Daniel Larison and Rod Dreher both discuss the status of populism in the Republican party. Larison’s reference to “folksy mummery,”accurately sums up the substance of Republican populism these days.

In their defense, deploying faux populism has been reasonably successful strategy for the Republican party (see Bush, George W.) as  they devote themselves to the interests of corporations and the wealthy and mock “elitist” Democrats for looking French. A few years back I quoted Rich Lowry’s positively gushing article on the  flavor-of-the-month at the time, Sen. George Allen:

 Allen has benchmarks for whether he will instantly find someone compatible or not. If he likes NASCAR is one, and “if his driver is Earnhardt Jr., that’s someone I agree with.” . . . If he is a rough-and-tumble Oakland Raiders fan, that’s another good indicator. If he is a Harley-Davidson rider, that’s still another. These are all signs, as Allen puts it, of, “good, individualistic, non-conformist minds.”

Allen was a rising star in 2005 and may have been the 2008 Republican nominee except for YouTube. Rick Perry isn’t doing so good these days, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he is flopping because Republicans are searching for a real populist.

And I should add that while Dreher wrote, “It is simply a fact that on the Right today, there is no constituency for breaking up concentrations of wealth and power, except government wealth and government power,” I assume that he meant to add the phrase, when Democrats are in power.