Saturday, April 18, 2009

Republicans Have a Chance: The Populist Opening

"But in that same poll, 58 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the administration's plans to provide financial aid to the banks. In other words: Maybe this is necessary, but we don't like it. Among self-described independent voters, 68 percent disapproved of how the administration was bailing out the banks.

I dwell on this one question buried deep inside one poll because I think it contains a quiet warning -- the same message that could be discerned amid the random noise of the Howard Beale shoutfests. When the economy begins to rebound, Wall Street will come back first -- already, we're seeing some big banks, still bloated with taxpayer funds, reporting healthy profits. After recovery begins, unemployment will almost certainly continue to rise for months until it hits its peak. The mad-as-hell faction may thrive and multiply.

A growing sense of us vs. them, of the little guy vs. the big guy, is out there waiting to be exploited by anyone clever enough to fashion a sophisticated populist critique of the Obama administration's policies. I know it seems crazy to use words like "clever" and "sophisticated" in connection with today's Republican Party, but stranger things have happened."
columnist Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post

"I think Democrats need to be careful not to turn their backs on what could become a dangerous conflagration: a grassroots populist backlash fueled by the perception -- one based on a lot of reality -- that the Obama economic team is treating Wall Street with kid gloves, and acting as if the interests of the big banks are aligned with the public interest, even though again and again we are presented with evidence of how much they diverge." - Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post

"I‘ve got some issues with the middle class and the wage earners who I think are getting a raw deal in this economic recovery.

Now, look, you know I‘m a fan of the president. He says we‘re in this together. I got all that.

But Mr. President, please listen tonight. There is a double standard between what‘s going on, on Wall Street, and what‘s happening on Main Street, and it‘s all about the money"
Ed Schultz on his new show, "The Ed Show" which airs every weekday at 6:00 PM ET.

To date they largely haven't taken it. They turned against TARP, which is very unpopular but they also hammered away at the aid to the automakers, depriving them of a chance at winning the union worker to their side. Nevertheless, labor turnout might go down, costing Obama several Congressional seats if he is perceived as helping Wall Street while leaving Detroit to fend for itself.

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