Always one to prefer drama over substance, it was little surprise that Glenn Beck was nearly an hour late to his own rally in The Villages (a retirement community in Florida) on November 21. During the wait, Beck's patient and very non-diverse crowd was treated to supposedly live footage on giant video screens of him getting lost driving a golf cart to the rally. He admitted to have gone in a circle at least once, complaining that it took 50 minutes to drive just three miles. Soon afterward, his big tour bus pulled up alongside the crowd, and Glenn Beck took to the stage among loud cheers and applause.
Beck wasted little time before displaying his narcissism, declaring himself and all those present as the nation's "Constitution czar" just a few minutes into his appearance. He then tried to stir up the crowd with what appeared to be a reference to climate change, declaring: "The science is not settled. We will not sit down. We will not shut up. We will stand!"
Next, Beck decided to try to scare the crowd with the size of the national debt, throwing out big, impressive-sounding numbers like $12 trillion, the current level. Naturally, he did not mention that such numbers are far less scary with the proper context. When Beck brought up the projected debt 10 years from now, he seemed to acknowledge his own and Fox News' lack of credibility on this issue, saying that "Now, that's not from Glenn Beck and Fox News ... [that's] from WhiteHouse.gov." Beck then issued a call for all present to live within their means, declaring that "we must change our lifestyle, because our lifestyle is unsustainable." Beck continued to display his ignorance of how deficit-neutral legislation works, complaining that it's only "debt-neutral" because "somebody has got to pay for it."
Next, Beck continued on his crusade to expose the corruption in this country, though of course only corruption relating to anything and anyone connected to the Democratic Party, declaring that the $100 million in the Senate health care bill for Louisiana is a "$100 million bribe for one person's vote." Demanding that "The corruption must stop," Glenn invoked the case of former Congressman William Jefferson, and just like any good little political hack, he did not mention any Republican corruption problems. Beck then revealed that he was really concerned about this issue not because they are stealing from us, but our children.
As usual, Beck then brought up the example of the Weimar Republic of Germany. Glenn then tried to connect to his audience, saying that he knows "You're not the ones getting rich right now, you're not the one taking all of your money and buying precious minerals." No, it's Beck who is the one getting rich right now. (And better not let Beck's advertisers hear about his precious-minerals comment.) Beck then cited Nouriel Roubini to say that our country is building up an "asset bubble," which of course said will more or less mean the end of our economy when it collapses.
Beck then gave the requisite shout-out to Ronald Reagan, because as Beck put it, he always felt like Reagan was telling him the truth and treating him like an adult, even though Beck was a child at the time, and that he made it seem like there was always "hope on the other side." In that spirit of telling the truth, treating Americans like adults, and providing hope, Beck engaged the crowd in an analogy comparing America to the Titanic. Of course, Beck stated that it was the current administration that was "ramming it into the iceberg" with "health care, cap and trade, and stimulus." Beck used this analogy as a vehicle to get to the point of this whole rally, announcing that his plan for America will be like the lifeboats of the Titanic. After another shout-out, this time to the 9-12ers present, Beck continued this Titanic analogy to speak about why he created the 9-12 Project, which was so that nobody who sees what Beck sees is coming would feel alone.
Next, Beck explained the first step of his plan. He has formed a shadow cabinet to advise him on various issues including health care, defense, energy, education, and others, just like a political figure. Beck then astonishingly declared that "we need to start thinking like the Chinese", and announcing he would spend the next year with his shadow cabinet to create "a 100-year plan for America."
Beck then spent a few moments engaging in his famous emotional side, promising the crowd that if they followed him, they would be able to tell their children they did all they could for America. To do this, they could go to any of Beck's seven "education conventions" to learn "everything we need to know" such as an alternative history of the Statue of Liberty, and even community organizing, and of course Beck will "teach you how to be a politician" if you really want to run for office. (Will Beck train attendees how to quit before your first term as governor has expired, and improperly use your taxpayer-funded resources to put on a partisan political event, just like two of his favorite politicians?) Beck finished this plan up by taking an unsurprising potshot at ACORN, and announcing that he will organize voter registration drives, stating that "two can play at this game." Does that mean he will fire anyone who fills out voter registration forms fraudulently, yet turn in all voter registration forms as required by law in many states? Only time will tell.
