Tags: Glenn Beck

We’re Divided Because One Half of Us Won’t Leave the Other Half Alone.


Also in today’s Jolt:

Did Glenn Beck ‘Tear the Country Apart’? Did Anybody?

You won’t believe who’s accusing Glenn Beck, formerly of Fox News and currently running The Blaze, of “helping tear the country apart”!

Well, maybe you will believe, but I’m not sure you’ll agree:

Later in the segment, [Megyn] Kelly asked Beck to reflect on his time as a TV host at Fox News. His answer may surprise some people.

Though he remembers the job being a lot of fun, Beck also revealed that he has some regrets about the way he handled himself on the air.

“I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language,” he said. “I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.”

First, has the country been “torn apart”?

I think you can set the bar for “torn apart” pretty high, considering how we’ve had an actual civil war in this country. We’ve had unsuccessful secession movements pretty regularly. Mansfield University geography professor Andrew Shears built a map to depict what the country would look like if every local secession movement had succeeded, a country of 124 states:

If Beck really means America is deeply politically divided, indeed, it is, but I’m not so sure our divisions would look that much better or different if Glenn Beck had remained a wacky “Morning Zoo” radio DJ his entire life. I’m glad Beck developed his interest and passion for politics, and developed The Blaze; he and his folks have been kind enough to have me on several times, including on Election Night 2012. Beck articulated a viewpoint, and built a devoted following, but he didn’t create the division in this country, he just reflected it.

We’re a divided country because we have 317 million people, and at least two major strands of thought and philosophy about the role of the government.

It’s a broad generalization, but we have red states and blue states. Ideally, we would have let each part of the country live the way it wants, as long as its laws didn’t violate the Constitution. You want high taxes and generous public benefits? Go ahead and have them; we’ll see if your voters vote with their feet. Let Illinois be Illinois, and let South Carolina be South Carolina.

Last fall I took a trip to Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding area. It seemed like every menu, store display, and sign emphasized that the offered products were entirely organic, biodegradable, free range, pesticide-free, fair trade, cruelty-free, and every other environmentally conscious label you can imagine. (The television show Portlandia did a pretty funny sketch about the ever-increasing, ever-more-specific variety of recycling bins, with separate bins for the coffee cup, the coffee-cup lid, the coffee-cup sleeve, and the coffee-cup stirrer; there’s a separate bin if the lid has lipstick on it.) Maybe it’s just a natural consequence that when you have Mount Rainier and Puget Sound outside your window, you become a crunchy tree-hugging environmentalist. If that’s the way they want to live up there, that’s fine. The food was mostly excellent. Let the Seattle-ites elect a Socialist to their city council. Let Sea-Tac try a $15/hour minimum wage and see if the airport Starbucks starts charging 20 bucks for a small latte.

As long as other parts of the country are allowed to pursue their own paths, that’s fine.

But a big part of the problem is that we have an administration in Washington that is determined to stomp out the state policies it doesn’t like. The president doesn’t want there to be any right-to-work states. His Department of Justice is doing everything possible to obstruct Louisiana’s school-choice laws. They’re fighting state voter-ID laws in court, insisting that it violates the Constitution, even though the Supreme Court ruled, 6 to 3, that requiring the showing of an ID does not represent an undue burden on voters.

This you-must-comply attitude can be found in the states as well, of course. Hell, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to drive pro-lifers, Second Amendment supporters, and what he labels “anti-gay” out of his state. Mayors decree that they won’t allow Chick-fil-A in their cities because of the opinions of the owners. In Oregon, state officials decreed that a baker must make a wedding cake for a gay wedding; the state decrees you are not permitted to turn down a work request that you believe violates your conscience or religious beliefs.

The country would be “torn apart” less if we were allowed to address more of our public-policy problems on a local or state basis. But anti-federalism is in the cellular structure of liberalism. All of their solutions are “universal,” “comprehensive,” or “sweeping.” Everything must be changed at once, for everyone, with no exceptions. Perhaps it’s a good approach for some other species, but not human beings.

That’s not Glenn Beck’s fault.

Tags: Glenn Beck , Politics , Federalism , Barack Obama

Glenn Beck, Preferring Third-Party Ron Paul Over Gingrich


From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt, a look at the latest potential headache for Republicans…

Say What? Glenn Beck Would Prefer a Ron Paul Third Party Bid Over Newt?

Uh-oh: “Glenn Beck said this morning on his radio show that if Newt Gingrich is the nominee and Ron Paul runs third party, he’d consider voting for Ron Paul over Newt Gingrich, and he hates Ron Paul’s policies on the Middle East.”

Bryan Preston is in disbelief: “Beck notes that he hates Paul’s Middle East policies but, gun to his head, he would consider Paul over the “progressives” Romney and Gingrich. There’s much more about Paul to oppose than just his MidEast policies, particularly for someone like Beck who has done so much to promote “9-12″ thinking on terrorism. Ron Paul is a Truther. His 1990s newsletters run straight off into racism and anti-Semitism. The only thing a Paul third-party candidacy would do is re-elect Barack Obama. And if Paul thinks he may have someone of Beck’s influence behind him, he’s that much more likely to bolt once the GOP nomination goes to someone else. Glenn Beck is playing with fire.”

