Quote Of The Day – Beckless

Quote Of The Day – Beckless


“The role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality. My hunch is that he is a comet blazing across the media sky right now—and will soon flame out. Whether he does or not, he isn’t the face or disposition that should represent modern-day conservatism. At a time when we should aim for intellectual depth, for tough-minded and reasoned arguments, for good cheer and calm purpose, rather than erratic behavior, he is not the kind of figure conservatives should embrace or cheer on.”
– Pete Wehner in Commentary magazine

Obviously I agree, and not just because I think Beck is a hack.

We need REAL, honest debate and the Becks of the world (Hannity, O’Reilly, Malloy, Rhodes) are only their to make a fast buck off of people’s ignorance. These folks aren’t truth tellers. They merely 21st century snake oil salesman, only this time they’re bottling impotent partisan rage and saying that you can make a difference if you just scream loudly enough.

Well, we’re seeing where all this screaming is leading and it’s not good…especially online. The internet is lousy with thousands of garbage blogs that do nothing but parrot Beck’s lunacy and the net effect is a very, very small minority that gets attention from the media because they’re simply too crazy to ignore.

And that’s why conservatives need to run away from this guy as quickly as they can. Because while he may be responsible for a drop in Obama’s popularity numbers, he’s doing absolutely nothing to bolster yours. You still are less trusted than Democrats in never every category and you’re not going to win elections on the basis of deficit reduction alone.

In any event, fair warning. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.

  • calder

    “These folks are truth tellers.”

    You mean : These folks are NOT truth tellers.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    Err, umm, yeah.

    Fixed! :-)

  • http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    I found another error, “You still are less trusted than Democrats in never every category.”

    Are you drunk Justin? Get off my internets!

  • gerryf

    We need REAL, honest debate and the Becks of the world (Hannity, O’Reilly, Malloy, Rhodes)

    Trying to maintain your centrist credentials by throwing two liberal talkies under the bus with two conservatives, or do you really put all of these people in the same category?

    As little as I respect Malloy and Rhodes, heck, even O’Reilly, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable putting anyone except maybe Hannity in the same sentence as Beck.

    Beck is bat-crap crazy. We’re talking Howard Beale nutso.

    I used to be amused by his rantings, but he has been encouraged and enabled by his network and his audience to the point where he’s a damned greek tragedy–unfortunately, there are is a huge number of people who are just this side of crazy who are going along for the ride.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    No gerry, I’ve talked about Malloy and Rhodes many times before. And Olbermann. And Moore. And Maher.

    And I think I’ve gotten past maintaining my “centrist” credentials, don’t you?

  • http://www.derivepolitics.com Alex Zhao

    If you stop taking Glenn Beck seriously and see him as a humor artist it becomes more bearable.

    At least Jon Stewart isn’t going to become unemployed anytime soon, all thanks to Beck.

  • http://tmips.com Todd

    The likes of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh would be “entertaining”, if only there weren’t so many people who take every word they say seriously. Then again, I guess there is a little comfort to be had in the fact that for the most part, those who worship at the alter of Beck are the same people who think “Sarah” would make an awesome President.

  • gerryf

    I was being sophistic….

    But, still, the difference between all of those you mentioned (not quite sure Mahr belongs in that list as he is more of a satirist) is the followers.

    Rush, Beck, Hannity, and to a lesser extend O’Reilly have fantatical followers to far greater extent that anyone on the left. They foment rage and their audiences have long since checked their critical thinking skills at the door. I can only imagine that Rush, Hannity and O’Reilly sit in their office and giggle at how stupid thier own audiences are–Beck just sits in his office and giggles for no apparant reason.

    Also, Rush. Beck, Hannity, and to a lesser extend O’Reilly present themselves as news sources (and Olberman, too), whereas the rest present themselves as news commentators.

    This puts them in a very different arena.

  • http://SHadowofDiogenes.blogs.com/shadow/ Paul

    Pundits like Beck and Limbaugh turn me off. I have some conservative views and some liberal views, but Limbaugh and Beck don’t speak for me. They speak for the sheep that adore them.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    You complain about Beck an awful lot. It borders on obsession. I can agree and have previously agreed that Beck is in his own class of kook. He’s “off-his-meds”deranged. THis has been well-established. So why not try ignoring him for a bit.

