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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beck, Palin, and the Tea Party

Beck and Palin Restoring Honor

Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party are intertwined by the audiences they attract and the frustrations they address. Though their publics are not identical, there is some overlap. And for the frustrations they experience, there is some intersect regarding solutions.

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Congratulations to Glenn

on his August 28, 2010 rally, Restoring Honor, at the Lincoln Memorial. Whether you approve or not, it was a magnificent gathering of upwards of 300,000 positive people. See my Twitter assessment of the event.
Restoring Honor 8/28/10

Prophet and Mad Man

One day, I can watch or listen to Beck and know that he has pierced through the truth of America so accurately that I understand why this guy has a cult following. The next day, I hear a maniac trying to drag me down into his darkness. I am led to contemplate the end of civilization and the need for canning my beefsteak tomatoes ahead of the apocalypse.

Even on those ugly days, though, he still makes some sense, as you realize America really is on the brink of ruination. And, yes, Obama actually is the worst president in history.

Still, Glenn Beck will be paranoid twenty years from now too, no matter what president is in charge … regardless of how good or bad the country is doing. He’ll be whispering or screaming at you to hoard gold and buy water purifiers for the coming end of times. He’ll be uncovering conspiracies in government forever, with his infamous interconnections on his chalkboard.

Glenn Beck and his Chalkboard

(Here is the
Beck conspiracy generator.)

Howard Beale

Beck compares himself with Howard Beale. Beale is a fictional character from the movie Network (1976), played by Peter Finch , who won a posthumous Oscar for best actor in the role. In his famous speech, Beale said:
Peter Finch as Howard Beale
I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be!

We all know things are bad -- worse than bad -- they're crazy.

It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.
All I know is that first, you've got to get mad.

You've gotta say, "I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

"I'm as mad as hell,
and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"
The speech is entirely apropos for our times, and for Beck, Palin, and the Tea Party.

Huey Long

Beck reminds me a bit of Huey Long. Though holding a few beliefs in common, most of their views were polar opposites. What is most alike in them is their style.

Huey Long 1932
Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (1893 to 1935), nicknamed The Kingfish, was a charismatic, powerful politician who built a ruthless Democratic machine in Louisiana as governor (1928-32) and U.S. senator (1932-35). He proposed his "Every Man a King" plan, to redistribute wealth by an asset tax on corporations and individuals to end poverty and homelessness during the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, he wanted spending on public works, schools and universities, and old age pensions. He disapproved of the Federal Reserve .

He was popular because of his flamboyant style and soaring rhetoric, and his forceful attack on the nation’s problems. However, he was accused by his opponents of being a dictator, due to his strong-arm control of state government. At his popularity’s peak, on September 8, 1935, at age 42, Long was assassinated by gunshot at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

Although often described as a "fascist," Long eschewed ideology. Historians debate whether he was a dictator, demagogue, messiah, or populist, and whether he was a friend or enemy of American values.

In common with Beck are his charisma, his flamboyant, theatrical, soaring rhetoric, and his self-assuredness in taking on the nation’s problems with remedies that half the country feel are wonderful, and half feel are dangerous. It is debated for both whether they are praiseworthy men, and whether or not they are good for America.

So, Do I Dismiss Beck?

No, I don’t dismiss him. I said that Beck reminds me of Huey Long, but I didn’t say he was Huey.

Beck has more truth than Long did. Beck is right that America has forgotten its history. He is correct in longing for a return to Mom and Dad and everything-will-be-fine. He is accurate when describing the Obama Administration as far-left ideologues who will harm America by turning it into a weak, socialist, bloated-government nanny state.

Howard Beale or Huey Long?

In fact, the Howard Beale character, not Huey Long, is the best comparison when thinking of Beck. Beck is unhinged, perhaps by society, but he’s on to something. He’s not somebody you should empower, but you ought to listen to him, with some skepticism.

The Origin of Beck’s Issues with America

Glenn Beck discovered his issues with America because of his paranoia. Darkness drove him to research like no other talk show host. Add to that the emotions of his inner devils, and his alcoholism, and you get the tears and the sighing, and the doomsday predictions with pleas to start digging underground shelters and buying composting toilets.

I’m With Beck When

he’s calling Obama a Chicago thug leftist. By all reports, Obama is worse than Blagoyavich, and approaches the tactics of Al Capone, politically.

