The Abyss Stares Back

Let’s talk about Glenn Beck.

His meteoric rise from alcoholic DJ to a political commentator capable of drawing 1% of the entire nation to his TV show at 5pm is stunning in and of itself, but Beck is more than a radio/tv personality and best selling author. As the founder of the 9/12 movement he is one of the central forces behind the 2009 protests against big government. He led a successful attack that culminated in the resignation of a White House official, and now his “56 Refounders” initiative claims to have garnered at least two anonymous volunteers – Senators or Representatives – who are willing to inform on their own party in an effort to stop government corruption.

There’s a line between talk and action, and Glenn Beck has crossed that line. In doing so he has become the American Left’s Most Wanted.

The response is best typified by Olberman’s call to Daily Kos readers to “Find everything you can about Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes.” I don’t know how many Daily Kos readers responded personally to Olberman’s request (rescinded, interestingly, within 48 hours), but the response from the left-leaning journalistic establishment has certainly followed the spirit of Olbermann’s call: let’s get Beck.

And there are two major problems with this vendetta. The first is a problem for liberals. The second is a problem for all of us.

You can find plenty of articles on Beck these days, but to make my points I’m going to focus on just one: Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life. It’s from Salon, and it’s written by Alexander Zaitchik. I Googled him to get a feel for who he is. A list of his most recent articles paints a picture of Zaitchik as the paragon pseudo-intellectual liberal. He is the mold from which all pedantic college political dilettantes are cut. The sort of guy who protects a sense of smug security by carefully avoiding contact with intelligent opinions that might threaten his own. A person who clearly views politics as an exercise in fashion, and being right as a question of self-worth as opposed to truth. Do I exaggerate? I think not.

We start off with his careful attention (2-3 articles) to that most vital issue common to all individualistic free-thinker: legalizing drugs.

If Obama Is Pro-Science and Honest, He’ll Put the Kibosh on the Drug War
Obama was frank about his own drug use, so why isn’t he more honest about what a disaster war on drugs has been?

All Indicators Point to a Softening of America’s Harsh Marijuana Laws
With key medical marijuana ballot initiatives likely to pass, and a more pot-friendly majority in Congress, there is room for optimism.

And of course the only thing cooler than just getting high is getting high and multicultural. At the same time, no less!

Have You Ever Taken Ayahuasca in the Peruvian Amazon?
My account of a night high on the “Ayahuasca madre” with the Ashaninka tribe deep in the Amazon rainforest.

No, sadly, I have not. And thus, in a very real and very vital sense, I have never lived.

Just for reference, he only wrote one article about the climate change bill and two about healthcare, so I guess that may say something about his priorities right there.

In addition to the requisite “cool” agenda bulletpoints (healthcare, global warming, Bush is the Devil, etc.) you’ll find a healthy dose of arrogance directed towards conservatives like “tea-baggers” and especially Christians. You’ll also – and I’m going to come back to this one later – find a sky-is-falling article at AlterNet about how “Father of the Gaia Theory, James Lovelock says we can’t stop climate change, but that humanity will continue in some smaller form.”

Judging from the Google results, however, his biggest story has been the Glenn Beck story. You could read it, but I’ll spare you.

Point 1: Glenn Beck has a shady character in his past: Cleon Skousen. He was a Mormon and a very big deal among Mormons. You can tell because I – a Mormon – have never heard of him in my life. (And really, there just aren’t that many of us. The famous guys get talked about.) More importantly, he was apparently crazy. Glenn Beck never met the man, but he likes his books: including The 5,000 Year Leap.

Conclusion? Glenn Beck is obviously insane.

Point 2: Cleon Skousen was really not insane. He just faked the insanity out of greed. He was so greedy that he continued to propound his insane beliefs even when it got him kicked out of every reputable organization and left him destitute. (That’s the impression I get from the article. I have no idea how his finances actually looked). He did this for the money. Glenn Beck is the same as Cleon – the mentor he never met – ergo Glenn Beck is obviously not insane, he’s greedy.

