Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 10, 2009

AFTER THE SEGMENT.... It was a very special episode of Glenn Beck's Fox News show, when he pretended to douse a colleague in gasoline while talking about setting himself on fire, but what I found especially interesting is what happened immediately afterwards.

You may have seen this clip already. After learning that President Obama might eventually embrace an immigration-reform legislation along the lines of the proposal touted by George W. Bush and John McCain (in at least one of McCain's various personas), Beck said, "President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?"

From there, Beck had a fairly predictable tantrum -- he's apparently upset about France, bowing, Guantanamo, Cuba, etc. -- before concluding that we might "lose the Republic." To drive his point home, Beck took a gasoline container, and pretended to pour gas over Fox News' Bill Schulz.

This was so completely insane, it was probably the first time I genuinely started to wonder if Beck's derangement is an elaborate act. A guy this crazy, in real life, might try to eat his shoes while arguing with mailboxes. Getting dressed and making it to a television studio every day would be difficult.

But that's not really the interesting part. Alex Koppelman added, "Unfortunately, not captured in the video is what happened next, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry came on and Beck asked, 'Governor, you're regretting being on this program at this point, are you not, sir?' Perry responded, 'Not at all, Glenn Beck. I'm proud to be with you.'"

And that, in a nutshell, helps explain what's gone terribly wrong with conservative Republicans of late. Beck appears to be in desperate need of medication, and the chief executive of one of the nation's largest states is "proud" to appear on the show, just moments after Beck pretended to set a colleague on fire.

Credible, serious public officials would ordinarily want to avoid making eye contact with a deranged figure, but Gov. Perry was delighted to chat with the Fox News lunatic. Maybe it's because Perry actually finds Beck's madness compelling; maybe it's because Perry has a big Republican primary coming up and wants to curry favor with Beck's followers.

Either way, it's a problem for the party and the conservative movement. Conservative blogger Rick Moran said yesterday, "Beck worries me. Conservatives worry me. I worry about myself. I feel trapped in a huge ball of cotton, trying gamely to make my way out but don't know which direction to start pushing. I am losing contact with those conservatives who find Beck anything more than a clown -- and an irrational one at that."

If the GOP wants to pick itself up off the mat, this would be a good place to start.

Steve Benen 3:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

Isn't this like shouting "FIRE!" in a theater?

Posted by: apeman on April 10, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

John Cole has shown the way. All Moran has to do is follow it.

Posted by: jayackroyd on April 10, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Beck thinks he is doing for the right what Stewart and Colbert have done for the left, but there is a definite humor gap.

Posted by: Virginia on April 10, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"FIRE! Heh-heh. FIRE! FIRE!"

"Calm down, Beavis."

Posted by: ArkPanda on April 10, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely insane.

I'd arrest Beck for reckless endangerment.

Not funny.

The GOP.... at his Beck and Call!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 10, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Modern Republicans live in an alternate universe where lunacy is mistaken for wisdom and tea bagging reduces stimulus.

Posted by: Hank Blathers on April 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Beck believes a word he says. And his shtick is more than just a lame attempt at performance art.

The rubes tune in and love what they see, Fox News' ratings go up, Beck makes more money. As with any conservative, it's all about the Benjamins, baby.
.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on April 10, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Did I hear him correctly. I think he claimed to have voted for change- Funny, i find it just a little hard to believe he voted for Obama.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on April 10, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, Perry almost had to say what he said, or risk alienating Beck's viewership, which, like it or not, forms part of Perry's base. It's conceivable (I originally wrote "I'd bet", but on reflection I wouldn't) that if you asked him the same question off the record, his answer would be different.

Posted by: nonc on April 10, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The whole insane alternative universe that passes for the conservative commentariat these days is the inevitable outcome of a party that is simply obsessed with being in complete control of everything.

When they lose that control, they go literally nuts. And start advocating the violent overthrow of the lawfully elected government by armed force.

That's called "sedition" in legal circles. Maybe our people in Congress and the media should start using it.

