Occupy Could Sink Obama's Reelection

By Franklin Foer, The New Republic - October 21, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is a carnival. Both detractors and supporters say so. The most amusing part of the show is watching the rush to join it. When Deepak Chopra and Suze Orman endorse the cause, you have to wonder about its revolutionary bona fides. Democrats have also flung themselves in the direction of Zuccotti Park—but in their pursuit of the movement they may damage themselves and hinder the protests’ potential to do tangible good.

The catastrophic misdeeds of bankers should have been political gold for Democrats—the strongest case for a robust regulatory state one could make; an opportunity to corner Republicans into defending banks that have inflicted so much misery. But the Democrats’—or rather Obama’s—strategy strangely didn’t point in that direction. At best, we can describe Dodd-Frank as a marginal step in the direction of reform. And in the course of the ongoing battle over implementing the law, the legislation will likely be reduced to a marginal half step. When the Obama administration whispered that it had some qualms with Wall Street’s behavior, the bankers acted as if they were being led to the gallows—a response that spooked the administration into refraining from any further forays into populist rhetoric and provoked it to send envoy Valerie Jarrett on peace-making missions to Wall Street. It is, indeed, maddening enough to make you rush to the barricades.

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