Reason Writers Around Town: Jesse Walker on Populism


Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Managing Editor Jesse Walker puts the president's populist pretentions in their historical context, from the days of the Farmers' Alliance to the age of call-in radio.

NEXT: Nevermind All Those Opposition Solutions; Obama's Opposition Has No Solutions!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Populism would be okay if it were espoused by pro-market, pro-growth, small-government types.

    1. Like Glen Beck,Rush Limbaugh,Neal Boortz,Sarah Palin…

      1. Yes, those people. Levin too.

      2. Out of that list, the only decent one is Boortz, and he’s leaned too far to the right over the past few years… but he’s still the best of the bunch.

  2. Sarah Palin

  3. The Telephone

    “When I was just as far as I could walk
    From here today,
    There was an hour
    All still
    When leaning with my head against a flower
    I heard you talk.
    Don’t say I didn’t, for I heard you say–
    You spoke from that flower on the windowsill–
    Do you remember what it was you said?”

    “First tell me what it was you thought you heard.”

    “Having found the flower and driven a bee away,
    I leaned my head,
    And holding by the stalk,
    I listened and I thought I caught the word–
    What was it? Did you call me by my name?
    Or did you say–
    Someone said ‘Come’–I heard it as I bowed.”

    “I may have thought as much, but not aloud.”

    “Well, so I came.”

  4. I often wonder what the world would look like today if Ross Perot had actually won in 1992.

    1. You ever play Fallout 3?

      1. You think there would have been a war between the U.S. and China? Why?

        1. Nurse! 10cc of a sense of humor, stat!

          1. Sorry, Friday is my Wendsday. It is a long week and feel drained.

            1. Aw, I was just joshin’ ya.

            2. That’s no excuse. We don’t take well to slackers on these here boards, buddy. Keep that sense of humor up to snuff or you’ll hear from Warty.

              1. Why? Alaska.

  5. Republicans fake populism better than Democrats. Liberalism is inherently condescending, which doesn’t jive with people power.

    1. It jives with it, and does not jibe with it.

        1. Racist.

  6. populism is the tool of statists of all brands.

  7. Fuck populism. Populism is elitist and condescending.

    1. Populism is bread and games ? it is appealing to the basest instincts by promising free stuff at the expense of the other guy

  8. What Obama and Pelosi don’t seem to understand is that the American people don’t just dislike the ponytails Big Sister has given them…they want the federal government out of their hair altogether.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find better commentary on the President’s SOTU address than this: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/01/a…..to-forget/

  9. I came across this quote from Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown at Politico. How many things can you find wrong with it. I count 4.

    “I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. … In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them,”

    1. I find absolutely none whatsoever. The Constitution and laws do exist to protect this nation–from domestic as well as foreign enemies. (Domestic enemies usually call themselves “progressives” or by similar euphemisms.) There is indeed nothing in the Constitution that protects our enemies from anything that we might do to them in wartime. (What little restrains us from torturing them just for fun is in various international treaties we’ve signed, not the Constitution itself.) We certainly should not be paying a dime in tax dollars to hire any lawyers for any foreigners, let alone all those terrorists we’ve captured in Iraq and Afghanistan; they have no right to any of the protections our Constitution provides to U.S. citizens, whatever any treasonous ruling from activist judges (more of our domestic enemies) may say to the contrary. Our government administration having been provided, by mutual consent of the governed, with a monopoly on violence against our country’s foes, some portion of our tax dollars definitely should be going to buy weapons to kill them.

      If you find a problem with any of this, that’s because–like everybody on LewRockwell.com in particular–you’re an idiot or a traitor or both.

      1. Damn, you figured it out. I’m a traitor. Try me in a military tribunal and shove a telephone pole up my ass.

        The Constitution protects the Rights of the individual, not the state. I may be a traitor, but you are a Collectivist. The government can not grant Rights, it can only deny them. And, Article VI of the Constitution binds us to all treaties.

        “…and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

        So, what other parts of the Constitution would you like to wipe your ass with?

        BTW, the “War on Terror” is just a euphemism, also.

      2. JD,
        You sound like a Constitution worshipping douche.

      3. Wrong (JD, that is). The 6th amendment says nothing about the citizenship of the accused.

  10. Wow, thats some pretty cool stuff dude, amazing.


    1. Devil bunnies! I snort the nose, Lucifer! Banana! Banana!

      (Or something like that.)

  11. Jeremy, don’t you dare blaspheme my Lord and Savior, the Anon-Bot.


  12. Speaking of populism, I was surprised by Kanye and his latest rant against those against wearing fur, someone please provide the link: I am in France; i.e crippled

    Good 4 Kanye

  13. http://blog.peta.org/archives/…..e_west.php



    My daughter said they had snow yesterday in Poitiers.

  14. Sounds to me like this dude might be a bit full of himself.


    1. You wouldn’t know about that. Would you?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.