Monday, March 16, 2009

Populist? How About 'Of, By, and For the People'

In a piece from the NYT:

“There’s unquestionably a strong populist surge out there,” said Joel Benenson, Mr. Obama’s pollster, citing his own polls and focus groups. “It’s been brewing for close to four years. For the last two years, Americans were clearly indicating that they believe that one of the biggest obstacles to progress on America’s toughest challenges — notably health care and energy independence — was the influence of special interests and corporate interests on the agenda in Washington.”

“The change now is you have a free-floating economic anxiety that has expressed itself in a kind of lashing out at those being bailed out and people who are bailing out,” Michael Kazin, a professor at Georgetown University who has written extensively on populism. “There’s not really a sense of what the solution is.” “I do think there’s a potential for a ‘damn everybody in power’ kind of sentiment,” Mr. Kazin said.

Why does the Obama administration think he was elected so resoundingly? The people--forget the 'populist' labeling as if this is some kind of agrarian revolt from the farm--are angry as hell and aren't going to take it anymore from the Wall Street types, the K Street lobbyists, and the bought-off politicians who have been running things.

We're out here beyond the Washington beltway and the island of Manhatten, in the cities and small towns of America, really getting hit hard by the continuing decline of the economy, and to see companies like AIG continuing their shenanigans and their old ways at the same time they are being bailed out by the tax-payers is simply maddening.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is closely tied to the current 'regime' in banking and on Wall Street. It is no secret that the Wall Street crowd were the biggest contributors to his campaign, and Summers and Geithner have been part of the Rubinesque clique for a long time. If there is suspicion about their actions, it is to date their own fault, for failing to separate themselves enough from the perpetrators of the current crisis.

They had better get out in front of this, or they will end up becoming its target. And that would be a tremendous tragedy.

Update: today's news conference by Obama was good, but again, so far it's only rhetoric and words. I would like to see commensurate action.

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