You can expect lots and lots of this in months to come. Here's National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, telling Obama not to get all populist. The only evidence he offers is that Obama's approval is really low right now, in contrast to when he was running for president and had the support of lots of independents. I assume I don't have to bother refuting that. But here's my favorite part:
Listen to Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who maxed out to Obama's 2008 campaign and is a reliable contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. "Someone needs to talk our president down off of this rhetoric about good vs. evil; about two classes and math," Leonsis wrote on his blog.
Indeed, what more evidence do you need than the opinion of a billionaire who owns three sports teams and recently bought a 20,000-square-foot house for $20 million? He's the guy to ask if you want to know how populism will play with the regular folk! Egad -- did Kraushaar not realize how stupid that would sound when he wrote it?
Look, the data on this couldn't be clearer: Populism is a winner. You may think that's an awful thing, or it's a terrific thing, but it's the truth. Enormous majorities of the public think the rich ought to pay more in taxes (see here for some details). Kraushaar acknowledges this, then says, "The fact that moderate congressional Democrats have been keeping an arm's-length distance from the proposal is more telling about [Obama's jobs plan]'s popularity than polls testing different arguments, without context." Really? The opinions of a few conservative Democrats in Congress, who are constantly pressured to distance themselves from anything the Democratic Party supports, tells you more about the popularity of the plan than national surveys? That's the kind of thing you argue when the actual evidence doesn't support the gut feeling you have.
As I said, if Obama keeps this tone up, we're going to see a lot of this -- pundits saying that this kind of unseemly class warfare isn't just morally wrong but can't possibly work. Except it can, and usually does.