Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Potential Republican presidential candidates are neck-deep in the "money primary," schlepping from one wealthy watering hole to another, kissing the proper palms, stroking the insatiable egos, and if successful, pocketing commitments and cash.

The “ideas primary” apparently is still a distant destination. Republican pundits have decided that they must compete on a populist message. With the economy growing, they’ve turned to bemoaning the "people in the shadows" (Ohio Gov. John Kasich), demanding a revival of (Jeb Bush), or pledging a quality,  education, "regardless of background or birthright," even while trying to slash hundreds of millions from public universities (Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker).

Echoing President Obama, Bush described the "opportunity gap as the defining issue of our time." In what was billed as a major economic speech in Detroit, Bush was content to trot out old conservative bromides on small government and competition as the answer to that challenge; his promised “new vision” and a “plan of action” would come… later. His basic “principle” was “growth above all.” A growing economy—at 4 percent, twice the current rate of growth—is Bush’s fix for what ails us.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.