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Not Right vs Left, but People vs Powerful


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Washington Examiner:

Not Right vs Left, but People vs Powerful
Senior Examiner Columnist
08/23/10 10:33 AM EDT

Every year, politicians run against Washington and against the system, but this year, this grab-the-pitchforks sentiment seems stronger than any time the last decade.

My column today argues that the real divide in the GOP today is not Old vs New, or Right vs Center, but it's Tea Party vs. K Street. John Fund's profile on Scott Rasmussen in this weekend's Wall Street Journal discusses this underlying dynamic:

"Americans don't want to be governed from the left or the right," Scott Rasmussen tells the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conference of 1,500 conservative and moderate legislators. "They want, like the Founding Fathers, to largely govern themselves with Washington in a supporting—but not dominant—role. The tea party movement is today's updated expression of that sentiment."

Put even more succinctly, Rasmussen says:

"The major division in this country is no longer between parties but between political elites and the people,"

Again, to some extent, this division is nothing new. Remember Al Gore tried to run on "the People, not the Powerful," but that didn't work in 2000. Adlai Stevenson was running to serve the interests of "Joe Smith, not General Motors."

But this year, this message seems to work. Given the disenchantment with government overspending and bailouts, it sounds like the opportunity for free-market populism.

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