Look, no one calls them-self a Redneck. Or a hothead, a racist, a zealot. Too negative and surely not us. I mean, so we have strong feelings, but they're always saddled by equally strong thinking, right?
The funny thing is, right now there's a thinking man who has intentionally shaken off this saddle in order to play directly into our feelings. In sharp contrast to Newt, there's also a candidate named Romney and a president named Obama. Each, however, seems much too saddled to appeal to an angry nation. Anger begets passion and passion demands instant gratification from the masses..
The nice word for this is Populism.
When times are hard, the populous want fast, furious and fundamentally simple answers. The very feelings that made our early heroes so heroic to us. Davey Crockett. Kit Carson. Buffalo Bill. Even Jesse James. Western legends of gut-level courage and fast-draw decision. In contrast to all those Dandies and Bankers back East.
Newt, a fast-draw legend...? Hardly. Except when he wants to be. Listen and learn. The high-IQ, rolly-polly wife-swapper comes across as this year's best raw-meat populist in either party. Watch the audience cheer him chew up his rivals, swallow reporters whole, and sneer at a strange, Kenya-based Black guy who spends all his time thinking!
Populism in American political history has brought us dozens of passionate candidates, and even a few presidents like Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Warren Harding. The 2012 election may be another case-study in passionate populism vs eastern education. In other words, forget the issues -- today's crucial debates about jobs, taxes, energy and terrorism. This time around it may all come down to which Goliath in the ring we cheer for the sheer gratification of his furious, fast-draw Goliathism.
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