…in deep red states like Louisiana or Kansas, Republicans are much freer to act on their beliefs—which means moving strongly to comfort the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted. Which brings me back to Mr. Jindal, who declared in his speech that “we are a populist party.” No, you aren’t. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt. And the public may have figured that out.
The European crisis, which we process from headline to headline as a matter of currencies and bailouts, is really a test of large-scale democratic capitalism. The disintegration of the Eurozone would be nearly as disastrous for the US as it would be for Europe; the result would almost certainly be a global financial meltdown that will make the events of 2008 look like, well, a tea party. But it is not only a matter of distant economic events that might have consequences for the US. The deeper issue is whether institutions of continent-wide democracy, European or American, can keep pace with the twin threats of global financial instability and national populism.
…what Limbaugh can’t imagine white Democrats doing is responding to their black colleagues as whole, unique individuals with different strengths and talents. He’s sexist in exactly the same way, too, which is why the only way that Limbaugh can understand Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn’s role in the House is through racial and gendered stereotypes. The possibility that the struggle between House Democrats for power is broken down over actual ideas and visions of leadership seems beyond his grasp. Pelosi/Clyburn are just Team Non-White Dudes to him, full stop.
Amanda Marcotte, from her “The Populist Right Isn’t Really Any Dumber Than the Intellectual Right.” more, here.
from a longer piece about “Tom Perriello, the embattled freshman Democratic congressman”
Could the President have helped bring a progressive populism into being, by vilifying the banks and hammering his money-backed opponents from the start, as a counter to the right-wing populism that totally dominates the media? Maybe, but it would have been contrary to his character and his approach to governing. I’m not sure it would have found an answer in the country, either. Skepticism of government’s ability to improve people’s lives runs deep. The White House designed the positive effects of the stimulus bill (there have been plenty) to be undetectable to the naked eye. Americans’ economic circumstances have gotten harder, not easier, since Obama took office. Arguably, the same could have been said of F.D.R. in 1934 (the midterms that year went his way), but back then people were more desperate and less informed, meaning less likely to convince themselves that they shouldn’t “believe the data.” And conservative, pro-rich populism didn’t exist. The Liberty League, unlike the Koch brothers, had no Glenn Beck…It turned out that the Obama Administration had about seven minutes to prove that government could bring some decency and security back to people’s lives. Whatever their mistakes (and they’ve made many), the odds were long against them—much longer than I thought on November 4, 2008. More and more it seems clear that Obama’s best qualities leave him barely able to make himself heard in the storm and lead the country out of it…In a losing battle, it’s almost always better for morale to stick to principle than abandon it, and it probably increases the odds of winning.
art: color pencil drawing by Sean Leong
It’s not nearly as bad for the Democrats as the pundit class wants everyone to believe…Yes, a good number of Democratic members of the House and the Senate are in trouble, but they are fighting back…The point at which the Democrats take a strong stand for the kind of jobs program we need will go a long way toward keeping them in Washington…The loss of the House is not as assured as some want us to believe.