Republicans initially overreacted, as if Karl Marx had risen from the grave. Mitt Romney was so flustered that he almost mussed his hair. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, surveying the small protest encampments in New York and other cities, called them “growing mobs” that threatened public order.
Within a week, however, Cantor was backing away from that “mobs” characterization and acknowledging “a growing frustration out there across this country” about unemployment. I’m guessing he must have seen the Time magazine poll indicating that 54 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Occupy New York protest — versus just 27 percent who have a favorable view of the Tea Party.
This week’s New Yorker has a laugh-out-loud cover illustration: Top-hatted bankers march down Wall Street, carrying protest signs that say “Keep Things Precisely As They Are,” “Leave Well Enough Alone” and “I’m Good, Thanks.” That’s the danger for Republican candidates. That’s what they risk sounding like.