Will Beck condemn Bush for recommending a Mao bio to Rove?

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In the wake of Glenn Beck's rather bizarre one hour rant, in which he played a clip of White House communications director Anita Dunn calling Mao Tse-Tung one of her two "favorite political philosophers," along with Mother Theresa, the following excerpt from a December 2008 Karl Rove column in the Wall Street Journal seems relevant:

Rove: President Bush "encouraged me to read a Mao biography."

With only five days left, my lead is insurmountable. The competition can't catch up. And for the third year in a row, I'll triumph. In second place will be the president of the United States. Our contest is not about sports or politics. It's about books.

It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."

We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.

Goldwater adviser: "in all ... campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung."

Here's another relevant passage, from Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

In his recent book, How to Win an Election, Stephen C. Shadegg cites a statement attributed to Mao Tse-tung: "Give me just two or three men in a village and I will take the village." Shadegg comments: " In the Goldwater campaigns of 1952 and 1958 and in all other campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung." "I would suggest," writes senator Goldwater in Why Not Victory? "that we analyze and copy the strategy of the enemy; theirs has worked and ours has not.

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Glenn Beck
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