This is textbook strategy for attacking people in the press. You want to trivialize your opponent through ridicule – hence “stupid”, “crazy”, etc. – but you have to avoid arousing sympathy on their behalf (because laughing at real-life mentally handicapped people is a no-no) and so you toss in “evil”, “dangerous” etc. for good measure.

From an emotional standpoint it makes sense. Rationally? It’s a train wreck. Bush can’t be a moron and a criminal mastermind at the same time. The more astute critics got around this by casting Cheney or Rove as the mastermind and leaving Bush as the idiot. So far no one (that I’ve read) has postulated a criminal mastermind – the power behind the throne – for Glenn Beck, but it’s only a matter of time. It’s all about casting everyone in the right role to fit the narrative.

But there are larger problems with the article and – by extension -the anti-Beck movement.

1. Attacking Beck Legitimizes Attacks on Obama

Before the election most right-wing attacks on Obama were based on his past associations (e.g. Bill Ayers). Glenn Beck has actually taken a different approach: he is concerned with Obama’s current advisers. Despite being on much safer grounds (especially given Obama’s invitation to this sort of scrutiny), liberals don’t watch Beck enough to actually catch the fine distinctions in what he is saying.

All they see is this: get to Obama by going through those around him.

After spending the last couple of years saying that this is unfair and unreasonable liberals have decided it’s actually perfectly fair and quite reasonable. In addition to sabotaging their own credibility, they actually legitimize what Beck is doing. If the fact that Skousen is a paranoid conspiracy theorist is relveant to Beck than what does that say about all the crazies in Obama’s life?

To any liberal listening – trust me on this: that is not a game you can win. Obama knows way more crazy people than Beck does.

2. Becoming the Monster You Fear

The MSM sees racism everywhere. Look at what Media Matters considers to be iron-clad evidence that the 9/12 protesters are all racists:

Where’s the racism here? The concern is not that he’s black. The concern is not even really that he’s not a natural born citizen. That, in and of itself, is no big deal. The problem is that if he’s not an American citizen, then he is ineligible to be President according to the US Constitution. The issue is constitutionality, not race.

Then take this hilarious sign:

Obviously it’s a riff on the “Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot” bumper stickers about Bush. These guys believe Obama was born in Kenya. So that’s what they put on the poster. Again: what does racism have to do with anything?

The point I’m making here is that the liberals see what they want to see. They don’t see the tea-party protesters, they see tea-baggers. They don’t see peaceful protests, they see mobs simmering with violence. They don’t see concern about the rule of law, they see racism. And – when it comes to Beck – they don’t see someone genuinely concerned for his country. They see only “Satan’s retarded stepbrother”.

Nietzsche was never my favorite philosopher, but I was always struck by the power of some of his aphorisms. One of the more famous of these is well known:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

That’s bad enough when you’re fighting real monsters, but what happens when you’re fighting monsters of your own imagination? You end up becoming the worst thing you can imagine. When the Left demonizes the Right, and then fights the demon that is only in their head, they end up becoming that demon. When the Right demonizes the Left the same thing happens.

And that – in the end – is why I like Glenn Beck. I do not believe that he’s exceptionally gifted when it comes to political, economic, or social analysis. He is not very educated, and from time to time it shows. His assertions can be sloppy. But even the exceptionally gifted, highly educated, very careful analysts are going to get things wrong. What matters more than getting the answer right or wrong at any given moment is a commitment to the process of getting to the truth.

That is a process that can’t be constrained by preconceptions about what is reasonable and what is crazy. It is a process that can’t be deterred or swayed by what people are going to think about your answers. And it is a process that requires a willingness to constantly re-evaluate and seek to understand people who oppose your beliefs.

To some extent Beck does increase political extremism, but so does anyone who has an impact on mobilizing the base. If we’re not going to pin ELF antics on Obama we certainly can’t pin anti-government violence on Beck. The fact is that Beck does his best to present what he believes the truth to be.  He brings more scholars than celebrities onto the show, and he spends entire shows dedicated exclusively to explaining technical financial dangers or semi-obscure political history.  It’s gotten to the point where even some contributors of the respected legal blog Volokh Conspiracy stand up for Beck because he’s doing more than anyone else out there to carry the banner of intellectual libertarianism to the people.

