Most Americans, per the AP-GfK poll released last week, don’t approve of the so-called “leaderless” movement “protesting” the “greed and corruption” of Wall Street, banks and multinational corporations, etc. Overall, 56 percent of the people surveyed said they did not support the protests, while only 37 percent backed the occupiers.
Even more telling, most of the protest backers “are more likely to approve of President Barack Obama and more likely to disapprove of Congress than are people who don’t support the demonstrations,” the Associated Press said in reporting on its AP-GfK poll released last week.
Nor do most of the protest supporters blame Obama for the economic mess. Instead, 68 percent said President George W. Bush should get “almost all” or “a lot but not all” of the blame — versus only 15 percent saying that about Obama. And nearly 60 percent of the protest supporters, naturally, blame Republicans in Congress for our economic problems.
This is a familiar refrain from Democrats, but can they use it effectively as ammunition in the coming elections? Another related question is: how long will mayors and other elected officials continue to tolerate the camping out in public places (and a private park in Manhattan) and all the mess and problems generated by the Occupiers?
New Yorkers living near the occupied Zuccotti Park last week complained about “protesters” messing in the streets and beating drums during the night. At a community board meeting, member Catherine Hughes said, “They’re defecating on our doorsteps.” Some neighbors wanted the crowd to leave the park, not surprisingly, but the board chickened out with a unanimous resolution recognizing the free speech rights of the “protesters” and calling for “a crackdown on noise and public urination and defecation,” the Associated Press reported.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained about how hard it was to negotiate with the leaderless bunch. He said on WOR Radio, “It’s a little bit complicated by there’s nobody to work it out with.” He doesn’t want to crack down on the campers, defecating or not, because he doesn’t know where it will lead.
In Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed has been trying to cope with the Woodruff Park occupiers and has set a Nov. 7 deadline for them to clear out, according to news reports. But what happens if they don’t leave? Can they create a video confrontation with police? That could result in use of police force, even in defense, providing invaluable video footage to excite more “protesters.”
As Mayor Reed pointed out earlier, arresting large numbers of people creates big problems of where to put them. Meanwhile, the “protests” drag on, the costs to maintain porta-johns and police the camps keep mounting.
There is no end in sight, but maybe some really cold weather will chill this movement.