Monday, February 07, 2011

Glenn Beck Skating On Thin Ice, Days With Fox May Be Numbered

Say it ain't so, R&R (Rupert and Roger)!

Word is percolating in responsible conservative media circles, "Rightwingville, we've got a problem." Fox regular Bill Kristol this weekend criticized Beck for sowing "hysteria" with "rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s."

Robert Welch was founder of the John Birch Society, a radical right wing organization whose anti-communist conspiracies embraced racism and antisemitism as it expanded to recruit Southern segregationists in the 60s. Even mainstream Republican President Eisenhower was not immune from the JBS conspiracy theories, not unlike the charges leveled at President Obama today by conspiracy peddlers Glenn Beck and Frank Gaffney and extremists in the Tea Party movement, that his administration is filled with communists with a secret pro-Islamic agenda to undermine American democracy.

Echoing William F. Buckley's denunciation of the JBS which finally marginalized it in conservative circles,  Kristol chided fellow conservatives for caving to Beck's fearmongering and being "so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it's a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition." Rich Lowry, editor of the publication founded by Buckley, National Review, concurred writing that Kristol "takes a well-deserved shot at Glenn Beck's latest wild theorizing."

This uncharacteristically serious tone of criticism by prominent conservatives of extremist elements in their ranks not coincidentally happens amid commemorations of the date of Ronald Reagan's birth. Like Buckley's open attack on the JBS, it reflects the regimented conservative way of course-correction in their ranks when the wingnut attack dogs no longer help the cause.

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