When they took Robespierre, the Terror of France, to the guillotine, the crowd is said to have mocked: "La bas à le Maximum!"
That was a taunt at the Law of the General Maximum, a program of wage and price controls passed by Robespierre and the Jacobins.
Robespierre had implemented the General Maximum because inflation from fiat paper money had increased prices and people wanted the government to "do something." You can imagine that the General Maximum had exactly the effect that all wage and price controls have had throughout history. It led to more inflation and general hoarding as people refused to bring price-controlled goods to market.
In the end, the Stalinist Robespierre was sent to his death with the name of his failed economic policy ringing in his ears.
President Obama, though a constitutional president, will also learn to fear the taunts of the people as his economic policy fails to produce a vigorous recovery.
The worst thing is that people are laughing at him. They are laughing at the stumbling mistakes of his administration. They are laughing at the over-the-top black racists calling for a race war on the "crackers." They are laughing at his hesitant response to the Gulf oil crisis. They are laughing at the transparent folly of his administration's suit against Arizona.
Of course, things are going to get much worse for the president. His ill-starred health reform will create conflict and rage when peoples' health insurance starts getting wigged around by incompetent regulators.
Think what else the president has to look forward to.
A new Republican House of Representatives will renew the budget battles of the 1990s. Only this time the American people will probably side with the House against the president. That's because Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton when it comes to political agility and talent.
In 2011 Sarah Palin will start dancing around the President like Squirrel Nutkin. Liberals will keep expecting her to self destruct, but she won't because Sarah Palin is a seasoned politician who knows how to play the game of politics. She worked her way up the hard way.
Will we have a double-dip recession, as everyone is predicting? Probably not, but the economy ain't gonna be pretty.
The tragedy is, of course, that the people who will suffer most are the young and the minority and the ill-educated. Exactly the people that Democrats profess to care about.
Why won't Democrats learn that the only way to help the helpless is to provide a solid productive economy without gimmicks? Ever since the 1930s Democrats have believed in economic gimmicks and subsidies as the way to help the helpless. The flaw in their program is that smart operators and crony capitalists always manage to crowd in before the helpless. It is the "little people" that get stuck with the underwater mortgages and the bankers that trouser the bonuses. That's how government always works. Goodies from the government spread outward from the connected to the less-connected and end up screwing the common people.
The end of a political dynasty is always an ugly thing. When people cease to fear the power of the elite they start to get rambunctious. But to the Old Regime the unkindest cut of all is the ungratefulness and the scorn.
Now liberals are going to get a taste of what it's like to be on the wrong side of history. You have to feel sorry for them.