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I don't agree with everything in David Brooks's column on populism, but this is a smart distillation of what populist campaign rhetoric translates to in Washington:

Populism is popular with the ruling class. Ever since I started covering politics, the Democratic ruling class has been driven by one fantasy: that voters will get so furious at people with M.B.A.’s that they will hand power to people with Ph.D.’s. The Republican ruling class has been driven by the fantasy that voters will get so furious at people with Ph.D.’s that they will hand power to people with M.B.A.’s. Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 5:12 PM ET
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I guess I just have a problem with complaining about angry mobs when wealth and income inequality have increased so much in the past few decades.

Posted by: ideallydc | January 26, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I complain about the angry mobs when they channel their anger to support more of the same policies that have led to the increased wealth and income disparities.

Posted by: cog145 | January 26, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Odd that we only hear of 'populism' when people are protesting against Democrats in power.

Throughour the long period of Republican Ascendancy, the people protesting there were never populist (though they shared in many ways the same demographic) -- no, those protesters were nothing but a bunch of radical USA-hating elitists.

Love the narrative; the original populists are turning in their graves.

Posted by: leoklein | January 26, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm just happy when people are pissed and politicians are scared.

Posted by: bgmma50 | January 26, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

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