Listening to Iowa almost-winner John Edwards' concession speech about how "corporate greed has got a stranglehold on America" reminded me of nothing so much as my first Ralph Nader press conference in 2000, when I covered him for a now-defunct lefty website called WorkingForChange.com. From that first dispatch:
"Hundreds of billions of dollars are stolen from Americans every year, as a result of corporate and white-collar fraud, and tens of thousands of Americans are injured or lose their lives each year, because of corporate negligence, or corporate criminality," said Nader, who used the words "corporate" or "corporation" at least 57 times in less than one hour.
It strikes me as a little-remarked phenomenon in this election that, for the first time since maybe 1988, the Democrats are running a serious candidate with an essentially Naderite worldview on the evils of Corporate Greed. I haven't paid much attention to the Blue Team so far—the Red crack-up being so much more entertaining—but whenever I do I hear some Democrat espousing economic-policy ideas (hatin' on corporations, hi-fivin' Lou Dobbs on trade) much further to the left of Howard Dean in 2004, Bill Bradley in 2000, and Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
With the one-day Hucka-BOO-yah on the GOP side, the big winner in Iowa tonight seems to be illiberal economic populism.