PEEK

NY Times wouldn't know a populist...if one got elected

Joshua Holland: What a wildly muddled political discourse we have.
Robin Toner and Kate Zernike had an almost incomprehensible article on Sunday in the New York Times.
Incoming Democrats Put Populism Before Ideology
They start with a discussion of the freshman class in 1994 under Newt Gingrich, which they say was distinctly ideological despite the fact that it was, in reality, deeply populist. Gingrich railed against entrenched Democrats and the day was carried by the House Banking Scandal -- a non-issue that was all about out-of-touch politicians getting bennies that were inconceivable to ordinary people. Sorry, but term limits are not ideological -- they were a textbook example of 'throw the bums out' populism.

Then Toner and Zernike contrast Gingrich's supposed ideological revolution with the winners last week:
Many in the class of 2006, especially those who delivered the new Democratic majorities by winning Republican seats, show little appetite for that kind of ideological crusade. ...[T]hey say they were given a rare opportunity by voters, many of them independents and Republicans, who were tired of the partisanship and gridlock in Washington.
Hating partisanship and gridlock is neither populist nor ideological -- it's exhaustion with poor governance.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.
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