A Conservative Becklash?

Filed in National by on September 25, 2009

Is there a backlash brewing against Glenn Beck by other conservatives? Steve Benen documents the details:

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough blasted Beck, and argued that the Fox News personality may be fomenting violence. “You cannot preach hatred,” Scarborough said. “You cannot say the president is racist. You cannot say things that have very deadly consequences.” He added, in an apparent reference to the Oklahoma City bombing, “I was in Congress in 1995. I know where this can end.” Scarborough also called on Republican leaders to “call out” Becks’ “hatred.”

Right-wing radio host Mark Levin called Beck “pathetic.” Rush Limbaugh referred to Beck’s role in promoting conservative protests as “cheap and disingenuous.” Peter Wehner said Beck’s “interest in conspiracy theories is disquieting” and his daily attacks are “not good for the country.” Wehner called Beck a “roiling mix of fear, resentment, and anger.” Conservative columnists Kathleen Parker and David Brooks told Chris Matthews that Beck is “baiting” and “empowering” racists.

Today, Levin said of Beck:

“If you’re not going to be politically sensible and have a strategy and have an end-game, you’ll keep winding up on weekly magazines, you’ll keep making a lot of money, but in the end you won’t make a difference.”

Limbaugh is calling Beck disingenuous? LOL! I think the criticism is probably of mixture of genuine concern to professional jealousy. For about a month I’ve been wondering if we could still call Rush Limbaugh the leader of the Republican party, even rhetorically. For the last couple of months it has seemed like Beck has been dominating the discourse on the right and had started creeping into the mainstream.

Perhaps it’s stuff like this that has gotten the Republicans concerned:

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Comments (30)

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  1. Scott P says:

    I’m going to put my money on “professional jealousy” when it comes from people like Limbaugh and even Scarborough. As for some of the others, it might be honest concern. But I will say, even when those like Rush just don’t like that someone else is getting more attention, it is a positive sign that they are reasserting themselves by calling him out and not by trying to out-crazy him. Credit where credit is due.

  2. That’s my other concern, Scott. I think they’re trying to make themselves look more mainstream so they point to one guy and say – see he’s crazy, I’m normal.

  3. a. price says:

    Good. let them destroy each other. Beck has RABID followers. I know of people who like Rush, but not Beck and they are actually nice, even minded Republicans. They will actually admit most of what he spouts of for shock value, but his basic point is valid, blah blah blah.
    The people who listen to Beck however, and think he is speaking the truth will see Rush as elitist, and Beck as the “voice of the average American”. Since the Right has no leader in elected office, they have to rely on people who get paid to say batshit crazy things.
    Professional jealousy? Hell yeah. BUT they will market it as a real disagreement. I would MUCH rather Beck’s army of insane terrified “patriots” be angry at other conservatives… like Limbaugh’s crew… and try and “purify the party”.

  4. RSmitty says:

    Open question based on this thread…
    I am hearing bag-o-nuts (the collective wingnuts) starting to go off that the H1N1 vaccine is really President Obama’s attempt to poison Americans. I only wish I could make this up, but it is making the rounds. Does anyone know if this sourced from Speck, I mean Beck? Sounds plausible to be his imagination, but no idea if that’s from where it came or not.

    P.S.: bag-o-nuts (the collective wingnuts) copyright rsmitty 2009.

  5. Scott P says:

    Haven’t had time to set my crack research team on this yet, but I have an idea. Back around Aug. 18, the aptly named Dick Armey had this to say, “In September or October there will be a hyped up outbreak of the swine flu which they’ll say is as bad as the bubonic plague to scare the bed-wetters to vote for healthcare reform. That is the only way they can push something on to the American people that the American people don’t want.” This now may be the bag-o-nuts© running with a similar idea. ‘Cause God knows, when nature strikes, it’s either the fault of the gays or the liberals.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    One of the Beckerheads (I heard that someplace yesterday) from the Mike Castle Crazy Eileen video had something to say about the H1N1 vaccine. Something about research at Ft. Dix and creating a monkey juice to inject into people. The guy definitely said he did not want monkey juice injected into him.

  7. RSmitty says:

    Cass – I think you and I are speaking of the same bag-o-nuts© person, seriously.

    Scott – if that’s their theory, then surely, they must buy into Tom Ridge’s pulling back the curtain on terror-threat levels in 2004, too, right? 🙄 I guess I should stop holding my breath now.

  8. Delaware Dem says:

    LOL. Love the copyright symbol, RSmitty.

  9. Scott P says:

    Yeah, Smitty, don’t hold your breath. We don’t want you turning that blue.

  10. Rebecca says:

    As to Scarborough, I’ve heard rumors that he might run for prez in 2012. Watch him as he scrambles toward the center.

  11. Delaware Dem says:

    To win the GOP primary, he must praise Beck, not criticize him. The GOP base loves them some Beck and Palin. Criticize either, and you are evil Communist.

  12. Progressive Mom says:

    Something is happening, but I’m not sure exactly what. Beyond what is listed in UI’s post, it seems that Beck is trying to go “mainstream” a bit more, doing the Couric interview. He and Limbaugh have been doing a bit of the mainstream show-on-the-road lately, even without new books to sell, and their interviews have been rather tame in comparison to a year ago.

    Are they just looking for a new, and possibly, bigger niche? Are they worried about advertisers?