    You might mention kooky left pundits from time to time, but when it comes to who gets the headlines for being a kooky pundit here, your record isextraordinarily consistent…you focus your complaints on the right, probably by a 10 or 15 to 1 ratio, at a guess..

    So I’m glad you think you’ve gotten past polishing your centrist credentials.You’re not a centrist. You’re a partisan democrat with moderate positions.

  • Agnostick

    Really, kranky? So, in order to be an authentic, “credentialed” centrist… a person needs to make up things, just to show balance?

    Despite the fact that most of the kooks and krackpots on cable TV, AM radio, and extremist blogs/websites really are camped out in the Right/neoconservative corner of the political backyard… you think we need to make up or invent some of the same people in the Left/liberal corner? Or the statist/socialist/”big guhvmint” corner?

    Can you provide some specific examples, past or present, of these “kooky left pundits” that have consistently said or done things as outrageous as Beck or Limbaugh?

    [email protected]

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    I’m sorry folks, but if you won’t accept that fact that right-wing pundits have a massively disproportionate share of the market, say more crazy stuff that is repeated by the media more often and then need to be called out more often, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Folks like Rhodes and Malloy just don’t have a following and they’re not in the news as often. And the news drives the conversation.

    And kranky, you’re right. I’m not a centrist nor have I ever claimed I am. I’m a moderate Dem and Donklephant exists as a place for people to come together and talk about issues civilly. Done and done.

    Moreover, why do we continue to have this same conversation? I’m not claiming to be centrist. And this post was about a Republican calling out Beck. Again, odd. I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, so let us all know.

  • bookreader

    Ronald Reagan:


    “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals – if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

  • http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/ TMLutas

    With the Birchers, we had William F Buckley who had the gravitas and the respect on the right and in the society at large needed to read them out of the conservative movement. With the politics of personal destruction taking out so many on the right, who is left who could do the same to Beck today? It seems like Mark Levin’s trying along with a number of others but left wing scorched earth tactics have made the job a great deal harder.

  • Agnostick
  • gerryf


    Are you really suggesting that Mark Levin is in the same class as Buckley? That he is somehow trying to curve the fringe movement on the right?

    Levin? The guys almost as big a whack job as Beck.

    Buckley was a respectable, entertaining, insightful conservative who could discuss topics rather than shout nonsense. He’s rolling over in his grave that you even mentioned him in the same paragraph as Beck.

  • http://scrutinizer62.blogspot.com Wanderer

    You’re missing the big picture. These guys only care about one thing – ratings. The more outrageous they are, the bigger audience they attract (the Howard Stern model), and therefore the more money they make.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner


    Oh, I know. Trust me…I know. And it just makes Fox News that much more craven. Because they really DO NOT care about reporting the news. They’d much rather create their own version of it and package it for a niche, but loyal, audience. It’s pretty sad, but there it is nonetheless.

  • http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/ TMLutas

    Agnostick – I gave Sullivan quite a lot of chances and long ago dropped him from my to read list. I won’t bore you with the reasons why but lately I’ve read that he seems to have morphed into the most vagina obsessed gay man on the planet. Yawn.

    gerryf – I’m suggesting the exact opposite, that Levin isn’t worthy of carrying Buckley’s dinner jacket and it’s his less than imposing intellectual stature that will doom his Beck marginalization effort to failure.

    Justin Gardner – The Murdoch model is to find an underserved portion of the national media market and provide outlets to serve that market. In the US, that means conservative news and lots of large chested cute women. In other countries (like the PRC) it means other things. You’re wrong that it’s craven. It is, however, nonideological. Had CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN stopped the liberal spin, Fox would never have risen to its current heights because there would no longer be a gaping hole where even a poor rendition of conservative principles would draw a large audience.

  • LantermanC

    I listen to conservative radio sometimes when I’m driving simply because I like flipping channels and don’t like to listen to commercials, and because I think it’s good to hear all viewpoints, even if I don’t agree with them.

