Political Animal


September 14, 2012 11:30 AM Red-Meat Appetizer

By Ed Kilgore

I know this doesn’t involve a serious political event, but sorry, I just can’t resist noting this item from TPM’s David Taintor:

During an ostentatious, boxing-themed promotional event Thursday, the satellite television provider Dish announced that Glenn Beck and Eliot Spitzer will face off in a head-to-head debate before a live audience on Oct. 2 in Denver, Colo., one night before the first actual presidential debate.
The promotional kickoff at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City came a day after Beck’s new network, TheBlaze, premiered on Dish. Beck has an exclusive deal with the satellite TV provider. Both TheBlaze and Current TV, where Spitzer hosts a primetime program, will be available à la carte on Dish for $5 a month starting later this month. The “War of the Words” debate featuring the two gabbers will appear on Dish’s channel 102 and will also stream on Facebook.

The deeply substantive character of this debate is obvious:

After Dish President and CEO Joe Clayton made a few remarks on how the liberal and conservative networks round out the menu of programming options voters will need to make an informed decision in November, the lights dimmed and Michael Buffer took the mic to intone his famous line: “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

Oh brother.

I don’t know if this is a simple act of commercial exploitation of the presidential debates, or is shrewdly provided to give more carnivorous political types a bloody mess of red meat before the inherently more restrained event the next evening. Color me disinclined to give Dish a half-sawbuck to watch this particular show.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Tomm Undergod on September 14, 2012 11:42 AM:

    In olden times when people still knew what a "sawbuck" was, half that amount was called a "fin." 'Course those were the Dark Ages, before everyone learned to say "in regards to" and use an apostrophe to make words plural.

  • Peter C on September 14, 2012 11:45 AM:

    Oh Barf!

  • Marko on September 14, 2012 11:50 AM:

    What's the Vegas line? I want to put $100 on Spitzer.

  • liam foote on September 14, 2012 12:26 PM:

    A frivolous, if somewhat comparable, scene desrcribed in May this year during the debate on gay marriage and DADT.

    Let’s get ready to Grumbllllllllle! In the red corner … the anti-gay rights tag team trio of ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, and RNC Chair Reince Priebus. Annnnnnnnd … in the Blue corner …. the pro-gay rights tag team threesome of President Barack Hussein Obama, former Vice President Big Dick Cheney, and the ATR belt holder Grover Norquist.

    Romney: “I’ll take Obama! No, Cheney!
    No, that other guy, the tax man! Wait!”

    Limbaugh: “I’ll take ‘em all. I can get dispose of these three with no alimony”

    Priebus: “Why is Cheney looking at me like that?
    Is that a smile? Good Lord!”

    Obama: “OK, I got Romney. No perspiration.
    Yes, I can!”

    Norquist: “That big Limbaugh butt belongs to me.
    Log Cabin guys said do it now!”

    Cheney: “I get Priebus? Hell, Pelosi could take that little weasel.”

    Annnnnnd now! To perform Randall Thompson's “Testament of Freedom” (Mvt. 1; The God Who Gave Us life) we proudly present the US Army Chorus and the Turtle Creek Chorale!

  • merl on September 14, 2012 12:31 PM:

    After reading the first item I was hoping they were meeting for a fist fight.

  • Bo on September 14, 2012 12:37 PM:

    Come on, Ed. Do you really have a doubt about whether or not this is a "simple act of commercial exploitation"?
    Of course it is! That is all Glenda Beck does, after all. He's the king of the rodeo clowns.

  • c u n d gulag on September 14, 2012 12:39 PM:

    Who will win?

    It all depends on if the debate is held in the "reality-based" or fantasy world.

    Elliot will bring facts and LOGIC, and Glenn will pull some crap out of his ass or bring his moronic talking points, and come up with something like, "ACORN and the Tides Institute conspired together witj al Qaeda on 9/11, to make George W. Bush look bad. You didn't know that, now, did you? NO YOU DID NOT, HELLEEEEEOT!"

    Spitzer will roll his eyes, and the Reich-wing judges will consider this an intellectual knock-out and declare Beck the winner - and "STILL CHAMPEEEEEEEEN OF THE WORLD!"

  • Matt on September 14, 2012 1:39 PM:

    I respected Spitzer a lot more when he was just a disgraced politician who trashed his good name, put his family through hell, and wasted a potentially brilliant career. I mean, that's a goddamn shame, but it is what it is.

    The fact that he waited about five minutes after resigning to launch a full-scale campaign to remain 100% in the public eye (everything from slate.com articles to this crap) is just disgusting, though.

    Eliot. Move to Schenectady, partner up with some boring local law firm that does wills and trusts, and live the rest of your life in blessed obscurity. I know you don't want to, but it'd be for the best. If you need the limelight they've got quite a good community theater program there.

  • cwolf on September 14, 2012 1:46 PM:

    DISH ought to be condemned for even mentioning that troglodyte beck.
    For paying him - they should be boycotted.

  • threegoal on September 14, 2012 2:04 PM:

    Let me understand. I currently get Dish at some level, and it includes Current on channel 215. Are they going to charge more for it in a package with Beck's channel?

    If so, I'll explore my options and be gone if unless it's a big loser $$ wise.

    If they're adding Beck to what I get already without a price increase, I'll also explore my options.

    The notion of equating Current to Beck in any way is deeply offensive.

  • schtick on September 14, 2012 2:37 PM:

    The respect I had for Spitzer just went down the sewer.

    WTF is with crapcha today? Most difficult time I've had to try and figure out BOTH groups.

  • 57andFemale on September 14, 2012 2:51 PM:

    DISH now appears to have a channel called 'Blaze' that is really the Glen Beck Channel.

    I'd go to war with them except they pretty much told me to go to hell when they cancelled AMC and some of the highest rated dramas on television.

    I'm sure they'd call it 'balance' with Current. Fox = MSNBC unless you actually watch Fox during the day which is all RW until Martin Bashir.

    CNN is Fox. Not even Fox lite. Fox.

    But by all means, put Glen Beck on 24/7 with something called 'liberty radio' interspersed. I'm having too stressful a day to click on it.

  • oldswede on September 14, 2012 3:02 PM:

    Year ago, in the eighties, Timothy Leary and Gordon Liddy went on tour of colleges with their *debate*. I overheard a group of professors envying Leary's style. He sat on cushions with flowers and incense.
    Anyway, the whole thing was weak tea but very colorful.
    This modern match-up pales by comparison.

  • TCinLA on September 14, 2012 4:00 PM:

    Dish - the network for losers. They play fast and cheap with what they carry, and now they have lost quite a few. If you want better, go DirectTV (yes, I am a customer, but no, this is not a commercial announcement). This sort of crap shows how desperate they are. Beck the Winger vs. Spitzer the jellyfish. (I watched Spitzer on Current once and got yet another reason not to watch Current)

  • giantslor on September 14, 2012 5:03 PM:

    Should be headlined, "Lawyer Debates Rodeo Clown"

  • Anonymous on September 14, 2012 7:59 PM:

    Ha! This made me click over from Facebook: "It was a lot easier to respect Eliot Spitzer when he was just "Client Number 9" than it is now that *he's* the prostitute."

  • grandpa john on September 14, 2012 9:05 PM:

    Sure am glad I left DISH several years ago and went to cable

  • Crissa on September 15, 2012 5:19 AM:

    What use is a debate on a single cable system?

    It's stupid.