And if You Believe That
In this astonishing video, multimillionaire radio and TV Huckster Glenn Beck speaks, solemnly and with laughably faked empathy, to a bunch of rubes about how “we” are going to have to make deep sacrifices to pay off the Republican debt that faces the country. ”We” might lose our pensions. ”We” might lose our jobs. ”We” might even lose our homes. It’s time to take our “medicine,” but at least we have “each other.” Really. He said that, and not as a laugh line, either. Now, Fox watchers believe a whole lot of really stupid things, but if they believe that Glenn Beck, who made in excess of $30 million last year and is a global celebrity, is going to be sharing a shelter bed with them in the coming apocalypse, one has to marvel that they are capable of walking down a street without hitting a telephone pole, let alone have spare money to throw away on overpriced gold coins.
Long ago, Republicans realized that their rich-coddling, militaristic, and elitist policies harmed the great majority of Americans, so they cannily cast about for some stupid people to bring along for extra votes, and they found them in abundance; racists, Jesus freaks, and gun nuts, few of whom will ever see any benefit for doing so, began to vote Republican when the GOP directed, with decreasing subtlety, their appeals to them. When Nixon spoke of “regional discrimination,” Bush spoke of “Armies of Compassion,” or Reagan launched his campaign in the ironically named Philadelphia, Mississippi, the right voters got the message without requiring them to elaborate in a way that might offend the smarter.
Trouble is, to which Glenn Beck accidentally alluded in the clip, that when you validate and empower the stupid, they start feeling (with some justification) better about themselves, and thereby conclude that their even stupider ideas are pretty good, too, and thus ought be implemented as well. All Nixon, Reagan, and even Bush had to do was make a few signals to the stupid and then quietly go about their business, which of course was always more focused on the money end, and they could have ridden the tide forever. Trouble was, Bush looked a little too good in his dunce cap/ flight suit, and was so alarmingly less qualified for office than virtually all of his predecessors, that he actually decided to give the stupid much of what they’d always wanted, if only to (barely, as it turned out…) gain a real election in 2004, and we’re still living with the consequences of his “success” at this malevolent but undeniably expedient endeavor.
Bush’s loud, proud embrace of his own stupidity was initially a diabolically clever means of humanizing an arrogant underachiever who was both a legacy at Yale and Harvard and scion of a wealthy and powerful family, but still could barely utter a grammatical, much less substantive, sentence, and, unfortunately, it worked. People obviously didn’t think he was smart, but they nonetheless wanted “to have a beer with him,” as the ever-fawning media put it. (Yeah, right. More like “I’ll have what he’s having”…) Pundits from Peggy Noonan to Maureen Dowd waxed lyrical about the uncomplicated Manliness his stupidity revealed; choking on a pretzel was all in a day’s work for a guy who couldn’t pronounce “nuclear,” although he used the word constantly, and throughout his disastrous terms a supine media dutifully translated such obviously affected non-words as “wudn’t” and “idn’t” into fit-to-print Queen’s English for the newspapers.
But all this time the rubes were watching, and now they want more, much more. Having seen one of their own bestride the earth like a Colossus, torturing, bombing, punishing, and sneering all the way, why not now move to eliminate, once and for all, the hated smarties, and then, dummies will finally Rule the World, under the leadership of professor/doctor/whatchamacallit Glenn Beck, oracular Rush Limbaugh, and Haiku authoress Sarah Palin? Well, because that’s a little too stupid. Big GOP donors don’t work for free, you know, and somebody’s got to pay for that Free Market, after all.
So today Republicans, to great fanfare, released their “Pledge to America,” a tired, rehashed pile of manipulative, war-mongering horseshit written by a lobbyist that only aims to increase the wealth of the wealthy and the suffering of everyone else, returning to the traditional Republican ignoring of the stupid, and it went over like a fart in church, literally. Only the wealthiest of the religious nuts like Gary Bauer found much to love about it; Erick Erickson, Laura Ingraham, and many others denounced its lack of emphasis on something they call “moral values,” while remaining guardedly optimistic about how much cash the rich (like them) were slated to rake in if it became law.
Beck, of course, amply demonstrates that the stupid on which Republicans have long depended has now gotten a bit out of hand…. How can Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, et al survive if we really went back to 1908 tax levels? Is it considered smart to tell a lot of stupid people that imminent loss of their jobs and homes, if they haven’t lost them already, is somehow a good thing?
It’ a long way from “Morning in America,” it seems, but in the end you have to dance with the ones that brung ya. Good luck with that.