The Obama campaign and other liberals are looking to tap into the populist current of today's politics and turn the Wisconsin union fight into a national issue in the 2012 election. While the liberals can wield rhetorical pitchforks and light political torches, they should realize that it's their guys who are living inside the castle today. Specifically, public-sector unions -- by many measures the most entrenched special interest in American politics -- are not fighting against The Man, which is to say the entrenched powers of government. In this struggle, The Man is the government unions, which are sitting in the smoky back room divvying up the spoils of a crooked racket. And cronyism -- not wealth -- is the object of today's populist ire.
The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power.
In other words, anti-bailout anger is not anger at the rich, but anger at those unfairly getting rich -- at the taxpayer's expense.