    It seems like the weakness in the Republican party after Bush is destroying itself. So many parties are trying to graph a piece of the Republican voters and there is no real direction; just a bunch of radicals/crazies trying to get their piece of the pie. I have no real affection for the Republican party, but the weaker the Republican party is, the stronger the Democratic party becomes, and that is certainly not something I want either. I would want roughly balanced parties so if one party abuses its power the other party can provide a balancing act. I thought getting soundly defeated in the 2008 election would force Republicans to rethink their priorities and head in a new direction, instead I think by the time 2012 rolls around, they’ll still be as lost and fragmented as they are now.

  • http://thepurplecenter.blogspot.com/ John Burke

    I think it’s very understandable that some conservatives are training fire on Beck, but not because he’s a “hack.”

    Beck strikes me as the opposite of a “hack.” He’s a flake and a loose cannon. Although the other conservative talk and cable guys Justin mentioned have their differences and some come off as less reasonable than others, in a pinch, they are all Republicans. Even Limbaugh, after years of damning McCain, got on board last year.

    In contrast, Beck seems to have no stake in the institution of the Republican Party. Whether he should be characterized as a conservative, a” populist,” a libertarian, a “Perotist,” a showman or just a snook, he gives every sign of worrying more about projecting himself than protecting Republicans or advancing the GOP politically.

    That difference is important to all of us — especally those of us who call ourselves centrists. The Democratic Party is heavily influenced by its left wing, but its institutiional needs moderate the left and keep most of it in check. Similarly. the Republican Party is deeply influenced by its right wing, but its institutional needs moderate the right and keep most of it in check.

    When a guy like Beck comes along who has a major platform to reach millions of people — presumably many or most of whom are the voters who make up the right wing’s support — and who does not much care about the GOP, the party should be very concerned.

    It’s not that Beck us going to launch a third party; it’s that he can keep stirring up right-leaning voters in ways that are harmful to the party when elections roll around. There was a bit of this from Rush, in particular, last year. Remember when Rush was knocking McCain and urging the ditto heads to get behind one or another of the “true” conservatives? But in the end, he got on board — as might have been expected.

    For conservatives and the GOP, beck is an unknown who doesn’t seem to want to play that game.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Why do we continue to have this same conversation? I’m not claiming to be centrist. And this post was about a Republican calling out Beck. Again, odd. I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at, so let us all know.

    Happy to, Justin. We keep having this conversation because you keep flogging the dead horse, and every time you do, I tell you.

    I periodically need to complain about your gross overweighting of complaints about conservative pundits, largely the kookiest and most unbalanced ones. I am happy to agree that Limbaugh and Beck are odious jerks. I am also happy to keep complaining that you have lots and lots (and lots!!) of posts about them.

    You seldom if ever feature the statements of the GOP leaders in congress. If there are any reasonable serious voices in the GOP, you seem uninterested in featuring them with any regularity here. At the same time, you seem VERY interested in supporting the notion that two talk show kooks. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, are currently the best representatives of conservative thought.

    Sadly, that’s probably a good way to get more eyeballs for the site. But it’s a bad way to foster constructive political thought. IMO, neither Limbaugh nor Beck deserves a seat at the table of grown-up political thought. But you keep seating them at the Donklephant table, thereby giving more voice to loud idiots.

    And that’s why conservatives need to run away from this guy as quickly as they can.

    See, that’s where it gets comical. How can they run from Beck and Limbaugh when every statement either makes is immediately stapled to their backs by folks like you.

    The GOP has a big problem with angry populism right now. The best they can do is try to talk sense and ride out the storm. Progressives are loving taking the position that the GOP should step up, denounce these guys, and throw them out the front door.

    But that’s a terrible move against a kooky populist, it raises their stature. Republicans don’t directly engage Beck and Limbaugh for the same reason the US does not respond to the ranting of Ahmadinejad…because they know the only way to win is not to play.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Comparative political demonology? Borrring, and that’s why I constantly complain when talk veers that way.

    Really, kranky? So, in order to be an authentic, “credentialed” centrist… a person needs to make up things, just to show balance?

    Despite the fact that most of the kooks and krackpots on cable TV, AM radio, and extremist blogs/websites really are camped out in the Right/neoconservative corner of the political backyard… you think we need to make up or invent some of the same people in the Left/liberal corner? Or the statist/socialist/”big guhvmint” corner?

