“Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen.” Barack Hussein Obama had been president of the United States for all of two months. He was lecturing the titans of American finance who were struggling to explain—to a man with no meaningful business experience—how high salaries are necessary if American companies are to compete for talent in a global market.

“The public isn’t buying that,” scoffed the president. He wasn’t talking about the public, though. “My administration,” he warned, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” The pitchforks: that’s his public.

Obama’s formative background is the left-wing fever swamp of Chicago “community-organizing,” a gussied-up term for systematic rabble-rousing—one it’s now even acceptable to put on a resumé. The quest for raw power is t ...