Alinsky + Chicago = mob-tastic! My dad used to know guys like this growing up in lower Manhattan. Free advice from him to me to you: If you’re strapped for cash and one of them offers to help, decline.

President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”…

“The only way they could have sent a more Spartan message is if they had served bread along with the water,” says a person who attended the meeting. “The signal from Obama’s body language and demeanor was, ‘I’m the president, and you’re not.’”…

The president spoke of public outrage over the high flying executive lifestyle. “The anger gentlemen, is real,” Obama said. He urged pay reform and said rewards must be proportional and balanced, and tied to the health and success of the company.

Slublog sums it up: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. The Democrats helped cause the crisis through bad policy, fanned the flames of outrage against CEOs and Wall Street and are now saying they’re the only ones who can protect the CEOs from all of those angry people out there.” Indeed, and all they have to do to earn that protection is fire their CEO or whatever else The One demands. Refuse — and if you follow the link, you’ll see that some of them actually want to return their TARP money — and they risk a visit from Timmy the Chin.

Anyone recognize the phrase “the anger is real,” though? The last time Obama used it was in his speech on race to back off all the haters who thought, inexplicably, that a would-be president should have piped up about Reverend Wright sometime in the course of 20 years. Evidently it’s a favorite formulation when he wants to lean on his audience. In which case, if he’s so worried about pitchforks, instead of creepily exploiting the threat of mob violence to centralize the economy, how about our modern-day Lincoln gives a speech asking Americans to cool off before bailout fatigue leads to someone getting killed? After all, the anger really is real.

Update: Comments imported from Headlines.