If liberals were willing to open their eyes to Beck and the Americans who find something of value in his message they would be able to interact with his legitimate concerns.  They would realize why so many Americans are angry at the state of our country, and that it has nothing to do with racism, idiocy or insanity.  Most importantly of all, they would realize that Glenn Beck is not the monster they make him out to be.

But if there’s one thing Team Obama seems worst at, it’s listening.  And so they don’t.  And so they are off in the shadows, fighting imaginary monsters.  And – just as Nietzsche warned – becoming the very monsters they loathe.

—————
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.

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Comments

  1. John Feeny says:

    Nate – Unbelievable, fantastic article. A couple of things resound with me: if you remember back last summer (you probably don’t, though), I corresponded with you about a blog post I had put up with regard to a rather alarming self-discovery that I had made. I had come to see that in my efforts to reach Leftists (which, I’ve since learned, can’t be done), I had begun to hate them. I even remember when I made the realization – when I was shaving (I know, a bit too much information there, but I find that I do my best thinking when I’m shaving or driving. But I digress). It was at that point that I realized that if I didn’t ‘toss down the lightsaber’, so to speak, I’d become one of them. So I know of what you speak.

    The other point pertains to Beck’s angle on the ‘Birthers’. Truth be told, I consider myself one of them, but not to the point that I’m going to protest in the streets. There’s obviously a lot of shady stuff there, but if I’m understanding Beck’s angle on this, what he’s saying is that whether or not Obama was born here, in Kenya, or on Mars is NOT THE POINT; by focusing on such a smaller issue (obviously there’s room for debate as to what defines ‘small’ on this one), people who spend their days fighting this issue are missing the most important truth, which is that our constitutional republic and our way of life are in desperate danger. In other words, even if Obama were declared constitutionally ineligible tomorrow, that would still not resolve ANY of the problems in our government. Sure, we’d feel a whole lot better, but we would’ve made no progress in repairing our country. Kinda like watching you house burn, but making sure that you locked the doors before you left.

    I should add, though, that the people who continue to fight this issue should continue to do so; if we claim to follow constitutional law and Obama does, as a result of some unlikely scenario developing in the courts, prove to be ineligible, then he should be removed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Proud ‘birther’ here. Just show the BC, no harm no foul.
    I’d love to send flowers to his birth hospital.
    Also, there’s more on a birth certificate than place of birth.
    Is this guy hiding something? We’ll never know.
    Same with college records. I despise SECRECY.
    T R A N S P A R E N C Y would be nice.
    PLEASE, place egg on my face.

  3. Randy Wills says:

    Personally, I find Glenn Beck an incredibly talented, entertaining, and informative person. My only concern regarding Glenn is for his (and his family’s) safety.

    I realize that it’s strictly a business decision on the part of FNC to keep him in that “dead” hour of 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM (no one else has ever been able to pull enough viewers – 3M-plus – at that hour to make advertising revenues pay off), but if he was in prime time (as Jeff campaigned for last year), he would blow the socks off Hannity and O’Reilly. Why? Because he’s a well-read, regular guy who speaks the truth “without fear”.

    I pray for him.

    Randy

  4. Gail B. says:

    Robert, this is a fantastic article! I hope Glenn Beck reads it.

    I try not to miss Beck — I watch him on my computer HERE (http://www.tvpc.com/Channel.php?ChannelID=1520).

    I get a lot of information explained to me from his program, but I get something from America’s Right that I don’t get from Beck: guidance flavored with understanding. I used to get right upset, but Jeff has been able to bring about some peace of mind for me. He hasn’t *not posted* one of my comments in a long time!

    You are gifted, too; and Jeff leans heavily on you at times due to his schedule. We appreciate you.

