Populism 101

Matt Taibbi calls this viral video from last week “like the most awesome thing ever.” As much as I like Taibbi, I can’t really go along all the way with him on that one.  I like that this mad batsman has done his homework (and he has a damned nice stroke). The guy apparently has a head for numbers and he sees quite clearly that the numbers for the economy don’t come close to adding up. But he sort of loses me when he says  no one with a name “like” Barrack Hussein Obama is going to solve our problems. Still, I chucked at a lot of this, was frightened by even more of it. 

This is more evidence of a new populism that I can go along with about 90% (which is about as far as I can go with any movement/party). Dylan Ratigan is probably the public face of it, and he will only grow in stature, or get fired. He too is majorly pissed off and quite articulate, and has a bully pulpit. There are real protests in the streets of Chicago, and not by the usual suspects either. It’s not left wing or right wing. It’s kind of outsider vs. insider. And I think its adherents are onto something.

Populism often involves a fair bit of misdirected rage and scapegoating–at Obama personally, at immigrants–but a lot of it is spot on, targeting the bipartisan effort to steer absolutely massive amounts of money to the big banks and the weird organism that Wall Street has become (Taibbi’s notorious “vampire squid” image* comes to mind). The bailouts and the health reform (all but certain to be complicated and low impact, even if passed), trivial pursuits in a time of great crisis, show both parties to be entrenched, dedicated opponents to the common good. Whether a viable alternative presents itself is an interesting question to be watched over the next couple of elections. Or it might be something even worse. That’s in the populist DNA as well.

* “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”

Populism 101

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top