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.

18 Comments

  1. cocktailhag says:

    The comment section was out of order, due to blogger (that’s me) error. It’s fixed now, I hope.

  2. Pedinska says:

    Haiku authoress

    Perfect.

  3. cocktailhag says:

    Every once in a while something like that just pops into my head. Must be the medical marijuana.

  4. dirigo says:

    I wish I was tech-savvy enough to set up some dueling videos among Beck, Colbert, Stewart, Rush, et al.

    Throw in some O’Donnell, Palin and Angle.

    Great theater but probably little or no advancement in arguments on policy.

    Hey! Maybe that’s the point.

    Put more idiots and expert clowns on the air.

  5. retzilian says:

    Glenn Beck reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara in GWTW – when she says, “Ah’ll nevah be pooah agin!”

    He’ll say and do anything to keep from being the white trash poor loser he was. Everything he does is fake. He’s about as sincere as a pimp.

    • dirigo says:

      Retz, not that it matters much, but I have made reference to Beck being more or less at the end of the line when he arrived in New Haven, fifteen or more years ago.

      All of this was laid out in a recent, multi-part series in Salon. (Oooops! Here’s the whole sorry saga!) http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/21/glenn_beck/

      Beck was successful for a time as a so-called “morning zoo” disc jockey and host. His “genre” then was the manic morning drive show, with everything over the top, fantastical, and full of outrageous promotions and publicity stunts. The kind of stuff in radio that occasionally causes a local DA to arch an eyebrow.

      Along the way though, he got, shall we say, conflicted, as people in the limelight can. I believe the reporting shows he lost his first wife and got into drugs and blah blah.

      He lost his best gig, either in Texas or Florida, and wound up in New Haven, which, in market terms, is an armpit under the New York scene.

      Yet, he was only an hour and a half from Gotham.

      He recreated himself in New Haven as the Glen Beck character now known nationally, thanks to his employer at the time, the notorious predator media giant, Clear Channel, a lesser know beast to FOX.

      One amusing anecdote about Beck in New Haven has it, that as he was cleaning up and emerging. butterfly-like, into the new creation, he began hanging around Yale, and took a course at the divinity school – one course, quitting Big Blue shortly thereafter. Evidently no Mormons on the faculty.

      Obviously, that some people may see him as a threat to the Republic cuts no ice with his fans.

      And he keeps selling his gold coins, laughing all the way to the bank.

      My kind of guy …

    • cocktailhag says:

      What’s scariest is the almost religious devotion of his followers… They crank out worshipful letters to the Editor every damn day. He gives real cult leaders a bad name.

      • dirigo says:

        More than Rush, Beck is the logical end point of the demise of American radio as a medium for intelligent, honest political exchange.

        Having done radio, having grown up with its magic, I am pained by the mess and the distortion, created by the business itself, and the politics driving it.

        Even leaving aside the distortions due to politics, radio in this country is now virtually unlistenable.

        Beck’s particular brand of the theater of the mind can only go so far though. No one really wants to say he actually bombed in front of the Lincoln Memorial, but it was so perverse, normal coverage can’t even frame it.

        Still, what is the synapse level of his devoted followers?

        Do they really think they’re going to tip over the current majority? I suppose they do; but is it not healthy to stand up and say these people are not only stupid, but delusional, with nothing to offer but fear, hate, and unnecessarily cruel public policy (oh, sorry, some are saying that)?

        How can Beck’s “performance” be panned sufficiently to make the political point that he’s a charlatan, an empty suit (oh, some are trying that)?

        Try, try again.

        • cocktailhag says:

          To me, he seems like the end point of the right’s headlong flight from reality; he can say literally ANYTHING and be believed, no matter how false, contradictory, or, well, stupid. This bunch doesn’t want the truth; they shun it. And Beck laughs all the way to the bank.

          • dirigo says:

            Well don’t forget, it really traces to Ronnie before he became Sir Ronnie, back in the sepia-toned days when he made up play-by-play on the air, tucked in his little booth, using scores and other bits from the ticker tape, at WHO Radio in Des Moines.

            “Touchhhhdowwwwwwnnnnnn!!!”

            And Walter Winchell kept up the chatter about J. Edgar and Eliot Ness.

            Gee! Men!

          • cocktailhag says:

            He was proud of those stories and told them often; inadvertently showing the world he’d lived in a media-created fantasyland his whole life.
            He wasn’t as cuckoo as Savitch, but he was the same thing; an airhead spokesmodel that was lovable on TV, used to sell things.

  6. dirigo says:

    Greetings from Connecticut, where common sense in politics has been leaching away for quite a while, creating a dry hole just in time for this year’s mid-terms.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/magazine/26politics-t.html?ref=magazine