  5. nana says:

    Robert, great article! In my opinion, Glenn Beck is shining the light on the rats and roaches in Washington. I think he has become more and more alarmed at what he was uncovering and has realized the urgency in bringing this agenda to the attention of the public. A lot of the information was out there long before the election…I started reading and investigating Obama’s history initially due to my curiosity. As I foumd more and more frightening associations and characters surrounding Obama, it became clear that there was an agenda and that it was not a coincidence that he had these people in his past. The light went on and I began expressing my thoughts to others and was usually met by a blank stare and comments like “You are becoming too radical!” In order to counter this agenda and reveal the TRUTH, we must not be afraid of being called ‘radical’ etc. I believe like Beck that it may be a small price to pay if you see the danger ahead and you are willing to take a stand.

  6. elspeth says:

    Nice job, Robert!

  7. HonestAmerican says:

    Everything Beck puts on the air, as is the case with the rest of Fox or any network, goes through a gaggle of lawyers called Standards and Practices. What Beck tells his viewers is what he is allowed to tell them.

    You’ve got to be careful with Fox. They’re owned by a globalist and partially owned by Saudi Arabia. Truth about jihad is not there.

    The only place you’re going to get real news is by reading the established blogs and even then you can’t believe anything you read and none of what you see.

  8. Alan Parson says:

    Why didn’t you link to the articles that Zaitchik wrote for Reason magazine?

    Also being against the war on drugs is a Libertarian position, the war on drugs is a war on liberty.

    You should read Zaitchik’s article from the eXile on a gruesome mass murder spree in a desolate Russian city.

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=16405

  9. TAP[ says:

    How come if Obama graduated from Columbia U. College he picture isn’t in the year book nor any one graduated from there doesn’t remember him????????????

  10. Linda B. says:

    Thank you for the great article on Beck. I think Beck says a lot about the way Americans feel about this government. He is teaching many their history through his own efforts and through the books he reviews and authors he has on his shows.

    Shining the light of truth on any topic makes those operating in the dark squirm and try to douse the light. Obama and the people he surrounds himself remind me of Al Capone and his gang – Chicago style politics. However, Obama is no dummy. He has an agenda whether it is his or Sorros’s or the socialist or progressive party’s, the problem is, however, it is not for all the people, by the all people or of all the people he represents. Obama is deceptive and the most dangerous part is he is so full of himself he cannot entertain anything else.

    As for the birther issue. I believe Obama is not a natural born citizen as defined by the Constitution. If you believe this country and the founding fathers had the greatest blueprint for government, the Constitution, then you abide by it. Though I know what Beck is saying about missing the big picture. The fact remains if you can accept a President who has hidden or lied about his birth than don’t complain about what he is doing to this country. Truth is truth and if you negate the Constitution in this case where do you draw the line?

  11. Hugh says:

    Obama fails that test since his father was born in Kenya and never naturalized to the United States. Beck with Fox & Company completely deny the natural born Citizen issue. Beck and Fox News are not speaking truth in this regard.

  12. TNelson says:

    I like Beck, but he is a nut to some degree. There are things he gets right on the money, and other things where he goes awry, or leaves out a small detail that makes a big difference. I don’t think he does this intentionally like, say, a Kieth Olberman, or Chris Matthews, (those guys love to leave out important details that really make the case…like ‘He shot the man in the back!’, and left out, while the man was raping his daughter..) but it still comes up.

    The great thing about Beck, and the bad thing for him is that (I think) he will keep doing the same thing regardless of what party is in power. The flip-floppin Libs are gonna love him in a couple years! We salways will.

  13. LiberservativelRPh says:

    I read this to try to understand the positives GB may have. My own assessment is far less complementary than your article. I think GB is inflammatory and baiting. The parts I’ve seen he appears to be some fast talking maniac who is trying to use subliminal mind games, but misses the mark. I think he borders on reckless in his attempts to amass everyone around the ideas he peddles. I think our country has much greater problems than debating the birthplace of the president. Would you really rather have Biden as POTUS? I would love to read your viewpoints on the decline of American Brainpower which I feel will be our national decline. Currently, for every 1 US grad, there are 75 Chinese and Indian grads with the same advanced degree willing to work for 1/3 of the pay. How will the US compete with these numbers? If we all suddenly lived on 1/3 or 1/2 of our current salaries the American dream/lifestyle and economy will sure look much different than today.

