AIR FORCE ONE, 11/15/11: Expressing unequivocal support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, President Obama today declared:
“I want to be very clear in calling upon the local authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors. Americans have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.”
Awesome. We would have expected nothing less from the former community organizer, the supporter of the little man, our Change agent. How rewarding that, in spite of the absolutely gobsmacking amount of dollars he’s raised from Wall Street insiders, he would still find the courage to stand up for the Constitution, the 99 percent of Americans, and make it clear that…
Oh, wait. No. My bad.
Because on the 15th, AP in fact reported that:
“President Barack Obama’s spokesman is suggesting the president believes it’s up to New York and other municipalities to decide how much force to use in dealing with Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.”
The original quote was all about Egypt and was from January this year. Totally different, I guess.
See, if you’re a protestor decrying a corrupt, entrenched regime of oligarchs, then the President of the United States totally has your back. Provided you live in Egypt. Yay! for the leader of the free world and all that. But if you’re one of his own constituents living in the United States decrying a corrupt, entrenched regime of oligarchs? Eh, not so much. And if the Mayor of Oakland decides to waterboard your sorry ass? Well, that’s her choice, isn’t it. And if his old gofling buddy, Bloomberg, decides to once again send in his storm troopers because his friends in the One Percent Club are getting a wee bit miffed about the rabble of rowdy rebels outside their corner office, well, tough.
Now, shortly before Tahir Square and the Egyptian Revolution, Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had gushingly declared that she considered Egyptian dictator-for-life, Hosni Mubarak “family.” So, while things can change pretty fast in the world of realpolitik and strategic allegiances, I somehow can’t see Obama turning his back on Bloomberg and all his friends on Wall Street in order to stand up for the average American. But of course, in less than a year, he’ll be on the campaign trail letting us all know how he really wants to change everything and make it all better for all of us if we’ll just re-elect him for four more years. Actually, I take that back: he’s already doing what he does best — talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time — and claiming to be the protestors’ BFF:
Obama said the most important thing he can do as president is express solidarity with the protesters and redouble his commitment to achieving what he described as a more egalitarian society. “The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side.”
Biden and other leading D’s have pulled the same stunt over the past few weeks, condescendingly declaring that they undertand the pain of the little man, that this is all so sad, so sad. And those are certainly lovely sentiments, Mr. President (and a tasty little soundbite to perfect in time for the endless ’12 campaign spots). Heck, if you genuinely gave a shit it might even be made to sound sincere.
Update: The New Yorker’s John Cassidy tries his best to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, writes a new script for him, ruffles his hair, broadens his populist smile, paints him in the best possible light — and yet still fails to mitigate the impression of Obama as loyal to the One Percent above all else.