Could Republicans nominate a free-market populist? 

Given that bailouts spurred much Tea Party rage, that K Street pushed ObamaCare across the finishline, and that President Obama is working overtime to woo back the big money that bankrolled his 2008 campaign, conservatives looking for an electoral niche naturally should try to tap into a free-market populist niche.

I'm not the only one saying that. Luigi Zingales at the City Journal makes the same point in an article this month.

Zingales examines public sentiment about Big Business and sees evidence that "by articulating a platform that defends free markets but remains autonomous from big business, the Republican Party can gather support from both the Tea Party and independents."

I've suggested that Tim Pawlenty could be this guy:

For Pawlenty's schtick of "bold truth-telling" to carry weight, he must go after the subsidy sucklers and bailout bandits. If big banks, energy companies, and K Street lobbyists start complaining about Pawlenty, we'll know he's doing it right.

I suspect, though, that no Republican really wants to battle big business. Of course, Barack Obama doesn't, either -- he just wants to pretend he is.

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Timothy P. Carney

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