Tag Archives: Glenn Beck

Dearly beloved

Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, featuring a deluded Glenn Beck cheerleading his equally deluded if devoted followers, wasn’t really a rally, not like you and I understand rallies to be. It wasn’t political, Beck insisted — calling on his followers not to bring signs so as to avoid the racist bullshit his folks generally bring with them to such events.

So, no, not a rally. What it was was a wedding, the glorious union of the Tea Party and the Religious Right. Kinda like one of those Moonie weddings from way back.

Dave Neiwert at Crooks and Liars tipped me off to this realization.

Previously, most of the Tea Party debate focused on secular matters — taxes, health care, immigration. As Digby points out, the religious elements were always present as an undercurrent, but they had been mostly suppressed as the movement initially attempted to sell itself as a “spontaneous” and secular response to Obama’s policies. Now, they’re out in the open.

That is a deeply disturbing development, and one that will bear heavily on the direction this metastasizing madness takes.

Worse than the wedding itself was the reception the night before at the Kennedy Center.

Dubbed “America’s Divine Destiny,” Beck used the event, according to AlterNet’s Peter Montgomery, “to portray himself as an instrument of God prepared to lead America out of its spiritual darkness.”

Beck, who seems to view himself in increasingly messianic terms, says he is helping to launch another religious “Great Awakening” that will shape American history and promised attendees that on Saturday they would be “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Beck has plenty of company among those who saw Barack Obama’s election as a sign that politics is failing America, and that a religious revival is the only real hope for its future. In fact, it’s become practically routine at Religious Right events for leaders to announce that history would view their event as the spark of a new awakening. But none of them have had an audience near the size that Beck does.

Divine Destiny was a three-hour mix of gospel music and patriotic songs from an “all-star” choir of local singers and dancers, inspirational exhortations for people and churches to do good work in their communities, and speeches by Religious Right figures about America’s need to repent for the nation’s sins and turn back to God.

Beck, who says he had no idea Saturday was the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream speech,” said it was “divine providence” that his wedding ceremony would happen that day. I rather think it was more Beckian manipulation, but that’s just me.

He also said he would be “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” only to be disputed the very next day by Sarah Palin who said we shouldn’t be transforming the United States of America. Guess they should have compared notes.

But despite the happy nuptials on Saturday, there are a few problems in paradise. Some of the Religious Right are a little squeamish about Beck, a converted Mormon. Here’s Russell Moore, writing for the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow:

A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital. The news media pronounces him the new leader of America’s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America’s Christian conservatives have no problem with that. If you’d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it’s not. It’s from this week’s headlines. And it is a scandal.

We used to sing that old gospel song, “I will cling to an old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.” The scandalous scene at the Lincoln Memorial indicates that many of us want to exchange it in too soon. To Jesus, Satan offered power and glory. To us, all he needs offer is celebrity and attention.

Mormonism and Mammonism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They offer another Lord Jesus than the One offered in the Scriptures and Christian tradition, and another way to approach him. An embrace of these tragic new vehicles for the old Gnostic heresy is unloving to our Mormon friends and secularist neighbors, and to the rest of the watching world. Any “revival” that is possible without the Lord Jesus Christ is a “revival” of a different kind of spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 Jn. 4:1-3).

Whew. He all but calls Beck the Anti-Christ there. But maybe it’ll work out for the Beckster. The AFA is mainly a bunch of elderly Americans swindled by Don Wildmon and his family into giving them a bunch of their money in return for being recruited to watch the devil’s box (television) and count the number of awful things that happen on the screen.

On the other hand, wonder how many of those 87,000 folks at the Lincoln Memorial even know that Beck is a Mormon? He sure doesn’t look like Mitt Romney.

So the families don’t really get along. A little like a Hatfield marrying a McCoy maybe, for those of you who remember hearing about that legendary Appalachian feud.

And … some of the more “mainstream” Republicans, if it can be said there are any left, aren’t that fond of him either. Former Bush II press secretary Ari Fleischer, while admitting he likes Beck’s “small government point of view,” wrote on his Facebook page that Beck is “a little weird and a little creepy” and “too zany and apocryphal for my taste,” adding that “he acts like he’s the second coming.”

Them’s fightin’ words for Beck fans. But for non-Beck fans, it’s right on target.

Paul Rosenberg, at Open Left, delves into the history of the Know-Nothing Party, which at one time was neck-and-neck with the nascent Republicans to replace the Whigs, who were rapidly fragmenting into an anti-Andrew Johnson, anti-Democrat party with nothing to offer.

The Republicans won, and the Know-Nothings disappeared. Until now.

Historically, the Know-Nothings represent a road not taken in American politics (fortunately). As Catholic influence grew in the Democratic Party, the nativist sentiment purveyed by the Know-Nothigs was attractive enough that for a while they battled with the Republicans to see who would replace the Whigs. But they really had nothing in the way of a positive platform. This weekend, reflecting on the increasingly obvious incoherence of the Beckopalooza, I was struck by the thought that what we are seeing now is the return of the Know-Nothings. Over the past 30-40 years the Republicans have shed virtually everything that they originally stood for, and have turned most of the rest ihto a caricature. What’s more, the policies they have stood by have utterly failed — though of course, Versailles will never admit as much.

