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  •  Plus, who's a "populist senator"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    I cannot think of one. The last US Senator who merited the title of populist was Fred Harris. No?

    "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

    by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:31:28 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Wellstone sure as hell merited it (9+ / 0-)

      Sanders clearly does, and Harkin and Dorgan are generally pretty close.  I will miss Dorgan next year.  Brown arguably does, and it's too early to tell w/ Franken.  Feingold has his populist streak, but he's more of a process guy who likes to point out how we're trampling the rule of law.

      After that, the list gets pretty short.  While I lost my Charlie Brown streak years ago, too, it would do my heart glad to see the Democratic wing of the party stand up and be counted for a change.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:38:07 AM PDT

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      •  Whitehouse perhaps... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, RFK Lives, MooseHB

        ...Wyden maybe (?)

        either way, a pathetically short list.

        The bear and the rabbit will never agree on how dangerous a dog is.

        by fromer on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:40:50 AM PDT

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      •  Brown? Are you kidding me? (0+ / 0-)

        Now you could mean Scott Brown, but I don't think that's who you mean. Sherrod Brown is absolutely nowhere close to being a populist.

        You don't get to be a populist by adopting certain issue positions. You're a populist based on your acdtual base among the people, as opposed to party machines. Sherrod Brown is a relatively good Senator, but he's a machine politician all the way.

        Likewise, Feingold and Franken have not been populists in the ways that they organized their campaigns.

        Sanders, ok maybe, if you think Vermont has any ordinary people.

        It can't be "too early to tell." Either you run a populist campaign, or you aren't one.

        "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

        by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:51:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dorgan, Harkin, and the late Wellstone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RFK Lives, gooderservice

        fit the bill.

    •  Al Franken (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skyounkin, MooseHB

      The Republicans have turned into Archie Bunker's evil twin of the 21st Century.

      by gooderservice on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:07:41 AM PDT

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      •  Franken ran a traditional campaign (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming

        with the full support of his party. Therefore, he's not a populist.

        You folks are using populist as a synonym for progressive, which just ain't kosher.

        "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

        by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:10:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not talking about a political (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Liberty of Meat

          campaign.

          The Republicans have turned into Archie Bunker's evil twin of the 21st Century.

          by gooderservice on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:19:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's no other meaning of populist (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Liberty of Meat

            the word refers to a style of campaigning, regardless of how it is misused.

            "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

            by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:23:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              esquimaux, gardnerjf

              Populism n.
              the theory and policies of an American political party ( People's party, 1891-1904) advocating free coinage of gold and silver, public ownership of utilities, an income tax, etc. Populist n. & adj Populism.

              That is from Webster's New world Dictionary. It is an older copy (late 80's perhaps) and I am missing the cover and first few pages so I will also provide a definition from the inter-tubes.

              Pop·u·list
              [pop-yuh-list]
              a member of the People's party.
              (lowercase) a supporter or adherent of populism.
              –adjective
              Also, Pop·u·lis·tic. of or pertaining to the People's party.
              Also, pop·u·lis·tic. (lowercase) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of populism or its adherents.

              Pop·u·lism
                 [pop-yuh-liz-uhm]  Show IPA
              –noun
              the political philosophy of the People's party.
              (lowercase) any of various, often antiestablishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.
              (lowercase) grass-roots democracy; working-class activism; egalitarianism.
              (lowercase) representation or extolling of the common person, the working class, the underdog, etc.: populism in the arts.

              Not that anyone will care, but your interpretation of the meaning of populist is not entirely accurate. I do agree that progressive and populist are not the same thing.

              I find that most people (pundit, reporter, blogger, advocate, tree frogs, what have you) in our society do not seem to care about the actual meaning of the language they throw around. As a result most political speech can mean almost anything... which also means that most of it means nothing at all.

              While I am responding to your post, it is really intended as a larger observation about the overall quality of political discussion in our country. It may never have been better, but the nature of mass communications today make the manipulation and mischaracterization of meaning much more pronounced.

              •  Well then (0+ / 0-)

                In that narrow historical sense, no one can be a Populist today because the People's Party no longer exists. Conversely, everyone could be called a populist because the policies advocated by the PP, like going off the gold standard, became a standard part of US political economy.

                The way the term is used now, retaining some meaning, is to organize in the style of classic populists like the American PP or the Peronists of Argentina, which is to say, to buck the established parties, screw the big banks, and build a new power base among the disenfranchised masses.

                There's no other definition that makes logical sense.

                "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

                by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 12:48:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The meaning of populism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      It's sadly apparent that many here would like the word populism to mean something other than what it means. It does not mean "very liberal," nor does it mean "popular."

      Populism arises only in situations of class conflict. It refers to a style or method of contesting power by which one goes directly to the people in order to challenge the ruling classes. It implies anti-corporatism, but being anti-corporatist doesn't make one a populist.

      Fred Harris was a genuine populist because he challenged the establishment machines in Oklahoma, and they hated him for it.

      No liberal Senator who runs a traditional campaign with establishment party support is a populist. In Minnesota, the populist force now is Jesse Ventura. Historically, the left-populists in Minnesota ceased being populist when the Farm-Labor Party fused with the Democrats, so that pretty much rules out Wellstone, Franken and Feingold.

      In Vermont, I suspect that Bernie Sanders has as much or more support from the wealthy and educated as he does from the uneducated and the poor.

      Yeah there are lots of populist wannabes now, but let's stay clear on textbook definitions.

      If you're not a populist, it doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you not a populist.

      "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

      by Ohiobama on Fri May 14, 2010 at 08:03:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jon Tester of Montana comes to mind. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice

      Also, Dorgan himself. Generally, most Northwestern Dems are populists- Schweitzer is the very model of a modern populist, Walt Minnick is a populist (but a DINO.. still, a populist, just that his people are right-wingers. He's in Idaho).
      Many of the local politicians in states like MT, the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming are also populists.

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