I believe many people would agree with Brat’s excoriation of the “crooks up on Wall Street” who escaped punishment after their recklessness caused the 2008 financial meltdown. Some have described him as an economic populist stance, but I wonder if the description fits.

When NBC’s Chuck Todd asked about the minimum wage, Brat responded that “you cannot artificially make up wage rates.” So is this a debate most Americans are ready to have? Not whether the minimum wage should be raised, but whether it should exist?

Brat believes in fiscal restraint, which is a standard Republican position — until it veers into nihilistic territory such as refusing to raise the debt ceiling, as most tea party Republicans in the House have consistently voted. He questions the federal role in setting education policy — at a time when U.S. schools, by almost any measure, are falling behind.