"Sedition is a term of law which refers to covert conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority....Put simply, sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or state and has to do with giving aid to enemies or levying war. Sedition is more about encouraging the people to rebel, where treason is actually betraying the country. Sedition laws somewhat equate to Terrorism and Public Order laws." - Wikipedia


Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 10, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Rick Moran is worried about conservatives and feeling lost? TFB. We've suffered such idiots for decades -- and most of that time, they've had the WH.

I really don't see a qualitative difference between Beck and half of the conservatives out there. He's just cranked the same craziness up a notch.

Posted by: beep52 on April 10, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

The comment section at Rick Moran's site was interesting. My favorite was that Beck explains complex issues in a way that regular people (like the commenter) can understand. I wonder what the Fema re-education camps story taught him.

Posted by: Danp on April 10, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I found Rick Moran interesting. Extremely wrong, of course, but interesting. At least he appears to be arguing in good faith, which I guess is all we can really ask of each other.

But wow, do we live in different realities.

Posted by: Frank on April 10, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Expecting a republican politician to distance himself from crazy people is crazy enough to make you a republican!! Public appologies to the insanely deranged is just too humiliating for most politicians.

Posted by: JoeW on April 10, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

The funny part would have been if someone had switched Beck's "gas can full of water" with a container of something extremely volatile and completely odorless. The static electrical pulses from the studio equipment alone would've done the rest---and we'd be rid of Beck, Schulz, and Perry all in one fell stroke. Within the hour, GOPers from coast to coast would be talking about "the need to recede...."

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 10, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think the strain of finding out what teabagging is slang for and that they have been advocating group, public oral sex for days now to the point that they have become laughingstocks across the country has completely unhinged these people.

Posted by: Mimikatz on April 10, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

There won't be an ounce of accountability for this pathology until another Tim McVeigh style lunatic blows up a building full of government employees and children.

Then, maybe then there will be a day of reckoning, but not any time sooner.

There's too much money to be made by playing to the rightwing rubes.

-GSD

Posted by: GSD on April 10, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hey wait --
I shamefully admit I'd never heard of Rick Moran before this post.
But it does raise the question of whether the famous picture of a biker-looking protester with a flag bandana and shades holding a cardboard hand-lettered sign might actually have been one of us crashing an otherwise righty rally -- y'know, the one with the sign that said, "Get a brain! [Rick] Morans"
No?

Posted by: smartalek on April 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

So does anyone think that poring a can of water over someone in a studio with electric cables running everywhere any different then poring gasoline!

Posted by: mat1492 on April 10, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Can the Dems and the progressive pundits now have permission to stop appearing on Fox News channels? I mean really now, what is it going to take?

Posted by: PS on April 10, 2009 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I've assumed for weeks now that Beck was faking it for ratings. I assumed everyone else did too!

Posted by: Hoosier Paul on April 10, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Crazy, I know, but that's the first time I actually watched Glen Beck. It was entertaining and bizarre backwards, to be sure.

What shocked me were all the little visual and audio cues... I didn't know Glen Beck was a homosexual.

Wow. Good for FOX NEWS, supporting the GL community.

Posted by: JJC on April 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Screamin' Demon. It's an act, and it draws eyeballs. There's no way he can keep topping himself, so the ratings will drop off, and with any luck we won't even remember him in 9 months.

Posted by: Gus on April 10, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say if there is another major terrorist attack on US soil over the next few months, the threat of some sort of attempt at a beer hall putsch by the Beck crowd is actually a possibility. They seem just insane and paranoid enough to try it.

Posted by: Jim on April 10, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Like danp upthread at 3:34 PM , i spent a few minutes in moran's comments.....yeeks.....

however, take this for what it's worth, beck's ratings are huge for his pretty terrible cable time slot..he has more crazed eyeballs watching than cnn, headline news and msnbc combined at 5 pm..[source: la times, today]....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on April 10, 2009 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP doesn't want to pick itself from the slimy floor. They want to ride the titillating, militia-psycho movement goaded by Beck and Savage until the literally bitter literal end. Anything to promote their reconquest of American, however damaging to almost all of us. Watch though for at least a few more decent among them to start hiving off, but by now I don't know if any are up to it.

