Even if Obama's populism (as represented by the bank tax) is a faux populism, at least it is the right kind of faux populism.

The wrong kind of faux populism, for those of you keeping track of these things, is the cynical faux populism of the current far and Christian right, which is rooted in a disdain for what are actually the bedrock American ideals and institutions such as individual equality, free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to privacy. They are willing to use cynical ploys to gain support for attacks on what they really despise, which is diversity, complexity, intellectualism, environmentalism, and other such suspicious elements of an advanced liberal democracy. This is the type of faux populist who pretends to be shrinking government for the little people by cutting taxes on the rich or simply lifting government oversight over the full array of rapacious capitalist fat cats.

But the new Obama faux populism that results in a tax on the biggest banks to raise money? Hard to complain about any aspect of that. I suspect he deliberately waited to push this line until the health care bill passed, a salve for the wounds of the outraged faux populists who somehow think continuing the exclusion of pre-existing conditions is a contemporary Battle of Saratoga or something.

And the tax is brilliant politics too. I especially relish seeing corporate America's lackeys try to explain voting against it in an election year.


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