From Kevin Williamson at National Review, Wishful Thinking, Again:
Nobody wants to be the first to offer any policy specifics, because there are only two kinds of policy specifics: Those that are transparently unserious and those that are unpopular, at least among some constituency. Nobody is volunteering to put the bell on the cat.
Populism does not mean putting the American people first. Populism means telling the American people whatever it is they want to hear, even if it is bull and everybody knows it.
Populism is telling the people what they want to hear. Leadership is telling them what they need to hear.