Same Old Populism

E.J. Dionne surprises me this morning with his sudden discovery that populism sells in Iowa. He sees the rise of Mike Huckabee and John Edwards as an indicator of deep economic revolt, when it is nothing much more than Iowa being Iowa. The rise of both men could easily have been predicted, and their inability to resonate more effectively anywhere else shows that Iowa’s populism still hasn’t caught fire anywhere else.
At Heading Right, I look at the pattern of Iowa populism, and discover a two-decade streak in both parties when it comes to the caucuses. John Edwards even used it four years ago in the same place — and isn’t gaining the same traction he did then. Politicians break out the populism when they come to Iowa for a reason, and it’s not because of a sudden interest in the political movement — a fact that the lack of traction these candidates get elsewhere aptly demonstrates.

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