After asking all those assembled to make plans to join him in Washington, D.C. "at the feet of Abraham Lincoln" next August on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech, Beck dispelled any rumors that he will run for political office, to the dismay of the crowd. He then made a pre-emptive strike against credible crowd estimates for his rally, saying that the crowd will be reported as "tens of thousands ... on the Mall." Incidentally, Media Matters has documented Beck's practice of inflating crowd sizes for the events that he promotes. Beck then promised that at the planned D.C. rally, the congressional representatives "will either come to us, or we will blow by them and put our own people in." Next, Beck declared that if what he demands will lead to the rise of a third party and destroy the two-party system, "so be it, they should to be destroyed."
Raising the fear that those in debt could be enslaved in the future, Beck called on everyone present to be an example for the country, to get out of debt and to not use violence - which he often feels the need to plead with his viewers to refrain from committing. He also called on his followers to be as religiously devout as the Pilgrims were when they landed. After all, as Beck said, "If He is on our side, who can stand against us?" Later on, Beck complained about South Park, Saturday Night Live, and The Daily Show mocking him. He then asked if everyone present was prepared to sacrifice everything for their children, to lose their jobs, their homes, to live like their grandparents -- or in many cases, their parents or even themselves - lived during the Great Depression, and nearly every hand in view shot up.
Beck concluded his rally by continuing with his Titanic analogy, then urging everyone to join him next year "as we take our country back, and usher in the next greatest generation of Americans." This was obviously no mere speech by a member of the media. This was a classic political rally, designed to rev up what is now undeniably Glenn Beck's political base to help him accomplish a political agenda. And it all leads to the question: Just how much political organizing is too much for Fox News?
Yesterday, the United States Senate voted to bring health care reform legislation to the floor for debate. Now, take a look at how the Washington Post reports that vote in the lead headline on the paper's web site:
Democrats vote. Now, it's true that all of the Senate's Democrats voted to bring the bill to the floor. But not only the Democrats: Connecticut for Lieberman party member Joe Lieberman -- who is a Senator today because he ran against the Democratic party's most recent nominee for his seat -- did, too, as did independent Bernie Sanders.
More importantly, "Democrats vote" -- as compared to, say, "Senate votes" or "Senate decides" -- suggests Senate Democrats' vote to bring the bill to the floor was a political act rather than an act of governing. It suggests that yesterday's vote didn't take place in the full Senate, but in the Democratic cloakroom, or at the DNC -- that it was just Democrats deciding among themselves to move the bill to the floor, without any Republicans (or Connecticut-for-Liebermans) involved in the vote. And it suggests that the actions of a house of Congress don't really count unless they are "bipartisan."
More unintentional comedy, courtesy of Breitbart and Big Government.
As CF noted, Breitbart's defending himself against the claim by Columbia Journalism Review that he's "blackmailing" Attorney General Eric Holder. This, after Breitbart went on Fox News last week and demanded that the DOJ launch an ACORN investigation or that Breitbart would reveal more undercover videos during next year's election season.
Here's Breitbart defending his look-at-me, investigate-or-else charade [emphasis added]:
And now to address the fever-swamp's notion that what I said on "Hannity" last night was "blackmail." Blackmail occurs when one party threatens to reveal an unsavory piece of information about another party, and demands money in exchange for silence.
There's no way Breitbart is trying to blackmail Holder, because Breitbart isn't demanding money, right? Laugh along at Breitbart's ignorance as you read the definition of "blackmail":
1. (Law) to exact or attempt to exact (money or anything of value) from (a person) by threats or intimidation; extort2. to attempt to influence the actions of (a person), esp by unfair pressure or threats
Blackmail has been defined in the broad sense to mean "compelling someone to act against their will or gaining or attempting to gain something of value." Courts vary on interpreting what "something of value" includes, but it is not necessarily a money payment in all cases.