Posted by: Neil B ↑ on April 10, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ugh. Ignore this guy please. Us conservatives are trying to get rid of him, I promise.

Posted by: Boiler on April 10, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Glen Beck, especially, reminds me of the pro wrestlers who get a hold of a microphone. Except the wrestlers are better actors. I don't believe a word Beck says. I don't believe he believes what he's saying - look at his totally insincere face especially when he's trying to form a widdle teardrop. The wrestlers are FAR FAR better actors. I find it so hard to believe that so much bad acting and so much stupid actually got him this far. The right must be the most desperate they have ever been. Every Republican that was ever alive should be turning red with shame at the mention of his name.

Posted by: bridget on April 10, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Re: comparing Beck on the right with Colbert/Stewart on the left

The Daily Show & the Colbert Report are ostensibly comedy shows, on a network called COMEDY Central; Beck is ostensibly news commentary on a network called Fox NEWS (emphasis mine). That's the difference. Colbert & Stewart may offer critiques of public officials (but are harshest in their critics of the news media), but they are not demonstrably about creating a movement (unless you count Colbert's getting his name on a spacecraft as a genuine political movement).

Posted by: cejaxon on April 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad there isn't some harmless additive you can add to water to make it smell like gasoline. We might have found out just how crazy Glen's colleages think he is.

Posted by: BobN on April 10, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

liberals are the enemy

Posted by: waicool on April 10, 2009 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think Turdblossom is the evil twin of Andy Kaufman!

Posted by: wagonjak on April 10, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Did Beck cry like a bitch? He lurves America so much it makes him shed tears.

Christ, were all these rightist tools raped as children, or what?

Posted by: Jamey on April 10, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who believes we're best served by competing viewpoints and ideologies, I'm getting a little concerned that clowns like Beck are getting so much attention. There have to be some grown up conservative voices out there. Where are they?

Posted by: Arthur Lewis on April 10, 2009 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is but one more in a long list of idiocies perpetrated by gov goodhair. The famous lege has a well-deserved reputation for producing some real doozies and perry is one of many. In our defense, however, there have been some rational individuals coming out of the lege, not many, but some.

Some background: in the last election he got a plurality of somewhere on the order of 35%. But since there were three other viable candidates splitting the vote, he won. The people that voted for him (they did NOT include his home county) were the religious right wingnuts whom he has cultivated for years, Bush's famous base. So kissing up to Beck would be right in line with his program.

He has made his bed with the Bush base and he can't leave it. So during the next primary, he has to stir them up and hope that there are enough deranged individuals who vote for him rather than KB Hutchison. Trying to move toward the Republican center would hurt him with the reactionaries and wouldn't help him with everyone else who has seen him without his sheep's clothing. His only chance to succeed is to get his base energized.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 10, 2009 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck, especially, reminds me of the pro wrestlers who get a hold of a microphone.

He's the guy in the crowd in the famous video sobbing "It's still real to me, dammit!"

Sounds a lot like that guy, too.

Unlike the wrestlers, he's not in on the joke.

Posted by: agum on April 10, 2009 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with GB on the spending spree. Everything else is pure steaming bull$#@!.

BTW, on the Internet, your opinions are worthless. Just like mine.

Posted by: Matt on April 10, 2009 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

There have to be some grown up conservative voices out there. Where are they?

Uh, sorry, but "grown-up" & "conservative" are mutually exclusive concepts.

When we have a "movement" that takes its philosophy from Ayn Rand novels, we're talking serious juvenalia here.

Posted by: M. Bouffant on April 10, 2009 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

The line about 'arguing with mailboxes' reminded me of a..... well, let's just say he was an 'eccentric' old gentleman I used to see as I drove around the city of Olympia, WA as I delivered auto parts for a local distributor. Polite to people who spoke to him, reasonably well-dressed, seemed normal enough for a man of his age. But almost every day I'd be driving to one mechanic or another, and see this gentleman having arguments with telephone poles. He'd talk to, then yell at the inoffensive pole, then walk away..... only to return to give the poor pole another piece of his mind! And he always walked away looking mad, like he'd lost that particular argument.

