The tag never made any sense. But now, in the wake of Tea Party pols and Tea Party media racing to defend BP from the bullying Obama White House, it's officially insane (not to mention incredibly lazy) for the press to describe the anti-Obama movement as “populist.”
You can't call them “populists” when they're defending a giant oil company that's in the process of destroying the Gulf of Mexico. You can't call them “populist” when they protest the fact a giant oil company has agreed to set aside $20 billion to compensate working Americans impacted by the giant spill.
By defending Rep. Joe Barton's apology to BP yesterday, Tea Party screamers made it clear that the movement is built around two guiding principles: Hating Obama and praying to big business. Populism--“supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite”- is a no-show.
As I wrote last year, after watching the so-called “populist” mini-mobs storm town hall meetings [emphasis added]:
Aside from today's rampant partisan hatred, which has no connection with “populism,” there's the inconvenient fact that conservative activists today pretty much worship big business. After all, members stormed town hall forums this summer and raised holy hell, freaked out at the prospect of private insurance giants having to face public competition. It's a movement that literally protested -- and spread lies about proposed health care reform -- at the behest of insurance companies.
Question: Has “populism” been used by the press really just as a placeholder for “white” and “southern”?
UPDATED: Tea Party cheerleaders in the right-wing media are incensed that more Republicans won't come out and condemn the fact that BP is being forced to take ($) responsibility for the spill. They want to know why more Republicans won't apologize to BP.