Glenn Beck Turns Against "The American Dream"

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

On February 24, Glenn Beck said "most likely you don't know what the American dream is," that it is actually a progressive invention of the 1930s, and that it is currently being used by communists, unions, and other assorted bogeymen to cloak their radical intentions behind a term that is "warm and cuddly like bunny rabbits." Oddly, Beck himself previously embraced "the American dream" as have former President Bush and congressional Republicans.

Beck Ties "American Dream" To Progressives And Communists

Van Jones Op-Ed Turns Beck Against "The American Dream." In a February 22 Huffington Post piece, Van Jones stated, "our country needs a national movement to defend the American Dream itself. And the fight in Wisconsin creates the opportunity to build one." Jones promoted rallies on February 26 to "mark the beginning of the national movement to renew the American Dream and return us to the moral center - where everybody counts, and everybody matters." [Huffington Post, 2/22/11]

Beck: "You Most Likely Don't Know" What The American Dream Is. It's A Progressive Idea Now Being Used By "Communist" Van Jones. From the February 24 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: [Van Jones is] a revolutionary communist. He's suddenly now cloaking his message, like Jesus and the American dream. Well, who doesn't like the American dream? I love the American dream. Don't you? Quick, before I go any farther, tell me what the American dream is. I mean, you can't tell me because I can't hear you, because I'm actually in New York. I don't know where you are.

So, think about what the American dream is. Got it? Unless you have read this book [Epic of America], you most likely don't know what it is. This is a progressive book. This was written by a Woodrow Wilson progressive who was, oh, he was great. He was an advisor. Big progressive. The American dream, you think everybody gets a fair shake. Right? Yeah, no, no.

This is the actual definition of the American dream because it was a progressive that coined the term in this book. It's that everybody gets a house and a car and a chicken in every pot. It's that, well, you know, c'mon, a fair shake isn't enough. It's state capitalism.

Well now Van Jones is picking up where this author long, long time ago left off. He wrote about it in the Huffington Post. He wrote about this. Now, I want you to know, this came -- this was Van Jones probably praying to the sequoias, and thinking about Mao. Say, "Mao, what should we do? Talk to the sequoias so they can talk to me. What should we do? I'm so worried about what I see going on. There's so much hatred." And he heard the sequoias say "Van, introduce the American Dream Movement." The heart part, said Mao. The heart part.

So he wrote. He took, I hope, a biodegradable pen and definitely not paper. Sorry Mr. Tree, I need to use some paper. And he went right to the Huffington Post and he introduced his concept, the American Dream Movement where we'll all come together, finally, because we care about the American dream. Spontaneous. Sure, sure it is. Sure it is. Unless you do your research. Which, gosh darn it, it must suck to be them because we do every day. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/24/11]

Beck Ties AFL-CIO, SEIU, La Raza, NAACP, Wisconsin Protestors, MoveOn.org, Code Pink, Protests In India and Egypt And Others To "American Dream" Plot. From the February 24 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: In July of 2008, who had video of this? Did we? Yes, we did. Didn't see it coming, did you, guys? The progressive Netroot conference, where Van Jones was the keynote speaker. Oh, he wasn't there alone. No. No, no, no. Everybody on the democracy chain -- train. He had La Raza. He had the Islamic Center of America. Love those guys. [gasp] The NAACP. And Richard Trumka, were you there, too? Bing bing. Where's the stop we're getting off? Oh yeah. I remember. The American dream.

Well, it's kind of -- the American dream kind of like hope and change, isn't it? Doesn't really mean anything, does it? Maybe it means different things to different people. They talked about a different American dream. I never heard it expressed this way, but here it is. Listen, 2008.

RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO president (video clip): The American dream is a progressive vision. It is something that we share together. It is not about an individual climbing the ladder. It is about making sure that there are ladders for all of us to climb. The American dream is a progressive vision and that it requires collective action in our society.

