Populism (Edwards) On The Rise In Iowa

E.J. Dionne writes a wonderfully Springsteen-inspired title column on the rise of populism in the Iowa caucus, Trouble Thunder In The Heartland. The Huckabee half seemed forced and not particularly illuminative. But the discussion of the Democratic race was excellent:

. . . "The richest Americans are getting richer," Edwards said. "How much money do these people need?" Roaring his refrain of "enough is enough," Edwards declared: "America doesn't belong to them. It belongs to us." Us-vs.-them economic rhetoric is often said to be out of date, impractical, even dangerous. But in the closing days of a very tight race, Edwards has his opponents, particularly Barack Obama, scrambling to make sure a trial lawyer from North Carolina does not corner the market on populism.

Is this too little too late from Obama in the Hillary Alternative race?

Obama is vying with Edwards for the non-Clinton vote, and the Illinois senator was on the air yesterday with an Edwards-like television ad assailing the flow of American jobs abroad. Obama spoke last week of "Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who now compete with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart." He had heard from seniors "who were betrayed by CEOs who dumped their pensions while pocketing bonuses, and from those who still can't afford their prescriptions because Congress refused to negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price."

The Kumbaya schtick has reached it limits apparently. Too bad Obama campaign strategist Axelrod did not realize that when he could have knocked Edwards out in November.

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    Obama as Populist? (none / 0) (#1)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:37:46 AM EST
    That's not going to work, IMO.  It's just not him.  He has a lot of strengths and talents, but I don't see him being able to morph himself into a populist fighter overnight.  Even if the community organizer part of his background fits nicely, it's too late to try to change your campaign persona now.  He already ceded this ground to Edwards, which was a mistake, but it's done now.

    Too late (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:45:58 AM EST

    But not for a GE run.


    The Huckabee part didn't seem forced to me (none / 0) (#2)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:38:50 AM EST
    especially this:

    "I'm not exactly the pick of some of the East Coast establishment Republicans," the former governor of Arkansas said in a nice bit of heartland understatement. "I think they don't understand a lot of us who don't live in their world."

    East Coast Establishment ...  

    Nicely put.  The Republican version of liberal East Coast elites.  

    We here in the Midwest know that we have nothing in common with East Coast elites, whether liberal or establishment.  We like to hear a politician who understands that :)

    If Huckabee wasn't a nutcase he'd be a pretty decent guy.

    Nixon Line (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:43:09 AM EST
    The anger at East Coast establishment Republicans worked quite well for Nixon.  Or it did as a political style, the paranoia it stoked in him worked less well.  Heh.

    What's an East Coast elite? (none / 0) (#6)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 11:15:04 AM EST
    What's an East Coast elite?

    And who is an East Coast elite?

    Do they have elites in the Midwest?


    Of course there are no elites (none / 0) (#7)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 11:27:52 AM EST
    in the Midwest.  We're all salt of the earth.  Anybody who thinks he's elite in the Midwest (and they're all men except Phylis Schlafly) better pretend to be salt of the earth or we'll make them so uncomfortable they will eventually move to the East Coast.

    And all East Coasters are, by definition, elite.  Or at least elitists -- they ALL believe that the East Coast is the center of the United States if not the world and they ALL like to tell the rest of us how we should live our lives. And they ALL are responsible for national news being broadcast out of NYC which means that every time there is a big traffic jam there we have to hear about it.  Don't they know we sometimes have traffic jams here? Why don't they cover those?

    And the West Coast -- well they're just crazy out there.

    I'd say that pretty much sums it up.

    btw - I say that tongue in cheek but it pretty much is how many people see things.


    oddly enough, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:08:59 PM EST
    salt in the earth kills everything, and makes the soil sterile. good job there midwest!

    if you only have five cars, just how big a traffic jam could you possibly have? i guess if they all hit the tasty freeze at the same time.............

    just kidding! sort of...............


    David Broder Theory of Elites (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 11:29:19 AM EST
    So how did Clinton do it? (none / 0) (#5)
    by RedHead on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 11:01:15 AM EST
    forget obama.  he's finished.  

    A more curious question: how did Hillary comeback in Iowa?  That's the big story, reversing her December decline and shutting down Obama's Mo.

    Certainly the DMR endorsement helped, but that would not have been enough.  Especially when she was taking incoming from the MSM for Shaheen, Penn, and Bill's misstatements and especially when they kept fumbling around looking for a closing argument (ie electability, then change agent, then likability tour, and currently the experience candidate).

    Mixing BTR with Darkness on the Edge of Town (none / 0) (#10)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:15:15 PM EST
    EJ's column is entitled Thunder in the Heartland.

    Badlands is the song you are hearing.

    The opening lines Badlands certainly has a populist feel

    Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland.
    Got a head-on collision, smashin in my guts man.
    I'm caught in a crossfire that I don't understand.

    I can see how it would emerge out of your consciousness in a discussion on populism.

    Workin in the field till you get your back burned
    Workin `neath the wheels till you get your facts learned.
    Baby I got my facts learned real good right now.
    You better get it straight darling:
    Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings,
    And a king aint satisfied till he rules everything.

    Is this for me? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:31:05 PM EST
    I knew it was Badlands.

    Wasn't certain (none / 0) (#12)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:49:14 PM EST
    You used trouble, EJ used thunder, though you may have intended to slyly change EJ's title and I am just slow today. As I said, it is evident why Badlands came to mind.

    You're right (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:35:50 PM EST
    I misread Dionne's title.

    I was thinking Badland's and clearly the title person was not . Will edit my post.


    I Just Assumed (none / 0) (#15)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:48:36 PM EST
    the title person was thinking Badlands and got the lyric wrong.  

    Dionne would have been better served (none / 0) (#16)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 02:27:36 PM EST
    with you as his editor. Springsteen works well here.

    Truer words (none / 0) (#13)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:49:59 PM EST
    That verse by Springsteen is one of his best, IMO.  Truer words were never spoken.