[CJR] has been sitting it out on the sidelines, waiting - rooting - for Hannah Giles, James O'Keefe and me to make a mistake.
The Washington Post's David Broder had a predictably dour column about health care reform yesterday -- a paint-by-numbers job consisting of little more than a couple of quotes from interest groups that don't like government spending and a poll showing that people worry health care reform will add to the deficit. (Broder's summary of the poll alone took up 6 of his 16 paragraphs.)
If Broder ever was worth reading for his insights rather than his reporting, that time is long gone, as yesterday's column reminds us.
And, indeed, Broder's colleague Ezra Klein quickly exposed the flaws in the little bit of Broder's column that wasn't simply a regurgitation of poll results and interest-group quotes:
David Broder has a column today expressing skepticism that health-care reform will really cut the deficit. But he doesn't provide much evidence for the charge.
The specific budget gimmick mentioned in the column is that Reid has delayed the subsidies "from mid-2013 to January 2014 -- long after taxes and fees levied by the bill would have begun." But not that long. The excise tax, for instance, begins in 2013. More to the point, it's not clear what Broder's complaint is. Reid delayed the implementation of the subsidies in order to ensure the bill's deficit neutrality in the first 10 years, which is what Broder wants. Why attack him for it?
In other words, the revenue and the savings grow more quickly than the costs. Extend that line out further and, yes, federal spending on health care falls as a result of this bill. In other words, the bill satisfies Broder's conditions. But he doesn't come out and say that.
More broadly, I'm confused by the budget hawks who that take the line: "This bill needs to cut the deficit, and I don't believe Democrats will cut the deficit, but since the actual provisions of the bill unambiguously cut the deficit, then I guess Congress won't stick to it."
People who want to cut the deficit should support this bill, and support its implementation. The alternative is no bill that cuts the deficit, and thus no hope of cutting the deficit.
If anyone wants to offer a reason -- other than inertia -- why the Post's print edition carried Broder's column and not one by Klein, I'd love to hear it.
From a letter Glenn Beck posted to his website November 21:
There is much to do, much to learn and time is of the essence. While I will be explaining the entire Plan over the coming weeks and months, I did want to give you a preview of some of the highlights:
- Education is key, and not just for our children. To that end, we will be conducting a series of conventions. These will be full-day experiences where you will be immersed in learning about topics ranging from self-reliance, community organizing, the economy and how to be a political force in your own neighborhood and country. The first one will be in Orlando at UCF Arena on March 27th. You will also be able to vote to have a convention in your region by clicking here.
- I have begun meeting with some of the best minds in the country that believe in limited government, maximum freedom and the values of our Founders. I am developing a 100 year plan. I know that the bipartisan corruption in Washington that has brought us to this brink and it will not be defeated easily. It will require unconventional thinking and a radical plan to restore our nation to the maximum freedoms we were supposed to have been protecting, using only the battlefield of ideas.
- All of the above will culminate in The Plan, a book that will provide specific policies, principles and, most importantly, action steps that each of us can take to play a role in this Refounding.
- On August 28, 2010, I ask you, your family and neighbors to join me at the feet of Abraham Lincoln on the National Mall for the unveiling of The Plan and the birthday of a new national movement to restore our great country.
From Kenneth P. Vogel's 738-word November 20 Politico article:
Glenn Beck, the controversial Fox News television host, is planning on becoming more active in the populist conservative movement he spawned, according to sources familiar with his thinking.
At a rally Saturday at a massive retirement community in Central Florida, Beck is planning to unveil what he has billed as a "big plan" for 2010, which is expected to involve the 9.12 Project, the group he started earlier this year and named for the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when he says the nation was unified.
