cross posted from Daily Kos
The GOP will be a tool for this burgeoning madness, and if they can’t be used, they’ll be discarded like everything else (i.e. rational thought). I suspect that deep somewhere various minor Republican underlings had a hand in this, a sorta Plan B in case then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama won. But now, my suspicion at least, this is a creature they no longer can control. Indeed, it may be a beast that will devour them.
Beck very well could be our Mussolini-in-waiting. The Italian dictator’s early career was in print media, as a “journalist” for a newspaper. Beck started in talk radio now television. Both started newsletters, both got involved in nascent right-wing movements started by others. But there are other parallels as well which I’m sure many on DK have also picked up on for a while now.
He screams freedom and liberty and defense of the homeland. Hitler and Mussolini and other fascists did the same. He claims to be a libertarian, but when push comes to shove, he’s really a social conservative. He claims to be anti-government, but we’ll see, God help us, this man gains a position like President with his Tea Party in Congress.
As for Fox, they’re in it for the profitable ride. They gave up a lot of sponsors and still stuck with Beck because they figured there’s an even larger payoff. Rupert Murdoch, or his kind, think they can control Beck. But they are making the same mistake Franz von Papen did about Hitler.
Their movement isn’t about liberty, though they have convinced many that it is. It isn’t about smaller government. If so, they would not be opposed of the state staying out of the marriage debate and allowing same-sex marriage. Nor would they be for prohibiting choice. Look at their agenda, and also look at what Beck and his pool of “experts” say (many neo-Confederates.).
He has surpassed his mentor, Limbaugh in many ways. Limbaugh claims to have gotten the GOP in power in ’94, yet many say in reality that other factors really lead to the downfall of that Democratic congress. For all his claims of being the “godfather of the movement conservatives”, Rush doesn’t have an active political organization, Beck now in all practicality does. In my opinion, Beck is more dangerous than Limbaugh. I was a conservative and a voting Republican. The early part of my journey of seeing the rational light was the case of Limbaugh and his drug abuse.
To this day, you’ll hear many conservatives say they’re his fans when liberals ask. But discreetly and in confidence (something I’m sure many of you’ve heard), Rush has lost a lot of credibility. One socially conservative friend of mine says he tells his liberal friends he listens to Rush, but in reality he tunes in to Hannity or Beck (on the internet). And not just on the drugs, you talk to some of the real righties, and they’ll bring up the fact that he can’t hold a wife. It sounds silly, but it does hold water in some conservative circles.
Beck came out about his abuse and has turned it into an asset of sorts. He wears it on his sleeve as a badge of redemption. A manipulative ploy really, because redemption is a major theme to his core christian-conservative base. It’s the same with his supposedly comedian side, he’s a man with many faces of deception.
Beck has a lot of baggage, and the skeptic in me doubts he could become president. I also though Bush wouldn’t win a second term. That doesn’t mean his movement won’t cause damage. The Republicans, if their civil war continues and this new Beck cancer gobbles up more of the GOP’s resources, will turn that party into a thin shell of it’s former self. Indeed, as liberal/progressives, we need to start focusing on battling the Tea Party. Beck said he’s a many who reads a lot of history, and it wouldn’t surprise me that he wishes to do to the GOP what the Republicans did for the Whigs (though they too were a shell of their former selves when Lincoln arrived).
His movement seeks to destroy the New Deal. Either he or someone who follows him down the road may be in a position to do great damage. The New Deal was only the beginning for our side. This nation needs a real strong safety net. Oddly enough, a good chunk of his followers (case studies for an updated version of “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”) would benefit from such a construct. Beck, portraying himself as the Godly Sheppard patriot, is actually leading his flock (and potentially us) into the valley of despair.