the system.”
In other words, as Jonah Goldberg puts it, “Put normal-looking people out front to convince Americans that Occupy Wall Street is something it isn’t.” That’s a nifty piece of snark, but that’s exactly what Democrats have in mind: The sooner they can coopt the movement and turn it from what it is (a grab bag of hard-left/anarchist grievances against capitalism) into what it isn’t (a mainstream union-backed expression of support of Obama’s “tax the rich” agenda), the sooner Daley can pronounce the protests helpful after all. Some Democrats have already begun the process, in fact. Said Louise Slaughter, “It’s time for all Americans to pay their fair share. And I’m so proud to see the Occupy Wall Street movement standing up to this rampant corporate greed and peacefully participating in our democracy.” Is that what the fringe that’s been camping out in the park is all about? People paying their “fair share”? Huh.