BECK: Collective action. The American dream is progressive. Pensions and ladders and all kind of stuff. Not what you thought. Not about a fair shake. The actual phrase does not mean what you think it -- doesn't mean the heart part like you think it does from our founders. No, no, no, no, no. I guess mandatory houses and making sure everybody has equal stuff. That was Martin Luther King's dream, we found out from Al Sharpton earlier.

I told you, it will feel as if progressives are perverting or redefining the meaning behind the American dream but most likely you don't know what the American dream is. They are not. It was coined by progressives, and it is collective action. Well why not have collective action? So we can have collective salvation. It is the original definition from the progressives of the American dream.

[...]

BECK: Now listen to the rhetoric used by progressives in this Wisconsin union fight. You got to get more people so you have few options. You got to get more people into the unions, right? Well, how do you do that? Well, with change. You just raise the salary of a federal worker so high, make it so far and above the average American salary that you got people saying you have to work for the government. Then you could pass draconian bills, let's say a health care bill, and make it almost impossible to do business. OK? Then you -- because you're on top, top-down. You could provide special waivers for your union buddies and certain union businesses so they can be successful. But private small businesses that you don't like will fail.

And if that doesn't work, you use force. And we'll get to that. You got it? But keep on making sure you are talking about change. But then everybody will figure out they don't want that kind of change. And so you change again and talk about something else warm and cuddly like bunny rabbits and kitty cats. The American dream.

JESSE JACKSON (video clip): Ask God to bless our efforts, keep us humble and focused in the struggle as we seek to protect basic things. Defend their rights, workers and their families, as we seek to protect the integrity of the American dream.

BECK: Yes. Then there's this statement, coincidently, from the Wisconsin city and federal and state workers: "We stand united for the right and freedom of all Americans to collectivity bargain for their piece of the American dream." From the Daily Kos here it is. "This fight is not about public employees. This fight is not about unions. It's about Americans standing up to defend the American dream from soulless multinational corporations and their political goons," the heart part. From MoveOn.org: "We call for an emergency rally in front of every state house this Saturday at noon." Quick, it's an emergency. We didn't plan this at all. "Stand together to save the American dream." Oh, man, you would think that it wouldn't be such an emergency seeing they knew this in 2008.

[...]

BECK: This is a wild, wild coincidence and conspiracy theory, that back in 2008, and over a year ago again, all the unions get together and the progressive and they are talk about how Egypt is the key and they have to reclaim the American dream two years ago. And now suddenly, spontaneous, it's an emergency, says MoveOn.org. The protests pop up in Egypt and Code Pink and the AFL-CIO are there. Surprisingly. Well, I think on vacation. And SEIU and ACORN are over in India and all over the world, it's great. What a wild conspiracy theory. Too bad we have the videotapes to back it up. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/24/11]

Beck Himself Has Repeatedly Embraced "The American Dream"

Beck: "Our Side" Is "Motivated By ... The American Dream." From the March 22, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Our side isn't motivated by the cash. We are motivated by the truth, the American Dream. And you don't have to keep printing those dreams. Those dreams never run out as long as there are people -- that never give in.

You ask your friends, do you believe you can make it? Or do you need a big government to come and take care of you and hold you at night, because I'm afraid of the dark? Are you part of the group that says, "I just want my stuff and I want his stuff too."

Are you part of the group says, "I make my own destiny. I stand on my own two feet"? If that's you, you keep meeting me here every night, because I've got news for you gang. The game is on. We're going to win. They might win a few battles. We'll win the war because we'll never give in. Never. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/22/10, accessed via Nexis]

Beck: "I'm Living The American Dream." From the October 22, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: I'm living the American Dream. Not because I have a nice house or a nice car. My dream was always just to do radio. I wanted to work at Rockefeller Plaza. I wanted to work in Radio City.

When I first moved to New York City, this time around, I built my studios or I was about to build my studios in Radio City. And then somebody said, yes, we can make that happen for you. Oh, yes.

I let 7,000 square feet in Rockefeller Plaza sit empty for a year because I wouldn't pay a bribe. I'm not going to sully myself. You can't build good business on bad foundations.

