Monday, February 22, 2010

Best Criticism of Glenn Beck I've Read Yet

Not surprising to me, it is served up by Bill Bennett.

Glenn is among the best talkers in the business of broadcast. I am not sure he’s a very good listener.

First, there is a good and strong tradition in alcohol and drug treatment that personal failings should not be extrapolated into the public sphere; that too often when this is done, conclusions are reached based on the wrong motives and, often, the wrong analysis. Glenn has made that mistake here and taken to our politics a cosmologizing of his own deficiencies. This is not a baseless criticism; they are his own deficiencies that he keeps publicly redounding to and analogizing to. It is wrong and he is wrong.

Second, for him to continue to say that he does not hear the Republican party admit its failings or problems is to ignore some of the loudest and brightest lights in the party. From Jim DeMint to Tom Coburn to Mike Pence to Paul Ryan, any number of Republicans have admitted the excesses of the party and done constructive and serious work to correct them and find and promote solutions. Even John McCain has said again and again that “the Republican party lost its way.” These leaders, and many others, have been offering real proposals, not ill-informed muttering diatribes that can’t distinguish between conservative and liberal, free enterprise and controlled markets, or night and day. Does Glenn truly believe there is no difference between a Tom Coburn, for example, and a Harry Reid or a Charles Schumer or a Barbara Boxer? Between a Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann and a Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank?

Third, to admit it is still “morning in America” but a “vomiting for four hours” kind of morning is to diminish, discourage, and disparage all the work of the conservative, Republican, and independent resistance of the past year. The Tea Partiers know better than this. I don’t think they would describe their rallies and resistance as a bilious purging but, rather, as a very positive democratic reaction aimed at correcting the wrongs of the current political leadership. The mainstream media may describe their reactions as an unhealthy expurgation. I do not.

Bennett acknowledges Beck's talkshow talent off the bat which sets the rest of the piece up as a criticism and not a screed. Then he provides the evidence that Beck ignores, namely the real differences between the parties and their members.

I'm tired of the endless calls for the GOP to offer "mea culpa" Kodak moments. Anyone who has been involved in politics for any substantial amount of time knows that the Republican Party has a very calculated relationship with conservatism and conservatives. This is because the GOP's job is to win elections as well as promote an agenda in the realm of the written and spoken word. Sometimes a conservative wins big time, sometimes a conservative falls flat... big time. It simply doesn't help to shout RINO! or sell-out!

So if Beck is determined to use the tortured drunk analogy for the party, he should at least grant that we have gotten past the first step. The "admission of powerlessness over moderates" in the party is almost a mantra. However, I'm with Dr. Bennett--the cosmologization of ones own experiences and shortcomings is not helpful and will not lead to some type of corporate "spiritual awakening" within the leadership of the party via some sort of collective 12-step process.


  1. I've been a big fan of Beck for a long time. He's extremely funny and smart and often right. I even understand his occasional hysteria and rationalize that I'm used to the political BS since I lived and worked in DC for so long, whereas it's new to a radio DJ, so it tends to excite the radio DJ a little bit more. However with his assertion that there is "no difference" between dems and repubs he has really jumped the shark.

    i think the pressure is getting to him. I hope that's all it is. I still think he's right about the bigger picture and that we are majorly f***ed.

  2. Kathleen, yeah, he is right about the bigger picture, and I enjoy him when he goofs off. Kudos to him for breaking the thing about Anita Dunn extoling Moa Tse Tung.

    I think he can pull back from this "cliff" about how bad the GOP is. He just needs to take a breath and go back to looking at facts rather than making assertions that make everybody who is angry about what is presently going on feel good for a minute or two.