John Cassidy in The New Yorker:
If Obama had wanted to comment on the breaking up of a protest that has drawn worldwide attention (and why wouldn’t he?), … he could have ambled back to the pool reporters who fly in the rear of Air Force One. And what might he have said? How about something like this:
Hi everybody. Before we arrive, I just wanted to say that I saw what happened in New York this morning and give you my reaction. As I said shortly after the Occupy Wall Street protest began, I think it expresses the frustrations that many ordinary Americans feel. The demonstrators in New York and other cities are giving voice to a broad-based anger and frustration. We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, with huge collateral damage throughout the country, and yet some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly are still fighting efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this mess in the first place.
Second, I think the protestors have performed a valuable public service by raising two issues we have neglected for too long: the sharp rise in income and wealth inequality, and the corrosive role that money plays in American politics. When the protestors say that rich people need to pay their fair share of taxes, and that we in Washington often pay too much attention to the wishes of Wall Street and other powerful interest groups, and too little attention to the interests of middle-class families, they are only stating what most Americans know to be true. Indeed, the money problem is getting worse. Under a recent ruling from the Supreme Court, corporations and billionaires can make unlimited contributions to political parties. Some of them, as you know, are already financing ads aimed at me and my policies.
Third, as a former lecturer on Constitutional Law, I have a great appreciation for the rights afforded Americans under the First Amendment, which includes freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but also the right to peaceably assemble.