    That’s an awful lot of faith for Agnostick. Lefty kooks have different haunts, that’s all. There are plenty of lefty kook websites. Conservatives “dominate” AM radio comparatively speaking for demographic reasons. Meanwhile, liberals get far better play in the movies and tv drama and mainstream media. And in colleges. And people with clipboards who hassle me on the street at lunchtime. Even if I agreed that the known righties were kookier, it’s made up by the much wider bandwidth that the liberal perspective enjoys.

    Now I’ve argued many times against conservatives trying to make the strong case for liberal bias in mainstream media, movies, colleges, and so on. I don’t agree that its extent is as vast or deep as conservatives whine. But it certainly exists. It’s more than just discernable, it’s obvious.

    I went to college and graduate school ion Massachusetts. I’ve SEEN the lefty kooks. The only reason they don’t have TV shows is that their material sucks and lacks any resonance. I’m sure you could twist that into proof that the right’s kookier, But I think it’s an issue of timing and current bandwidth. If conservatives came to dominate the philosophical outlook of popular culture in TVs and movies, and conservatives supplanted the liberal bias in higher education, then I think liberal kooks would start to get good ratinga on talk radio and a foam-mouthed following for a niche cable tv program.

    Can you provide some specific examples, past or present, of these “kooky left pundits” that have consistently said or done things as outrageous as Beck or Limbaugh?

    If I tried, I’m sure I could come uo with examples that satisfied ME.. But since I’m certain I wouldn’t persuade you to change your mind, why bother? You’re already convinced, you take it all on faith now, and collect only supporting evidence.

    Partisan badminton where we trade anecdotes that suggest that the right is worse or the left is worse are more harmful to us all than simply wasting our time.It just lets the partisan have more stage, when its the zealous partisans who are such a big part of the problem of a largely unbudging status quo..

    As I said before, Beck is on his own own level of kookiness, which I attribute just as much to his mental state (paranoia, agitation) as to ideology. Beyond that, I think Michael Moore and Lou Dobbs are just as kooky, smug, and mean-spirited as Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. None of these folks is insightful, or helpful.

  • Chris

    “If there are any reasonable serious voices in the GOP”

    there’s your problem right there.

  • gerryf

    Thank you for clarifying TM, I completely misread you.

  • Mike A.

    From a Fresh Air interview by Terri Gross with David Weigel on 9/23 about the right and Glenn Beck

    David Weigel and he writes for the Web magazine The Washington Independent where he covers the Republican Party and the remaking of the right.

    “Mr. WEIGEL: And that’s something you might see on a talk-show, but Fox has just taken an out-and-out oppositional approach to the Obama administration. Not just with the tea parties, but I mean Glenn Beck’s show I don’t think can be overrated as an influence in building a popular and intellectual opposition to the administration. More than anything, you can compare it to Keith Olbermann’s show during the Bush administration, it’s not close. I mean Beck, day after day is getting conservative movement intelligence, asking his readers to send him stuff and going after members of the Obama administration. It’s kind of unheard of. The advocacy is just unheard of and strange…..

    I mean on the Constitutional issue in general, you’ve got a guy who’s getting the best ratings on Fox, telling people every day about the Tree of Revolution, that Barack Obama is connected to ACORN, is connected to SEIU. All of this is rooted in the ideas of Saul Alinsky who wanted to overthrow the government. I mean, if I could boil it down to political issues, it’s ACORN and czars. But I think the influence has just to been to turn the national discourse from what it was nine months ago when we were saying we’re in real trouble, what can or should the government do to fix it, to are we on the road to fascism?”

  • http://ShadowofDiogenes.blogs.com/shadow/ Paul

    The sad thing is that so-called ordinary and basically decent people listen to the swill that a flake like Glen Beck puts out. What he and Limbaugh and O’Reilly are really about are ratings. Add Rachel Maddow and the odious Keith Olbermann to that list too.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    “If there are any reasonable serious voices in the GOP”

    there’s your problem right there.

    No, actually the belief you express is the problem. I’m fortunate to know reasonable serious voices on both sides. Then there are the idiots playing partisan demonology. Like you. You are far more similar to those you despise on the right than you know.

  • http://thepurplecenter.blogspot.com/ John Burke

    Some posters seem intent on insisting that there are no serious reasonable voices in the GOP, and that’s why beck et al. get all the attention.