And so it makes perfect sense that they are now a party totally lacking in any coherent body of ideas. Slogans, fine. Arguments, not so much. Sarah (no interviews) Palin is their perfect embodiment. Glenn (endless hallucinatory monologues) Beck is even better. The emergence of an alter-ego, the Tea Party, is a logical outgrowth of this underlying incoherence as well. And thus it’s no accident that the GOP now appears to have much more in common with the Know-Nothings who lost out in the 1850s than it has in common with the Republicans who emerged triumphant.

Is it any wonder that incoherence runs so deep in the GOP today? They are indeed reinventing themselves — as their yahoo loser rivals from the 1850s.

Sounds fine, but the Republicans have two things that the Know-Nothings lacked — a finely tuned propaganda machine and an electorate that has forgotten how to reason.

The Religious Right forgot how to reason a long time ago, making it the perfect partner for the Tea Party. And Jerry Falwell may be gone, but there’s a whole new crop of religious zanies who know how to organized. With the added clout of the TeaPublicans’ media monstrosities, we’re in for a helluva ride before they finally figure out that they’re both in the backside of their horse costume.

Disgusted

Dammit to hell.

I’m driving home from work a night or two ago, and as the miles tick by, I’m composing, in my head of course, a most perfect post. It’s my first in a while — I’ve just been too busy to write, and too tired, from all the news that has swamped my team in recent weeks. I’m sure you know what all that is, so I won’t reiterate it here.

It’s a damn good post, and I am excited about it. But once I arrive on the homefront, the 45 things I need to do before I can take some time for myself get in the way, and by the time I’m done, I really am too damn tired to write.

Curse me for not dictating it while I was driving, because now I’ve forgotten the whole thing. Except for the first word.

Feh.

It’s a word I use most often to indict my utter disgust at something. And that’s just not very helpful — I’m pretty damn disgusted right now, and nothing is standing out as the thing that disgusted me enough that night to want to write it all out.

It could be anything. My colleagues, for example, did a good job of disgusting me last week with their handling of Helen Thomas’s unfortunate choice of words and her subsequent and sudden retirement. “Get the hell out of the Middle East” just isn’t a very wise thing to say to Israel, although I can certainly understand the sentiment. But my god, you’d have thought my colleagues had heard her add “and throw them into the ovens” at the end. They reminded me of nothing so much as Donald Sutherland in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” hissing at pointing at those who aren’t like them.

Even the liberals. But then, they had no choice. Daring to criticize the Israelis is suicide in this country. If they hadn’t en masse joined in the hissing and pointing, they’d have been the ones hissed and pointed at, labeled anti-Semites no better than the Nazis.

See, in this country, calling someone a Nazi is OK, unless, of course, he or she really is one.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black – Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourette’s
www.thedailyshow.com
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Take Glenn Beck, for example, who disgusts me pretty much every time he opens his mouth. He has a long history of labeling people he doesn’t agree with Nazis and fascists, right up until he promotes an actual fascist Nazi-sympathizer on his show, which apparently as AOK at Faux News.

I’m pretty sure my disgust wasn’t triggered by Yuma, Arizona, Mayor Al Krieger, because I just found out about him tonight. But it coulda been. Al, back on Memorial Day, delivered a speech praising the U.S. military for things like the invasion of Normandy, and then said

I cannot believe that a bunch of lacy-drawered, limp-wristed people could do what those men have done in the past.

He later defended those remarks, saying he was pretty sure that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln woulda said the same thing. And that his remarks came from the heart.

No, Al, they didn’t. They came from pure, unmitigated ignorance. Nobody asked Al if he really believed that no gay soldiers stormed the beach that day in France, or, as certainly happened, whether any lost their lives there defending their country. And nobody, of course, followed up with “Are you really that stupid?”

Apparently, he is. At least the religionists have something of an excuse for their ridiculous bigotry. Ignorance is never an excuse. It’s just ignorance. And, like most conservative ignorance like this, it’s willful.

Then there’s the fucking oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Any part of that might have been what triggered my disgust — John Boehner insisting that the taxpayers should pay for the clean-up, BP’s utter incompetence, Obama’s pansy-assed response, Bobby Jindal, CNN’s inability to talk with anybody about the disaster except Billy Nungesser, James Carville and Mary Matalin, oiled birds, the ever-increasing flow estimates, British politicians whining that we Yanks are being mean to BP, Michael Bloomberg saying it’s not BP executives fault. Oh wait, that last one was just today.

How about Democrats voting with Alaska’s Lisa Mikulski to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases because, apparently, the highly politicized, partisan Congress without a scientist among them could do it better? Thankfully, that vote failed. For now.

Yeah, that’s pretty disgusting. But so is the unemployment rate. And the lack of prospects to see it drop anytime soon. And Congress’ (and the administration’s) complete unwillingness to do anything about it. Instead, our elected officials and their appointed advisers would rather fret over the non-issue of the deficit.

People, the deficit don’t mean shit. Most of the money we owe we owe to ourselves. Nothing but some serious deficit spending is going to get people back to work. And if we don’t get people back to work soon, the deficit isn’t going to matter at all, under any circumstances. It’s a bullshit issue, and there again are my colleagues, playing politics like the politicians.

But unemployment doesn’t affect the rich. In fact, they’re happy about it because their labor costs are down and they can pocket more money. What is gonna happen, and real soon if something doesn’t give, is that we’re going to be plunged back into the late 19th century, with a permanent underclass that can’t find work. The Victorian era. Robber barons. Rampant disease. Good times. Can’t wait.

Anything could have triggered my disgust that night. I just can’t remember what it was. Guess it doesn’t really matter, though. I’ve probably become a member of the new permanently disgusted class.

Feh.