"Coming this January, my whole approach changes on this program," he hinted cryptically on his Wednesday show. "This next year is going to be critical, and I think it's going to change and I think we are going to set it right, at least set our course right. And if that means the Democrats or the Republicans are destroyed along the way, well, good. Good."
Beck's Saturday rally, which is set for 3 p.m., is timed to coincide with the kickoff of a tour promoting his new book, "Arguing with Idiots."
From Andrew Breitbart's November 21 BigGovernment.com post:
In response to the Columbia Journalism Review's accusing me of "blackmailing" the Attorney General of the United States, I must take notice that the mainstream media as a journalistic establishment IS paying attention to the ongoing ACORN scandal. Good. I thought so.
What the Columbia Journalism Review is doing is very similar to what Media Matters is doing: protecting the Democrat-Media Complex, the natural alliance of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. This ACORN investigation has been going on for two months and Hannah, James, and I have proven to be truth-tellers every step of the way, while the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now has been proven time and again to be liars.
Yet instead of engaging the real, newsworthy issues of ACORN's possible corruption, malfeasance and illegal behavior, the CJR, like its more overtly political online counterpart Media Matters, and indeed every other MSM outlet, has been sitting it out on the sidelines, waiting - rooting - for Hannah Giles, James O'Keefe and me to make a mistake. In fact, my appearance Thursday night is the only time in which the media has introduced itself into this ongoing narrative: proof that it's paying attention and taking sides.
And now to address the fever-swamp's notion that what I said on "Hannity" last night was "blackmail." Blackmail occurs when one party threatens to reveal an unsavory piece of information about another party, and demands money in exchange for silence. For obvious reasons, it is most often conducted in private. I, on the other hand, went on national television with a challenge to the Attorney General to do his job; unlike this administration and its justice department, what I did was fully open and transparent.
There will be consequences if there isn't an investigation into ACORN. The videos will be shown and at a particular moment. There is nothing illegal about my proposed response to the continued inaction from this justice department, and there's nothing I'd like more than to have my day in court and let a jury hear why I have gone to such extraordinary measures to tell a major story that the dying, partisan, leftist media has worked so hard to suppress.
The days of the Democrat-Media Complex controlling the narrative are in their end times. And if the AG wants to turn his focus on me instead of ACORN, then that day will be closer than many of them think.
From BigGovernment.com blogger Kyle Olson's November 20 post:
Brad O'Leary spends an entire Washington Examiner column responding to Media Matters' highlighting of his skewed Zogby polls and, more specifically, his racially charged poll question regarding Mark Lloyd:
The author of this "racially charged" language is none other than Obama's Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd himself. Here is what he said at the 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice:
"This - there's nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions.
"And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."
I find it equal parts troubling and incredible that in 21st Century America there could be anyone, much less a high-level federal appointee, who thinks the government should be forcing hirings-and-firings at private companies based solely on race and sexual preference.
Media Matters, evidently, is only outraged that someone would dare report the matter or ask America's opinion about it. Or maybe Media Matters thinks it is unfair to hold a presidential appointee responsible for something he said just four years ago.
O'Leary, however, did not include any of that background -- which the vast majority of respondents would have no knowledge of without it -- in asking his poll question, which was this:
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?
Also problematic for O'Leary is that the question, as asked, is false. As we've noted, at no point does Lloyd advocate using the FCC to "force good white people" in the broadcast industry out.
O'Leary has only himself to blame for his false, out-of-context framing of Lloyd's statement. And he's a veritable laugh riot in coming to Zogby's defense:
I choose to do polling with Zogby because they've been among the most accurate pollsters for the past two decades. I find that Zogby does very well in balancing my questions to remove any conservative or other bias that may exist. When you're searching for the truth, it does no good to rig the outcome.
A truly balanced poll would have included more points of view than those of "some people" and "most Republicans." But then, a guy who has written a book-length screed attacking Barack Obama is not actually interested in "searching for the truth."