    To be sure, you can dismiss whatever you don’t like as unserious or unreasonable, but most serious reasonable people should agree that such folks as John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Lindsay Graham, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Chris Christie (running against Corzine), Rob Simmons (running against Dodd), Gov. Jody Rell, Judd Gregg, Charlie Christ, Lamar Alexander, George Will, David Brooks, Michael Barone, Peggy Noonan, and Joe Scarborough, to name just a few, are both serious and reasonable.

    That doesn’t answer why Beck has a big audience. On the other hand, Beck also has no governmental authority and isn’t likely to get any if the GOP makes a comeback to power in 2010 and/or 2012.

  • Trescml

    Change can be very scary thing to people. It sounds good on paper, but when it starts to happen and you start to wonder how it all will change your way of life. Glen Beck is great at tapping into (and probably exploiting) these fears. He manages to take uneasy feelings people have and validate them and then super charge them into concrete examples. Do I agree with him-heck no, but I can understand why people watch.

    Moderate opinions don’t generate buzz and don’t get ratings. Saying the world is going to end if we do or don’t have universal coverage does get ratings.

    Do I wish we were a country that could turn out a million people on the national mall to demand a well crafted heath care compromise, or a balanced climate change bill? Sure, but until there is a viable 3rd party option, I don’t see that happening.

  • http://detroitskeptic.com/blogs Nick Benjamin

    Third parties do not encourage the major two parties to co-operate more. In fact a third party typically forces a major party closer to the middle, which in turn forces the other party to become even more extremist.

    Jon Burke, we can argue all day about what “serious” means. But we can agree the only Republican who is serious about compromise on health care is Olympia Snowe. Grassley publicly supported the individual mandate a month ago, but today derides it as anti-freedom. Most of the rest never even pretended to be interested in compromise on this issue.

  • Chris

    Kranky look in the mirror you shill

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Chris, Shill for who or what exactly? I’m curious. By the way, I voted for Obama, and like him quite a bit.

    Nick, I for one am happy to acknowledge that most of the GOP is utterly uninterested in compromise as that has been framed by folks like you and Justin. They believe the reforms being proposed would make things worse, not better. So they aren’t playing.

    It’s true. You’re…right. The GOP is uninterested in compromise….that passes only some of the democrats pet ideas instead of all of them. They might agree that something should be done, but they won’t compromise to support a bill which includes many things that they honestly don’t believe will improve things. What complete and total bastards they are, huh?

    Now, I don’ happen to entirely agree with the GOP perspective. But I also don’t think that compromise is intrinsically virtuous. In other words, I don’t think that the GOP’s current position is morally suspect. That’s what you and Justin seem to me to be implying when you complain that the GOP won’t compromise. Like they aren’t doing their job of failing to keep their constituents interests in mind.

    Whatever passes for reform will be ALL credited to or blamed on the democrats. This dynamic is what is giving democrats such cold feet.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    John, well said.

    I think Beck has an audience because he is selling fear and self-righteousness to a a group that feels disenfranchised and under-represented.He pats their butts and tells them it’s not their fault. He panders to them and gives them demons to blame. This is a time-tested formula.

    His anxious, weepy, apocalyptic vibe is probably the creepiest part of it for me.

  • Chris

    “In other words, I don’t think that the GOP’s current position is morally suspect. ”

    I guess the 2.5 mil that Baucus has received from the health insurance companies doesn’t impact his position on reform at all does it? Or the half mil that Paul Ryan just got. They would be opposed to reform regardless of the policies, because they’re being paid to oppose. I’m sure many democrats are as well. But pretending that this is all ideological is retarded and naive.

  • Angela

    Glen Beck, Michael Moore, and other’s like them, play on the emotions of people. They don’t offer any real solutions because frankly, they don’t have the ability, or the intelligence, to firmly define or grasp, the problem at hand. They most want to recruit people to their side.

    Its emotional political thinking. Its scary.

  • Angela

    I get a little tired of the extremism in this country. Issues facing this country are complicated, multi-faceted, many dimensional type problems that require thoughtful, if not analytical, assessment if there is a solution to be found. Yet it seems these issues get reduced to partisan ideology and all or nothing thinking. Instead of real solutions, we end up with band aids.