The flip side to this DougJ post about those Bainbridge posts (don't worry, I popped a Gravol before writing something that wankerific and nausea-inducing) is that a big part of the Tea Party's success, among non-racists anyway, is the complete lack of a populist appeal from the Dems.
Sure, Obama has managed to get some things done which will directly benefit the lower and middle classes, but none of it was sold as populism. Which leaves a vacuum that the Tea Party has filled, even if they filled it with crap. Deficit reduction isn't populist, but a "get big government off my back" sentiment is -- just as health care reform is populist, but a "let's make sure the insurance companies have a soft landing" sentiment isn't. I don't know whether the Dems are afraid of populism or just forgotten how to use it, but either way what should be a natural argument for them has become a foreign one.
Granted, it's hard to sell your policies as populist when the corporate media has no interest in reporting it as such, but the Dems need to figure out a way to do it. I still think Obama's a lock for 2012 simply due to a lack of competition, but 2014 and 2016 will be on us damn quick, and if they don't pick up the populist banner someone else will.