To paraphrase Neo-Neocon’s title below, Ronald Radosh attempts to “Solve The Beck Conundrum”, and includes links to conflicting thoughts on Glenn Beck from David Frum, David Horowitz, and Beck’s recent profiles in Time magazine and the New York Times. Regarding the latter, note a classic gaffe by Frank Rich at the end of this passage, which would have been obvious to anyone who read Liberal Fascism:
[David Von Drehle of Time magazine] writes:
This flexible narrative often contains genuinely uncomfortable truths. Some days “they” are the unconfirmed policy “czars” whom Beck fears Obama is using to subvert constitutional government — and he has some radical-sounding sound bites to back it up. Some days “they” are the network of leftist community organizers known as ACORN — and his indictment of the group is looking stronger every day.
That paragraph alone must have come as a shock to many of Time’s readers. Of course, Beck’s defenders will not like Von Drehle’s conclusion that Beck is “at once powerful, spellbinding and uncontrolled, like William Jennings Bryan whipping up populist Democrats over moneyed interests or the John Birch Society brooding over fluoride.” [Note that it’s the left who are now brooding over fluoride — Ed] But that is his opinion, and he has a right to it, and he can be argued with. Overall, he has not written an anti-Beck screed, but a fairly balanced assessment. Indeed, he makes the same argument as Horowitz, that Beck is responsible for both the forced resignation of Van Jones and the collapse of ACORN.
One cannot, of course, say the same for Frank Rich, whose columns make the other liberal pundits at the New York Times appear to be rather conservative. [Even Thomas Friedman? –Ed] In his weekly column on Sunday, Rich calls Glenn Beck the only hero of the crowd that marched on Washington on 9/12. Rich realizes Beck is something different than Rush Limbaugh, and is not one of the Republican Party’s stalwarts. He is not “cranky or pompous,” Rich acknowledges, and is not part of the old Christian Right that Rich and other liberals feared not so long ago. Beck, he says, owns up to his mistakes, and makes it clear that in the recent past, he was hardly a model citizen.
He describes Beck as a combination of Randian libertarianism (although as yet I don’t think Beck has ever spoken about Ayn Rand), “self-help homilies and lunatic conspiracy theories.” He says Beck is a “right-wing populist in the classic American style,” and he compares him to Father Coughlin during the Great Depression and George Wallace in the 1960s.
In so doing, Rich seems unawares that Coughlin was originally a fierce defender of FDR and the New Deal and used his radio platform to proclaim the New Deal as “Christ’s Deal,” and was only disowned and called a demagogue after he turned on Roosevelt and engaged in blatant anti-Semitism and isolationism.
Update: Stacy McCain ponders why we can’t all just get along: “Can’t all conservatives at least agree that Glenn Beck is not the enemy?”