Glenn Beck's Dose of Common Sense for America

In my family I am an island, the lone conservative and sole person to ever vote Republican. This has resulted in few political discussions coming up in my presence. However, the other day while speaking to my mother -- a devout leftist who regularly refers to the hosts of MSLSD by their first names -- the beltway sledge seeped into our conversation. I could not resist expressing disgust over the bizarre cult that has formed around our shallow and foppish president, Barack Obama. I wondered aloud why leftists seem uniformly incapable of criticizing any of their co-religionists. My mother took exception and countered with the ubiquitous Democratic debating tactic of "I know you are but what am I."

She claimed that it is our side which drinks the Kool-Aid regarding politics and dared me, as a member of the opposition, to say something critical about an ideological teammate. I thought for a moment and proffered, "I think there's something wrong with Glenn Beck." My mother, feeling conciliatory, said, "Yes, I agree. There is something wrong with Glenn Beck."

Many conservatives have had similar experiences with those on the emotive end of the political spectrum, but one must acknowledge that their "no enemies on the left" strategy has been wildly successful. Indeed, via a mixture of lying, denial, electioneering, and projecting their personal neuroses as public policy initiatives, the Democratic Party has captured both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

Given the left's transcendence, this year is not the ideal moment for disparaging one's fellow conservatives. Yet numerous times while watching Beck's wildly popular television show, I have found myself pleading with the host not to cry and to please purge himself of an Oprahesque demeanor.

Knowing the unpredictability of his personality, I was somewhat skeptical regarding the merits of his new book, Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine. Luckily, my fears proved unfounded. The book is strong and will serve everyday Americans admirably in their attempt to defend themselves against the noxious and self-righteous utterances of those Democratic drones that surround them.

Admittedly, Common Sense is merely a good book and no Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. Unlike the latter it will not be a work that is regarded as a classic 50 years from now. Beck's offering is very much a response to the pathology that is the present and is more pep talk than intellectual dreadnaught.

No matter, at the time of this writing, it has already risen to number one on both Amazon's bestseller list and that of the New York Times -- which, of course, declined to review it.

The author's (lamentably brief) analysis consists of about 110 pages while the last 50 are devoted to republishing Thomas Paine's original work from 1776. Each section manages to enlighten.

As a host, Beck is occasionally funny but always lively. Such a countenance translates well from the glowing screen to the page, as evidenced by this sentence: "If the job of a congressman were described candidly and truthfully, only two types of people would apply: Jimmy Stewart's idealist Mr. Smith, or a grifter."

As a writer, Beck will never be confused with Roger Kimball in terms of refinement, but he scores points throughout in the manner of Sugar Ray Leonard at the Montreal Olympics. His narration is a series of jabs and counterpunches that succinctly describe the government's malignant and negligent role in bringing about the current crisis.