Jonah Goldberg has got the One's number:
What’s particularly odious about Obama’s scare tactics is that he’s using them for the mother of all bait-and-switches. He justifiably scares people about the magnitude of the financial crisis, but uses that fear not to sell them on a solution to the crisis but to trick them into signing up for a new Great Society. It’s like convincing someone he’s got cancer and then telling him that’s why he needs to buy a new car.
and adds, on NRO:
One point I didn't get to flesh out: I don't understand what's so bad about using fear in politics. Doesn't it depend on what you use it for? And, isn't honesty an enormous part of the equation? If I yell "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater and there isn't one, I've done something really bad. If I yell "Fire!" in a movie theater when there is one, maybe I've done something really good. It certainly shouldn't suffice to say that in both circumstances I am a "fearmonger." Al Gore thinks Bush is a bad man because "he played on our fears" of terrorism. Well, doesn't that beg all sorts of questions?
I'd add that it's sometimes ok to calm legitimate fears, say, in order to restore some scrap of consumer confidence. Because this crisis in confidence feeds on itself and just adds to the problems in the financial sector.