Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Death of Establishment Politics?

The new buzzword from the lips of the establishment political mouthpieces is no longer "islamofascists"... well, at least not during the election season. The new buzzword is "populism"... but trust me on this, the use of the word is meant to invoke the same fear and emotion!

The reason that this word is causing fear is that the people are speaking, and they are finally united in one effort: Get rid of politics as usual. One thing is for sure, politics in America will never be the same after 2008! At least if the trends continue.

The establishment candidates are falling faster than those poorly animated ducks in Nintendo's Duck Hunt... That hunting dog has his work cut out for him as he has to run around picking up nose-diving establishment candidates.

And if one pays any attention to tracking polls, you can clearly see that the populous was wearily supporting the establishment candidates, because the Media declared that they were the only viable candidates in either party. But, as the polls show, the first sign that there was even a hint of viability in another candidate, the establishment lost the wheels on it's bandwagon! (See the red arrows in the picture above... nose-dives indeed!)

Since 2006, the media has been building the next Royal Rumble... Hillary Clinton facing off on the national stage against Rudy Giuliani... pollsters and pundits have written books about this clash of the titans, made millions, and had nearly handicapped the 2008 race for us...

So was this anticipation the straw that broke the camel's back? Was it the grinding in on "viability" politics that finally made the people throw their hands in the air and declare "ENOUGH!"? I think so... I think the quasi-subdued citizens, distracted by American Idol and Top Model, were motivated by something different... and the tools of motivation made these citizens more accessible.

That is right... The death of the establishment politics, and the rise of populist politics, is due to the internet. The last vestige of free speech... and I mean free in that you can send powerful messages (via YouTube, e-mail, MySpace, Facebook) for FREE. No money required. That means candidates can focus on getting their messages out to millions of citizens at the cost of ZERO...

Then enter the bloggers... the most effective and passionate grassroots effort in American Politics... perhaps in history... capable of causing a revolution within our government without firing a single shot... The perfect example of the David v. Goliath... the Bloggers taking on the Major News Outlets... Communication amongst the people, giving rally cries, circling wagons, reaching out to one another, and waiting for our chance to pounce.

No longer are we restricted to the newspaper reading over the coffee table, where we are limited to bouncing our ideas and opinions off of our significant other... Now, each and every citizen has a forum... and we are excited about it.

Now that we are able to see our results, the impact that we have had, the downing of the establishment candidates... politics in America will never be the same. Empty campaign promises, negativity, gaffes, and slips... they will all be reported, they will all be discussed, they will all be scrutinized... because, in our lifetime, we have seen the beginning of the populist movement, when the people... WE the people... have decided to take our government back.

Let's see what happens after tonight... but I am willing to bet the farm that the trends continue, and that the pundits will be left scratching their heads over two obscure dark horse candidates getting the nod, and heading into the general election.


  1. This all sounds well and good, except for several points, a few of which I will point out here:

    1) I see no more discernible support among blogs for Huckabee than for other candidates.

    2) The MSM has fawned all over Huckabee.

    3) Populism is a phony appeal, lacks grounding in first principles. What is Huckabee's vision for the role of government vs. other candidates' vision? This concerns me more than whether he uses rhetoric that appeals to "the people." What does he believe about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, republican virtue, limited government, federalism, tyranny, statesmanship, etc?

    4) An accepted contemporary definition of populism is: "an ideology which pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity and voice" - Sounds like John Edwards' two Americas, and a call for class warfare to me.

    5) Have you studied the tradition of populism in American history and/or political philosophy? Be careful what you wish for....

  2. Ben - Thanks for such a great comment! Let me address your questiosn as you hve posed them:

    1. The blogger support for Huckabee is not what I am pointing out, it is that there are so many bloggers period, for all candidates. That is what has breathed life into the grassroot political movements, and the everyday citizen... the idea of blogging has even spilled over into online news publications, where readers can now comment at the end of articles. Unheard of! So it is not a bump to any one candidate that I am celebrating with blogging, but rather a bump to the people who have a free tool to become actively involved.

    2. The MSM has fawned over all candidates at one point or another... well, mostly. But that is not what makes them establishment candidates. That comes from representing the establishment, the status quo, the "we can't get there, but we can try to get on the right track" mentallity of double speak (which means they will do nothing). Going against the establishment means, in my definition, that the candidate will get something done that may break the mold of political idealogies... because it is right (like Republicans working for real environmental issues)

    3. I have had the opportunity to talk, one-on-one, with Gov. Huckabee several times. I have asked him several times about his stance on the constitution and DoI. He is a Jeffersonian, and stands by this conviction (I wish he would mention it more than trying to play the "I'm Reagan" game). He has advocated on a number of times the importance of the 10th amendment, and as a Governor, I am sure that he understands it's importance more than the senators. Though he has advocated ideas such as the smoking ban in federal buildings, he is concerned with strict roles as defined in the constitution. This was discussed in great detail when his campaign was in it's infancy... and he has not been able to continue this message because folks care about the big issue stances... but having talked with him, I know that he is a man of his convictions, and he is a strict Jeffersonian.

    4. The definition of populism is correct, and it applies to Edwards spot on... there is a small change to my definition of populism, nationalist populism is more accurate, in that believing that "We The People" ARE the government fully pits us against the entity that the government has become since the New Deal (the Nanny State, and more recently Big Brother state). Huckabee's populism is a matter of motivating the people to take back the government by getting involved...Notice that the more people who get involved in the elections, the pundits begin talking about unkown outcomes, and uncertainty, etc, etc... this scares them... those who are scared are the established elites who don't want change for one reason or another... we middle-classers who want change should be loving it.

    5. I have, and the traditional sense is not pretty... BUT, the idea of 30% voter turnout is an embarrassment... that is what we get in any given election... so a push for more political activism, and a move towards nationalist populism, is a step in the right direction.

    Again, thanks for the great comment! I have a growing respect for your political opinion, and look forward to more dialogue!