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Obama and Populism


I could believe President Obama’s postmortem take that the same populist sentiment that propelled Scott Brown to office also earlier sent him to the White House – if we saw fresh liberal Democrats winning seats in places like Alabama against entrenched Washington Republican insiders. But I don’t think that is happening quite yet.

The populist anger that, in sequential fashion, accounted for Bush’s drop in the polls, Republicans’ loss of majority status in Congress, and Obama’s winning the presidency, was predicated on unhappiness with the war, out-of-control federal spending and deficits, congressional corruption, and Wall Street.

Obama & Co., however, have trumped Bush on most of those counts: They have quadrupled the deficit; Geithner, Dodd, and Rangel have shown an even more cavalier attitude toward the law than certain congressional Republicans did; and Obama has surpassed Bush in bailouts and guarantees to the big banks.

In short, I don’t think those who are angry about out-of-control federal spending and the proposed government takeover of health care see Obama as a fellow traveler.


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