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Did Dems Need Psychologist To Tell Them To Be More Populist?

Keep an eye on this one, because it's gonna gain traction on the right: Republicans are getting ready to pounce on a new report claiming Senate Dems hired a psychologist to advise them on how to be more populist.

CQ Politics reports that Democratic Senators invited Drew Westin, the author of "The Political Brain," to address them earlier this spring, and they're describing him as their own version of Frank Luntz:

To revive their flagging prospects for the midterm election, Westen advised that March afternoon, Democrats ought to start by pushing to tighten the regulatory reins on Wall Street -- an effort that should have started a year earlier, he said, right after enactment of the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

Many senators gave the psychologist a round of applause. But more important, they have started taking his advice, while also listening to a group of better-known Democratic operatives who have been saying much the same thing. And so, for the six months until Election Day, the party is putting a decidedly populist cast on its congressional agenda and campaign message.

"They realized," Westen says of the party leadership, "the importance of speaking with a clear voice to the anger of the average American."

Did Dems really need a psychologist to tell them this? God, I hope not. More likely that Westin is taking credit for getting Dems to speak in these terms in order to inflate his own importance, just as Luntz did on the GOP side. Still, Dems had to know how this would be perceived and what the opposition could do with it. Right?

Presuming this could get some more attention, this one is worth digging into a bit more.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 3, 2010; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  Senate Dems  
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