That old fella kinda reminds me of Glenn Beck.....

Posted by: BroadwayJoeFYVM on April 10, 2009 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but Glenn Beck is NOT A CONSERVATIVE! He's a proud Libertarian. He's said so repeatedly. But you guys in the liberal media, can't stand the fact that Beck and other Libertarians have turned on you all.

You're extremist Socialist agenda, has managed to unite Libertarians and Conservatives in a coalition, whereas for the last few years, Libertarians have been skeptical and cynical of the Conservs.

Keep it up. You'll push Libertarians even more into the welcoming arms of the Conservative movement, and even the Republican Party.

Posted by: Eric Dondero on April 10, 2009 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Rick Moran is worried about conservatives and feeling lost?"

Get over it!

Isn't that what they said in 2000?

Well, I'm ready to repeat it loud and proud.

Repubicans? GET OVER IT!!!

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 10, 2009 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

"There won't be an ounce of accountability for this pathology until another Tim McVeigh style lunatic blows up a building full of government employees and children."

How sad is it that the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building did not ignite the anger against America's ultra-right-wing crazies that 9/11 did against Islam's ultra-right-wing crazies.

We need some kind of public campaign "Remember Oklahoma City."

And everyone needs to support the Southern Poverty Law Center that stands apart in fighting these American neo-nazi groups.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on April 10, 2009 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

"...He's a proud Libertarian. He's said so repeatedly."

Got any link(s) for that claim?

"But you guys in the liberal media, can't stand the fact that Beck and other Libertarians have turned on you all."

"You guys" in the "liberal media?" You realize that you're not actually addressing a media outlet, don't you? The Carpetbagger Report is not affiliated in any way with any said outlet.

"You'll push Libertarians even more into the welcoming arms of the Conservative movement...,"

If the typical libertarian behaves like Glenn "real-life Howard Beale"Beck, then I don't know how "welcoming" those arms will be.


Posted by: daniel rotter on April 10, 2009 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Damn! I miss the great Molly Ivins more than ever. Jut imagine the columns...

Posted by: efgoldman on April 10, 2009 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't follow GB much, but I've listened to his radio program on occasion, and he's always the first to admit he's an "ENTERTAINER". If it's not your idea of entertainment, don't watch/listen.

Posted by: tsack on April 11, 2009 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

"This was so completely insane, it was probably the first time I genuinely started to wonder if Beck's derangement is an elaborate act. A guy this crazy, in real life, might try to eat his shoes while arguing with mailboxes. Getting dressed and making it to a television studio every day would be difficult.

But that's not really the interesting part. Alex Koppelman added, "Unfortunately, not captured in the video is what happened next, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry came on and Beck asked, 'Governor, you're regretting being on this program at this point, are you not, sir?' Perry responded, 'Not at all, Glenn Beck. I'm proud to be with you.'"

And that, in a nutshell, helps explain what's gone terribly wrong with conservative Republicans of late. Beck appears to be in desperate need of medication, and the chief executive of one of the nation's largest states is "proud" to appear on the show, just moments after Beck pretended to set a colleague on fire."

Beck is not mentally ill. He is a buffoon. I am Bipolar Type II, and I take medication. I have nothing in common with Glenn Beck--now and before I received proper treatment.

You, however, do share something with Beck: you're a bit of an insensitive jerk.

Posted by: James on April 11, 2009 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

It's nice that so many liberal Democrats are deeply concerned about the Republican party. It's heartfelt and genuine, and that really comes through.

Posted by: Jim Treacher on April 11, 2009 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

I watched Beck. I believe he is gay from his body movements and expressions...good to have another conservative join the gang.

Posted by: joseph hill on April 11, 2009 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't catch the name of the buff young dude who got all wet, but the couple of times he and Beck made eye contact, I could see sparks flying. And I think I could tell trhough the wet shirt that the young dude's "headlights" were on. I wonder if Beck helped him dry off.

