Mr. Populist?

By STEVEN STARK  |  March 25, 2009

There is precedent for Obama to handle this challenge effectively. Patrician Franklin Roosevelt faced a similar dilemma and managed it successfully: the more socially oriented "Second New Deal" at the end of his first term was an effort, in part, to co-opt the populist threat. But FDR was also helped greatly by the fact that his greatest populist antagonist, Louisiana's Huey Long, was assassinated in 1935 — before FDR faced re-election.

Obama has a long road ahead of him, with many challenges to come. This is just another, but it is a key one. Whether our anything-but-populist president can handle the current populist fervor may well determine if he can ultimately claim success at his job. And, not coincidentally, get re-elected to it.

To read the "Stark Ravings" blog, go to Steven Stark can be reached at

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, Ronald Reagan was said to have stood up against a Democrat-controlled Congress whereas it should have read a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The correction has been made above.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: A meme deferred, Revenge of the nerds, Nice package, More more >
  Topics: Stark Ravings , Barack Obama, Barack Obama, recession,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DEMOCRATS AGAINST OBAMA  |  November 03, 2010
    Now that the midterm wipeout has concluded, analysts are already sizing up the GOP challengers to a weakened Barack Obama. Not only that: some Democratic party elders are considering the once-unthinkable scenario of a debilitating challenge to Barack Obama from inside his party.
  •   THE INDEPENDENT HERD  |  October 06, 2010
    The big news in this election cycle is the rise of the Tea Party. Fair enough. But passing under the radar is an accompanying development that could have even more far-reaching consequences — the rise of an emboldened third force in our politics.
  •   THE AMERICAN IDOL PARTY  |  September 23, 2010
    Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell might not turn out to be good candidates, but they make great television.
  •   HAS OBAMA PEAKED? YES, HE HAS  |  November 12, 2009
    To listen to some pundits, Barack Obama's public image began taking a serious beating when the off-year election returns came in a week ago. Or maybe it was the undeserved Nobel Prize, his approach to the war in Afghanistan, or when he revved up his pursuit of national health-care reform.

 See all articles by: STEVEN STARK