Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Populism Isn't

When I have more time and brain space I plan to take populism back up. But tonight, NPR's Mara Liasson was discussing "populist anger" with bailouts and such, and referenced that damn Santelli rant.

"if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages or would we like to, at least, buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a chance to actually prosper down the road. And reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water."

Santelli, a former futures trader, made his now-famous rant from a Chicago commodities trading floor. Bastion of Real America, that. But he had the stones to declare, "This is America!" because he was cheered. Because we know from the McCain campaign that the Real America is whichever part agrees with you.

But Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times schools Santelli with two sentences:

Well, no. America is a place where 8 million families are threatened with losing their homes, not a futures pit filled with braying traders.

Populism: Hiltzik doin' it right.