Posted by: SplendidOne on April 11, 2009 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

A good analogy of what is going on in the GOP is what is going on in the TV series LOST. Apologies to those who don't watch it and its too complicated to provide the back story but the GOP is Benjamen Linus and the Dems are John Locke. Ben, control freak, man in charge of the island for decades, cannot deal with the fact that he has been supplanted by Locke and is secretly planning to kill him (again).

From the last episode, as Locke is calmly leading Ben through the jungle, clearly in charge:

Locke: "You don't like this, do you?"
No response from Ben but the facial expression said it all.

Posted by: Steve on April 11, 2009 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

Perry is pandering to his base. Kay Bailey Hutchison is WAAAAYY ahead of Perry in the polls, and all she's done to run for governor so far is announce. Right wing Texas nutjobs are all Governor 39% has at this point.

Posted by: Carmelita on April 11, 2009 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

where's shep smith when you need him? shep is the closest thing "faux" news has to anything "fair and balanced", but they must have already muted him by now.

Posted by: skorpeo on April 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

What amazes me is that Fox News (Beck included) is pushing the label of "tea-bagging". It's obvious they are old, white men without a clue as to the meaning of the phrase. The young people are enjoying the outrageous humor of this faux pas.

Posted by: Katrap on April 11, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

• Glenn Beck is nuts.

• Granting amnesty to 30 million illegals will effectively end the Republic. (The newly repreived illegals will be free to bring their whole families here - and they will...)

The two are not mutually exclusive, folks.

If the GOP doesn't kick the fundies to the curb and rediscover the principles of limited government and fiscal prudence, Beck's gasoline-pouring shenannigans will not be that far from the actual result.

You have been warned. Sneer at your own peril.

Posted by: John on April 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Do you believe we will see a "Republican Sister Souljah moment" soon? I think all hell will break loose when that happens but it's the only way forward for the GOP

Posted by: Willem van Oranje on April 11, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Since when did the guy from Honey I Shrunk the Kids become a conservative blogger?

Posted by: glacialspeed on April 11, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

liberals can only tolerate their view.

hanging resemblences of Palin and Bush is a murderer to start.

Obama has still not shown his birth certificate. suck it, libs

Posted by: c0mmunic on April 11, 2009 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

"liberals can only tolerate their view."

Right, objecting to a radical rightist comparing President Obama to an arsonist on a nationally broadcast cable program="liberals can only tolerate their view." Whatever, idiot.

"hanging resemblences of Palin..."

Those are wrong, but some on the right do similar things too. When she was still First Lady, Hilary Clinton was burned in effigy by right-wingers at a "smokers' rights" rally.

"...and Bush is a murderer to start."

During the 90's, conservative crazies hawked a video called The Clinton Chronicles, which accused, without a shred of evidence, of having a man named Larry Parks whacked."

"Obama has still not shown his birth certificate."

Did President Bush, at any time during his eight years in office, ever show his?"

"suck it, libs."

This "lib" would prefer not to.

Posted by: daniel rotter on April 12, 2009 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

should have been, "...accused, without a shred of evidence, of then-President Clinton having a man named Larry Parks whacked."

Posted by: daniel rotter on April 12, 2009 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Keep it up. You'll push Libertarians even more into the welcoming arms of the Conservative movement, and even the Republican Party."

Who are you kidding? The Libertarians ARE the Republican Party.

I know Libertarians like to pretend they're not conservatives (I know, I used to be one) but they're only fooling themselves.

Libertarian ideology is directly attributable to the deregulation and lax oversight that led to our current financial collapse. It contributed to the gutting of federal executive agencies under W. In short, Libertarianism is responsible for all our ills.

Frankly, I'd embrace the religious right before the Libertarians. Libertarianism is just another religion, anyway.

Posted by: garnash on April 12, 2009 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

"We can disagree on policies... But please, some of us don't agree with all of the policies."

Conservatives Against Glen Beck-even when he's right, he's an idiot.

Posted by: Reed Arnold on April 12, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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