It is important for governments to respect the wishes of the people (as we are a representative republic). If we want to label that as fearing the people, then I am okay with that way of describing it. A healthy fear of those who really decide your fate (the constituents) is absolutely essential.
I think that we have moved to a time when not only politicians feel like they are above the people and are not under the same rules, but also regular people seem willing to accept this understanding as well. That is not a good combination. Politicians use the heavy hand of government and the citizens are more and more accepting of that relationship. Scary.