On the one hand, there is the juvenile posturing of the CODEPINK protesters, who did everything but throw a cream pie at Summers. It's the left-wing equivalent of Rick Santelli's tea parties, and just about as useful in moving forward the national debate over economic policy.
But then there's the equally sickening amused stance of patrician irony displayed by Summers and his moderator, underscored by approving applause from the audience after one CODEPINK provocateur starts screaming about Summers $5.2 million salary last year. It displays a gross insensitivity to how people in this country feel about what Wall Street has accomplished in the last two years to actually express purposeful approval of obscene compensation. And when they burst out in gales of laughter after the moderator asks Summers if he ever regrets returning to Washington, you get the very strong sense that they just don't have a clue as to why anyone might be upset. I may be pushing it by summoning the ghost of Robespierre twice in one week, but it's exactly this kind class insularity that is sure to incite reigns of terror.
Not that we're anything close to that, yet. After watching CODEPINK dance with Larry Summers, you realize that what we're really living through is a reign of surrealist absurdity. And somehow, on that level. CODEPINK and Larry Summers are made for each other. Maybe after the current crisis is over they can go on tour together as a traveling circus.