Permit me to be the first to call the President’s bluff.
This Politico story has been making the rounds – see here and here and here and shoot, Memeorandum in general – and it’s mostly because of the passage below, in response over attempts to explain salary bonuses:
But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
Oh, I know that Americans are “outraged” over this issue: Gallup told us so, after all. Gallup also told us that there’s no consensus on how to get that money back, not to mention the fact that the Democratic Congress got almost a low a grade on how they handled this as AIG did. Which is fair, because it’s because of the Democrats – and President Obama – that those bonuses were distributed in the first place. Still, you can look at that and at Rasmussen and conclude that the American people want the money given back. Fine.
But here’s the thing about the ‘pitchforks:’ they’re not being waved around because of the AIG bonuses. We’ve already established that the Democrats’ pet faux-populists tried their level best to gin up some faux-populism over this issue, and they failed. Miserably. Oh, sure, you got the usual death threats from the Angry Left… but there is an actual populist movement growing out there, and they are a lot more vocal about out-of-control government spending than they are about corporate bonuses. This was actually brought up at the time by the actual populists themselves, but it was unaccountably not covered. Just like the entire Tea Party movement in general, really. You know, the one that’s scheduled its next big series of demonstrations for Income Tax Day… which should tell you everything that you would need to know about the real focus of the actually-expressed outrage of the American people right now.
So, I guess this leads to the next question, Mr. President. You say that there are pitchforks out there, and maybe there are. But are you really standing between them and the bankers?
Or are you trying to get the bankers to stand between them and you?