Thursday, February 12, 2015

Popcorn Populists

Ed Kilgore on Republican fake populism playing a role in the 2014 GOP rampage:

The allusion is to the success of Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and even more strikingly (since reproductive rights were central to the messaging of his Democratic opponent Mark Udall) Cory Gardner of Colorado, who used the Bobby-Jindal-suggested gimmick of supporting OTC contraceptives as an anti-government gesture that also superficially rebutted Democratic claims they wanted to restrict access to contraceptives. It was clever, if not especially deep or credible. But what Edsall is suggesting is that if swing voters want to vote Republican, such gestures on economic issues could be effective even if they are shallow and insincere.

That’s something for progressives to keep in mind before mocking Republican “populism” too much. A little bit can go a long way if that’s the way the wind is blowing.

I'll counter with two words:  Sam Brownback.

The Kansas governor's "populism" has been an absolute austerity disaster so far, and if Democrats are smart, they'll keep Kansas's terrible economy in the news as much as possible.  If there's any Republican who wants to take Brownback's austerity program nationally and put America back into a deep recession, it's "budget guru" John Kasich.

Democrats can easily take this approach apart if they move now to head it off.

But Kilgore is right: unchecked, Republican fake populism is going to help them in places where the Obama recovery hasn't helped the middle class much at all.

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