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Prez Must Get Tough, Not Just Talk Tough

Obama will never make a great populist, writes Eugene Robinson

(Newser) - President Obama is going to have to recapture the political initiative with substance instead of style, writes Eugene Robinson. Obama—despite his modest upbringing—is never going to have the guy-next-door touch George W. Bush had, so he should focus on making his actions match his words instead of trying...

Populism's a Losing Strategy

Voters too smart to buy into class struggle, writes David Brooks

(Newser) - Populism is back in vogue but politicians scrambling to bash the elite forget that it's almost always been a losing strategy, warns David Brooks. Politicians—whether they're Democrats taking potshots at Wall Street or Sarah Palin blasting the cultural elite—should remember that America was built by people like Alexander...

Time to Fight Back, Obama

Massachusetts disaster means the president must go populist

(Newser) - It's still not clear exactly how President Obama will adjust to the Massachusetts defeat, but one camp has clear advice: No more Mr. Nice Guy, please. A sampling:
  • Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation: "Going populist is now smart politics and good policy. The Obama White House needs to show,

Obama's Lost the Middle Class

President has appeared to aloof, business-friendly

(Newser) - Barack Obama knows now, if he didn’t already, that he has a genuine political crisis on his hands. Blame Martha Coakley if you like, but even she could have won if Obama and his policies had been more popular in Massachusetts, contends John Judis of the New Republic. Bloggers...

Obama Needs to Ditch the 'Wall Street Liberal' Label

A fight with big banks would best help his reputation

(Newser) - "Wall Street Liberal" is pretty much the worst label you could stick on a politician: The left has no great love of Wall Street, while the "liberal" part ticks off the right. Bad news, then, for President Obama—who is actually neither liberal nor a Wall Street darling—...

Wall Street Bonuses Ripe for Tea Party Rage

Big finance could face populist pitchforks

(Newser) - Bailed-out Wall Street execs handing themselves hefty bonuses this month should prepare for outrage not only from Dems inside the Beltway but from tea partiers, who hold their first convention in Nashville next month. The rage that has been focused on big government and health care reform could easily swing...

Great News for Palin: GOP Poll Snubs Her

Not one party leader sees her as the 2012 candidate

(Newser) - In a new survey of 109 Republican movers and shakers, not one named Sarah Palin as the likely presidential nominee in 2012. This is fabulous news for her, writes Nate Silver. After all, "2010/12 is "shaping up to be an anti-establishment cycle," he writes, and if the...

Unassuming Thune Could Be GOP's Future

Nice-guy populist eyed as 2012 contender

(Newser) - The junior senator from South Dakota is starting to get a lot of attention from the less hysterical sections of the GOP as the party seeks to build on recent successes, writes David Brooks . John Thune never sounds like he's auditioning for a spot on talk radio, but instead puts...

Obama Backlash Isn't About Race

The real, centuries-old conflict is between urban elites and small towners

(Newser) - It's a mistake to see the growing backlash against President Obama through the prism of race, David Brooks writes in the New York Times. The anti-Obama movement springs not from racism, but from the long American tradition of popular distrust of the urban elite, argues Brooks. He notes mostly white...

Obama Should Have Put Wall Street on Trial

But he didn't, and now GOP fat cats can somehow play populist

(Newser) - How can rich fat cats like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh pretend to be populists, while tarring Barack Obama as the establishment? Because Barack Obama missed his chance to strike a blow for the little guy and prosecute Wall Street, writes communications professor Jon Taplin. Instead, he listened to Wall...

Dems Must Reconnect to Populist Soul

Democrats are afraid to say that government can do good: Frank

(Newser) - To save health care reform, Democrats need to remember what the real issue is: making the government work for average people, writes Thomas Frank for the Wall Street Journal. Health care is the Democrats' signature issue because it is quintessentially populist—a leveling of the playing field in the name...

Palin Channels Ahmadinejad

Her self-presentation, politics, and biography are like his

(Newser) - Sarah Palin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have their differences—but their images, politics, and even life stories show significant overlap, writes Juan Cole for Salon. Both are former governors of “frontier states,” both drum up support through “wounded nationalism,” and both battle foreign influence. “Above all,...

Vandals Target Former RBS Boss, Vow Further Action

Goodwin target of public outrage over his pension

(Newser) - After the Edinburgh home of the former boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland was vandalized last night, an unknown group is warning of further attacks on financial figures, the Scottish Daily Record reports. Sir Fred Goodwin has been the focus of controversy since he took early retirement—complete with...

In Bailout Fight, Team Obama Fears Backlash

Prez could be seen as bank 'advocate,' sparking anger

(Newser) - The Obama administration is getting more and more nervous about the possibility of a populist backlash, as anger toward the institutions at the heart of the financial crisis swells, the New York Times reports. That anger may be aimed at anyone linked to Wall Street—including the government that’s...

Populist Outrage Makes Perfect Sense

Pay system at the heart of this whole mess

(Newser) - All it takes is $18.4 billion, and suddenly the mob is restless. Once, we were content to brush Wall Street’s gross inequities under the rug, but “we’re populists of a more fiery sort now,” writes Thomas Frank in the Wall Street Journal, “the old...

The Real Father of the Modern Presidency

Not George or Abe, but Andy Jackson started today's political culture

(Newser) - Most people probably remember Andrew Jackson as an Indian-fighter, if at all, but Abraham Lincoln looked to him for inspiration, and so should we, writes Jon Meacham in Newsweek. Jackson had a hand in making America what it is, for better and for worse—the legacy of this uneducated orphan...

Populism Killed the Republican Party

Anti-elite attitude personified by Palin drove away base

(Newser) - Anti-intellectual populism has reduced the Republicans to a resentful rump party, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. A movement that once prized good ideas began to rely on bashing the educated as a political tactic. “What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain...

Financial Flip Reveals Yet Another McCain

Hasty reprogramming turns candidate into pro-regulation populist

(Newser) - John McCain tried on yet another new personality Tuesday, ranting about “abuses on Wall Street” and promising to “put an end to the greed” with new regulations. Yes, he was suddenly an angry populist, not the guy who’d favored deregulation his entire career, Gail Collins observes in...

Dear Yanks: Time to Snap Out of Oil Coma

Leave demagoguery, pandering behind, get real on energy policy

(Newser) - Romancing the Saudis and railing against speculators won’t accomplish anything, Gerard Baker tells American pols in the Guardian: A second industrial revolution is driving oil prices up and there’s no turning back. Stop the populism— the "economically illiterate idea for a gas tax holiday," for instance—...

'Dealer'-in-Chief? Bush Hits Game Show

Prez's Deal or No Deal appearance latest in low-brow pol appearances

(Newser) - Increasingly overshadowed by the presidential campaign, George W. Bush got a bit of exposure last night—on a TV game show. The commander-in-chief appeared via satellite on Deal or No Deal to root for a soldier back from Iraq who was gunning for a million dollars in a suitcase, reports...

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