Rod Blagoyavich, Ex Illinois Governor
Beck loses me when he advises Americans to withdraw all their money from the stock market. Doesn’t he realize that if a lack of confidence like this spread to all America, it would spell d o o m? It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The exact opposite of FDR’s "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

Al Capone, 1940, Chicago gangster

Many Republicans and conservative talk-show hosts are making this same mistake, talking down the economy, for political or ratings gains. They lack the perspective to realize the potential harm they are doing to America.

Yes, vote out Obama, but don’t destroy America in the process.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx                                                                                             Rock

However, in short, Beck is good for America. Yes, you heard me … but only if you listen to him once a week max, and on condition that you take what he says with a handful of salt.

Sarah Palin

Sarah is a different story. She is not a raging, but helpful, demagogue like Glenn. She was born innocent, and remains so. The
Sarah Palin
eternal cheerleader. The mother of all Downs’ Syndrome babies, and irresponsible teenagers. The scrappy basketball guard with a perfect figure and white teeth, Sarah Barracuda—who couldn’t last two minutes on a basketball court with a male midget, but whom men would like to date.

Is Sarah Stupid?

No. Politically, she’s brilliant. Her emotional quotient, EQ, is sky high. Her IQ, though, is admittedly low.

What this means is, she’s the opposite of a nerd, who can repeat all sorts of history, politics, and science. Her vocabulary is challenged, which you might refudiate. Her understanding of international politics is weak, as when she explained to Katie Couric she had foreign policy experience because one could see Russia from Alaska. Intellectually, on the wonk side of things, some national, and all international issues, just don’t interest her. And, she lacks what they accused Bush of lacking, the curiosity to investigate. She is lost on many of the important national issues. Could she learn them? Yes, but she’s not shown any inclination to school herself.

But, what she does grasp, is people. She has leadership qualities and charisma. Up until the Glenn Beck rally, she was the champion on gathering a crowd. Her political skills, in my opinion, reach the level of Ronald Reagan, but not FDR. Her political acumen, in fact, far exceeds Obama’s. She does "get" her followers, speak their language, and fight for them like the mama grizzlies she loves. Palin knows people, kids, friends, public speaking, and regional and local politics.

In Short

Palin is basically a cheerleader with instinctual knowledge and extraordinary appeal, firmly grounded in conservative and family values, who can translate her vision into an attractive package for Americans yearning for tradition and certainty.

The Tea Party

is a social political movement that began in 2008 and 2009 with a number of local and national coordinated protests based on fiscal conservatism.
Tea Party Logo


See here a short history of the Tea Party Movement, which owes it’s origin to Ron Paul supporters, stock-trader Graham Makohoniuk, Rush Limbaugh, and activists Mary Rakovich and Keli Carender, and which was boosted greatly by Michelle Malkin in 2009.

Tenets and Goals

A few of the major tenets of the Tea Party are:

- Fiscal Responsibility

- Constitutionally Limited Government

- Free Markets

See here and here for more platform issues of the party.

The Tea Party’s Contract From America , developed by Houston-based attorney, Ryan Hecker prior to the April 15, 2009 Tax Day Tea Party rallies, includes:
  • Identify constitutionality of every new law.
  • Reject emissions trading.
  • Demand a balanced federal budget.
  • Simplify the tax system.
  • Audit federal government agencies for constitutionality.
  • Limit annual growth in federal spending.
  • Repeal the health care legislation passed on March 23, 2010.
  • Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy.
  • Reduce Earmarks.
  • Reduce Taxes.
The Tea Party, as opposed to Beck, steers clear of religion, although it does emphasize patriotism and support for the troops. As opposed to Sara Palin, the Tea Party leaves family values out as an issue.

Palin, Beck, and the Tea Party

Sarah Palin, in fact, is active in several Tea Party events, to the extent that some label her as a leader in the movement. She and they, however, demure from this, preferring that the Tea Party remain basically a grassroots uprising, without identifiable leadership. They do love her, though, and vice versa.

And, of course, Beck is a favorite, too, since he believes in many of the same tenets. He also, though, would not consider himself a leader in the movement, though thousands of Tea Partiers did attend his recent rally.

What they all have in common is a feeling that America has gone wrong. They think that government has become too big, and is spending too much money. All three assess that the Obama Administration is taking the country in the direction of a European-like nanny-state socialism, and away from patriotism. They fear a loss of freedom due to massive government intervention in people’s lives. They want a return to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

And, of course, they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!

Your Comments are Welcome Here

Have a great day!


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It could be doctored, I don't know. It makes its point, though.

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