A Coming Populist Revolt?

In addition to the economic crisis, the White House is now facing a growing storm along the lines of a crisis in confidence. The New York Times reports this morning that the administration is "increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street" that, if successful, could hinder President Obama's agenda. "There's a lot of anger about the irresponsibility that led us to this point. This has been welling up for a long time," senior adviser David Axelrod said. With PR disasters sprouting up every week—like AIG using bailout funds to pay for executive bonuses—there is also the question of whether Obama's notorious "cool style," as the Times puts it, "will prove effective when the country may be feeling more emotional." As Obama's pollster explained: "There's unquestionably a strong populist surge out there. It's been brewing for close to four years."