Playing with fire? Well, Beck has been known to pour gasoline every now and then.

The Ace of Spades is pretty furious: “The Rodeo Clown really wants Obama to stay in office, huh? This, of course, will encourage Ron Paul to do what he probably is already inclined to do. Wonderful. Apparently some among us talk a good game about the crucial need of removing Obama from office, but sort of have a kind of Battered Wife Syndrome, and just can’t quit the big lug. Some of us are apparently going to work our very hearts out to make sure the batterer who gives our lives meaning remains president.”

Nice Deb is ready to quit Beck, declaring that he has jumped the shark: “I’ve always been inclined to like the guy – but no more.  No more. I can’t see how any right-minded, self-respecting Republican can  have anything to do with Glenn Beck at this point. He’d throw Israel under the bus over Gingrich?

Unbelievable. I understand that politics gets a little heated at times, and we have our little disagreements over candidates – but this? This is crazy and suicidal. Beck has a large audience, and I hope to heck most of them leave him over this. I can only hope (and pray) that Ron Paul has enough love for his country that he not do this.”

…As for how Newt thinks of Beck’s criticism, he said Monday, “ I don’t know,” Gingrich responded to the charges, laughing. “It depends on what standard you’re using, you know? The fact is that I balanced the budget for four consecutive years. And we did so while cutting taxes and increasing employment so people went back to work, they left welfare, they left food stamps, they left unemployment, they left Medicaid. Who else has a record of that level of achievement? I worked with Reagan in ‘79, ‘80. I worked with Reagan for 8 years in defeating the Soviet Empire. I think those are relatively conservative credentials.”

Tags: Glenn Beck , Newt Gingrich , Ron Paul

Hey, We’ll Get Through This in the End, Right, Glenn? . . . Glenn?


Look, I know America’s going through some tough times right now. I know that some days, the news can be depressing, as if there’s no sense of hope. Sometimes it feels like the epic problems are stacking up like a Dagwood sandwich — unbelievable debt, long-term unemployment, a housing market with no signs of rebound, a war in Libya that’s poorly explained with no long-term strategy, a fight in Afghanistan that just seems to go on forever with no sense of progress, maniacs in Afghanistan and Pakistan killing over a burned book, violence on our southern border getting worse, natural disasters, nuclear reactors on the edge of disaster, governments shaking and falling in the Middle East with no real sense of what will replace them . . .

But we know that we don’t need to worry about it all coming to a horrific end until somebody who watches and worries over all of these crises, like Glenn Beck, suddenly stops doing his show and . . .

. . . Oh, fudge.

(Actually, rumors of a Beck–Fox News split had been going around for a while . . . so this isn’t a sign of the Apocalypse.

I think.)

Tags: Glenn Beck

Is That Glenn and Bill I Hear?


This anecdote strikes me as pretty revealing:

“When our canvassers call on our members on their doorsteps, they hear Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly in the background,” says Dan Heck, who heads a massive union-sponsored program in Ohio devoted to persuading its members to vote this November for candidates who would mightily displease Beck and O’Reilly.

Heck’s organization, Working America, was created by the national AFL-CIO in 2004 to reach out to white, working-class voters in key swing states such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. “Right now, we talk to 25,000 people every week,” says Karen Nussbaum, the program’s national director, “and we’ll knock on a million doors in the next two months. The people we talk to are the volatile 40 percent in the middle of the electorate. They’re angry, and they’re not sure who to blame or what to do about it.”

Perhaps the AFL-CIO can override what their members are hearing from Beck, O’Reilly, and the rest. But I would note that most of them had to join a union to work in the jobs they did (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are not “right to work” states); they’re voluntarily watching Fox News Channel.

Tags: 2010 , Glenn Beck

Guns Are More Popular Than Politics


A couple of closing thoughts from the NRA convention in Charlotte:

* Newt Gingrich is really starting to look like an elder statesman. Then again, sooner or later we all do.

* There were more than 600 booths at the NRA convention; I would be lucky if I could name 50 of the companies. If you’re wondering where America’s small businesses went, here they are: small manufacturing companies from just about every state in the union, making sights, hunting equipment, knives, holsters, safes and cases, gloves, winter gear, and of course, firearms.

* I watched Glenn Beck’s address to the NRA audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena from the floor of the convention center after it was closed. A couple of the cleaning guys who were around to vacuum the carpet and clean out the trash cans stopped to watch a good ten minutes of Beck’s speech. They are, I expect, not who the MSM pictures as Beck’s demographic of fans.

* I’m informed that David Keene, member of the NRA’s Board of Directors, said Smith and Wesson sends a survey with every gun sold. In 2008, 9 percent said that it was their first purchase of a firearm. In 2009, it was up to 30 percent.

* This year’s turnout at CPAC hit a record with more than 10,000; this year’s NRA convention had “close to 80,000 attendees.”

Tags: Glenn Beck

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