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to work on radio. I didn't really want to do television. I wanted to be on stage. I wanted to entertain.

I'm doing all -- I'm living my dream. My dream never had anything to do with money. Ever. For a while when I was drinking, it became that and that's why I destroyed myself.

My dream has everything to do with an uneducated man who has an idea - - a kid who says, "I'm going to do something" and then do it.

I wasn't handed the opportunity. Throughout my life, I failed. I failed more in my life than I've succeeded, but I never gave up. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing until I found the right spot, the right thing to do, the right time and most importantly, the truth inside of me.

I'm the product in me. And if I'm not real, then you are going to see through that like that.

That's the American Dream. If you keep trying, you keep following what you do, and you sometimes you fall flat on your face. You might break your noise. You might break the system. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 10/22/10, accessed via Nexis]

Beck: "I Believe In The American Dream." From the October 5, 2009, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Lindsey Graham keeps calling me a cynic. I am not a cynic. I believe in the American people. I believe, look -- my dad was a baker. His dad was a baker. His dad was a baker.

I'm the first guy to ever go to college in my family, and you know what? I went for about 60, 70 days, that's it. You know why? I couldn't afford it.

I believe in the American Dream. We can make it as long as we're being honest with each other, and we help each other out. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 10/5/09, accessed via Nexis]

Beck Gushes Over Mitt Romney Whose "Life Really Is The Story Of The American Dream In Many Ways." From the February 7, 2008 of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: You know, the story of Mitt Romney's life really is the story of the American dream in many ways, and having it all kind of go off the tracks there at the end.

Romney is a smart guy. He worked hard. He built up a business. He became a millionaire. He married his college sweetheart. They had a family. They stayed together. They worshipped the God of their understanding every single Sunday, a decent human being. He decided to give something back, to become a public servant. After success in that, he decided to serve his country in even a bigger way by running for president of the United States.

That's where it got ugly. That`s where that dream become a little more like a nightmare. Facing religious discrimination and destructive party politics. The man I believe was best qualified to turn this country around has dropped out of the race today. [CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, 2/7/08]

Martin Luther King Embraced The American Dream

King Said Protestors At Segregated Lunch Counters Were "Standing Up For What Is Best In the American Dream." From Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from the Birmingham Jail:

One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence." [Letter from Birmingham Jail, 4/16/63]

  • Beck Has Repeatedly Asserted That He Is "Reclaim[ing] The Civil Rights Movement" From Those Who Distorted King. Beck has regularly attempted to cloak himself in King's mantle, stating that the left has "distorted" King's dreams and is "perverting" his legacy, which Beck purports to "reclaim." [Media Matters, 8/25/10, 1/17/11]

Guest On Beck's Show Said That King's "Dream Was About Equal Access To The American Dream." From the July 16, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: When the government says, we'll make everybody equal with equal stuff. We'll -- I'll take from you to give somebody else a house. That doesn't change anybody's heart. In fact, I think it makes it colder and darker.

PASTOR STEPHEN BRODEN (Fair Park Bible Fellowship: Well, that's a perversion of the gospel. That's not what the gospel teaches, nor was that what Martin Luther King was in pursuit of. His dream -- if you go back and visit his dream -- his dream was about equal access to the American dream.

BECK: Right. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 7/16/10, accessed via Nexis]

President Bush And Other Republicans Embraced The American Dream

GOP-Controlled Congress Passed "American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003." In 2003, Congress, with a Republican majority in both houses, passed the American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003. President Bush signed the bill in December 2003. In a signing ceremony, Bush stated:

One of the biggest hurdles to homeownership is getting money for a down payment. This administration has recognized that, and so today I'm honored to be here to sign a law that will help many low-income buyers to overcome that hurdle, and to achieve an important part of the American Dream. [George W. Bush White House website via archives.gov, 12/16/03]

Bush White House Website Contains "About 670" Pages Mentioning The American Dream. A search of President George W. Bush's White House website for "American dream" results in "about 670 results found." [Bush White House website via archives.gov, accessed 2/24/11]

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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