Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Left vs Right Populism

This comment was written by S.M., of Sacramento, in response to a truly abysmal David Brooks column in which he decries populism and defends the banking elites:
A crucial difference between leftist populism and rightest populism is that lefist populism protests economic inequalities in the system, while rightist populism protests assumed attitudes of cultural superiority on the part of leftists. Leftist populists target laws and business practices that are unfair to ALL working Americans, while rightist populists, such as Sarah Palin, play openly on fear and envy of fellow Americans who are presumed to be "elitist" in their tastes and lifestyles. Leftist populism is concerned with basic fairness in the system, while rightist populism feeds on dislike of those who are viewed as different. Thus, the leftist protest is far more objective, more nuts and bolts, meat and potatoes, than the rightest protest, which runs to the personal, the ad hominem, saying, in effect, "Those liberals aren't 'real Americans like us," and relying on stereotypes of latte-sipping, over-educated "metro-sexuals" who are presumed to be anti-business, anti-guns, and anti-religion.
This is an immense difference, Mr. Brooks, and I know you are fully aware of it, because you have been delivering the "Obama is a cold, intellectual elitist" message for at least a year now. You play the populist card very consciously, and very well.

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