    I don’t think leopards change their spots, but they do adapt when necessary.

  13. A. price says:

    Rebecca, with all due respect, sight your source. not to say “YOU LIE” or anything, but i find Scarborough running for president…. or even having a shot kind of hard to believe. He couldn’t handle the HOR.. he’s happy on TV. I think he going for ratings…. by trying not to lose his MSNBC left leaning base.

  14. liberalgeek says:

    I can back up Rebecca’s assertion. In fact, I may be the source for Rebecca.

    I’ll see if I can dig up the column that suggested it.

  15. RSmitty says:

    He couldn’t handle the HOR…
    My history timeline may be off, but I think he was one of the few that actually upheld the pledge to self-imposed term limits of the 90’s.

  16. Scott P says:

    From what I can tell, right now it’s more other people throwing his name around, but I don’t think that usually happens without the subject telegraphing some interest. Here are two articles:


    From the Politico article, “Some major donors and GOP strategists have approached Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” about a national run, according to party sources.

  17. liberalgeek says:

    Yes and no, Smitty. He did hold up his end of the bargain, but he was experiencing other things that forced the issue.

  18. liberalgeek says:

    Yes, that second link is the one I was thinking of.

  19. PBaumbach says:

    I’m glad that I was sitting when I read that Beckerhead has a book titled Arguing with Idiots. Actually the book will be coming out shortly (to PM’s point about going mainstream to sell more).

  20. Beck has previous books. I think the last one was called “Common Sense.”

  21. Scott P says:

    I’m assuming he’s trying to ironic.

    But no, that would require self-awareness.

  22. A. price says:

    Joe wouldn’t be the first MSNBC anchor with rumors about running for office.

  23. Scott P says:

    I assume you’re refering to the esteemed (in his mind, at least) Mr. Matthews.

  24. Republican David says:

    Interesting that someone would try to toss an alledged Rush quote since Limbaugh has repeatedly endorsed Beck and recently appeared on his program. As for Levin, He is smarter than both of them and may have had a moment of frustration. Beck actually does have a political end game. I just don’t think it is one Levin likes. Joe is a competitor.

    Unlike the others, Beck is not a Republican. That was part of the promotion when he went national, he was a registered Libertarian. Which I am sure will make some even wish for Bob Barr back in exchange. He is building a third wave political movement which will be able to leverage the parties. Levin would rather redirect everyone back to the GOP. Beck would rather the GOP come to his folks (not him) and prove it is worthy of support. Beck is a man without a party which actually makes him more influencial.

  25. A. price says:

    ” That was part of the PROMOTION when he went national, he was a registered Libertarian.”

    EXACTLY. UGH David, darling. Beck is a “libertarian” to make republicans who agree with him feel like they arent being drones. He exists to spout republican hate speech so when they agree with him they can say “YEAH SEE, NOT JUST REPUBLICANS THINK THAT” and if he says something REALLY offensive they can say “oh well he is a libertarian” but dont pretend he is anything other than a creation of Roger Ailes and Rupert the pirate. his party registration is exotic packaging, but … and i will dust of this chestnut.. it is lipstick on a fat crybaby insane pig.

  26. I’ve listened to beck enough to know that I don’t have much use for him.

  27. anon says:

    Plenty of right wing neo conservative, bible thumpin’ hypocrites register as libertarians, especially in the press. It’s the great, “see, I’m not a republican” argumet, therefore I am objective and not biased, even if nothing could be further from the truth.

  28. Yeah — sort of like the Communists and socialists who register Democrat to appear mainstream, or even get elected to office.

  29. Do you know many? Libertarian is not a popular registration. Most conservatives would say Libertarianism is a waste of a vote. If you think the Libertarians are over run with Conservative Christians and neo cons (which are usually very different people), you are mistaken. A party that supports legalized almost everything will never have that support.

    Beck is okay because he is right on abortion, marriage, national security, and the Constitution. In 2001-2002 he moved beyond Libertarianism to what he now calls the 9/12 values. He was a big Bush backer in 2004 because he understood the danger of defeat in Iraq. In 2005 he called for us to go big or go home and pushed for victory. He started worrying about the coming economic bubble back when you guys laughed at it. He has been right all along and you have been wrong. For that matter most of conservative radio and left leaning media didn’t see it coming in that way. Pat Robertson, Dave Ramsey, Peter Schiff, and a few others did. They were all sort of dismissed on the business channels. My only real problem with Beck is that he is not on prime time and I have to DVR him. The problem the left has is that he thinks for himself.

    And yes, he just claimed another scalp with the departure of the NEA communications director.

  30. By the way I heard the original quote Rush was not even talking about Beck. If you read the politico article they try to make sort of a friendly rivalry between them, but they don’t go that far. Since the quote that was so portrayed Limbaugh went on Becks program and had a great time.

    They have different styles and motivations. Rush wants to build an audience. Beck wants to rebuild a nation. Rush talks about general principles. Beck gets down to chapter and verse. Rush is a marketer and builds a brand for the long run. Beck downplays himself as insignificant. The Levin quote is also different in context as well. Poor Levin he can’t even get interviewed in Time or the New York Times and Beck is the topic of the day. Mark Levin is a genius and will be essential to the new majority. He may be the new Will or Buckley. It has to be frustrating that the only time they want to talk to a guy who sold well over a million books is to ask him about another guy. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0909/27282.html