Published in
The Empire

Occupy Wall Street: Just what Bloomberg doesn't need

Courtesy of the mayors office

WNYC's political analyst Joyce Purnick has a new piece up on our billionaire mayor's predicament with those pesky protesters down in Zuccotti Park. As Purnick points out, Bloomberg might be rethinking that third term right about...now.

The Occupy Wall Street protest is a headache for him. The world is watching and he is the man in charge of the city. If he antagonizes the protesters, he could wind up with a riot on his hands. If he lets them continue to protest, he looks weak and indecisive.

There is no simple solution, as the mayor said himself when he noted recently on his WOR radio show that "it's just not so easy; you can't just walk in and say, 'Hey, you're outta here.' " And even if the city did eject the protesters, he asked, where would they go then, since they do not appear inclined to head home. To Union Square? The Great Lawn in Central Park? The Sheep Meadow?

Of course, this is just another turn in the no-good, rotten, miserable, stupid year for the mayor. From snowstorms to Goldsmithgate, Cathy Black to John Haggerty, the mayor's third term has so far been riddled with embarrassing episodes that question his effectiveness as a mayor.

And now these kids protesting Wall Street.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters live in an alternate universe, which leaves the mayor where no leader wants to be: looking for a way to resolve a very volatile situation that is playing out in the public eye. Maybe he will be lucky and nature โ€” the approach of a New York winter โ€” will help the mayor out.

I'm sure President Lyndon Johnson felt the same way in 1970, but there's nothing that suggests the issues the protesters are raising--income inequality, disillusionment with politics, unemployment--are going away any time soon. Why would the protesters?