Larison doesn't buy Cole's comparison of Palin and Ahmadi:
If you look past a few superficial and ultimately meaningless similarities, it becomes very difficult to see how Ahmadinejad is anything like Palin. Ahmadinejad is more like Huey Long with an engineering degree (not normally the profile of a right-wing populist), whose power base is the rural and urban poor, and who has pushed for redistribution of wealth in his campaign rhetoric and in his governing policies. In other words, when it comes to actual policy Ahmadinejad is an actual economic, and even left-leaning, populist. Because of the peculiarities of Alaskan sources of state revenue, Palin was able to play at this for a time with her tax hikes on oil companies, but in her incarnation as a national political figure she has become the antithesis of all of this.
I suppose both do adopt a working-class Everyman/woman shtick, but once again when it comes to substance Palin endorses the usual pro-corporate economic policies of her party. Ahmadinejad’s tenure has been an economic disaster as he has tried to buy his way out of economic woes with easy credit and spending, but this is a function of his genuine, if poorly-conceived and even more poorly-executed, economic populism. Palin’s populism is purely rhetorical and symbolic: she is a journalism major who rails against journalists, and a politician who rails against the political class.
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