  14. Randy Wills says:

    As my recent post “You Must Be Kidding, Mr. President” points out, the decline in standard-of-living expectations is an unavoidable fact of life simply because it is within the world economy – not an isolated or protected U.S. economy – which we must compete. The barriers which used to allow national economies to function independently of foreign economies have, for all practical purposes, been torn down.

    One of the reasons that there is a huge discrepancy between the number of foreign graduate students in the sciences is simply because that is where (India and China) the growth in employment opportunities are. Few U.S. undergraduates aspire to moving to third-world (or should I say “developing”) countries after their post-graduate studies are completed.

    Realities, like facts, are stubborn things and do not yield to wishful thinking – or political rhetoric.
    Randy

  15. TNelson says:

    LiberservativelRPh:
    There is a very good recent article (or it was an MPR commentary, I forget) that explains that a large percentage of Chinese and Indian engineering graduates cannot perform simple tasks related to their degrees upon graduation. It seems they are very good at getting degrees, but they are not much good at actually ‘doing’. This from a company called ‘Aspiring Minds’ recently: “only 4.2% of India’s engineers are fit to work in a software product firm, and just 17.8% are employable by an IT services company, even with up to six months’ training. A larger share could cope in business-process outsourcing (call centres and the like). These findings are even gloomier than the 25% figure for employability that has been bandied about since 2005, when McKinsey released the results of a survey of international companies.”
    Sorry, I can’t quote my source as it was over a week ago and I don’t remember where I read or listened to it (I have to read less). A man of your brainpower should be able to find it. Don’t be an ‘Olbermantarian’ when presenting your argument. We’ll be actual engineers, they will be working in call centers.

  16. Robert Wallace says:

    Birthers-

    I don’t even know what to say. Find a real issue, guys. This one is over. There may have been some kernel of an issue at some point, but that windows has closed. First of all, no one’s going to do anything about it now. Remove him from office? Yeah, right. This is the USofA, not Zimbabwe or Haiti. Secondly, the Birther movement is infested with crazies and opportunist snack-oil salesman. The movement has no credibility. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. And lastly: most of the Birther arguments don’t even make any sense.

    Move on, people.

    TNelson-

    Sounds like you and I see eye-to-eye on this one. He definitely is a bit of a nut, and I think that’s great. You have to be a bit nutty to be willing to question everything. And yeah – he gets a lot of stuff wrong. Like I said before: what matters is the process. It’s more important to keep looking no matter how many times you get it wrong than to get it right a few times and then stop trying.

    LiberservativelRPh-

    You say the Birther issue is not a big deal. So do I. So does Beck. I’m not sure why you think that’s a criticism of Beck when you guys actually have the same opinion on it as far as I can tell. I don’t know about this “subliminal” stuff. Just watch the guys show a few nights. He has great experts on, and deals with issues in more depth than anyone short of PBS. Except Beck is also fun to watch.

    The brain-drain is overrated. The fact is that US workers are the most productive in the world. What good is a PhD if your employees lives in a 3rd – 2nd world village without access to high-tech equiplment? You’re also forgetting the fact that there are more Chinese and Indians than there are Americans… so it makes sense that they would have more PhDs. I’m not saying “all is well”, but the situation isn’t nearly so dire as some people like to think.

    What’s dire right now is entitlement spending and the budget deficit / debt. Education is nowhere near as critical an issue.

  17. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I’m with Robert on this one, and I want to add another tid-bit:

    We need liberalism to fail. We need to show America that liberalism has failed. Rendering Mr. Hope and Change himself a one-term president and showing him the door with a record looked upon as worse than Carter will be the answer we need for real, true, lasting change in America.

    America NEEDS the lesson of Barack Obama. In a few minutes, I’ll walk past the site where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. I always look up at the third floor of the old replica house, at the study on the corner of 7th and Market Streets where he worked, and I either shake my head or smile. I smile knowing that America has seen Barack Obama and his ideology and is in the process of learning from it. If he were to be removed from office for any reason now, his ideological mission would be considered unfinished — we need to show America that the ideas were tried, and that the ideas failed.

  18. Ima SoBelle says:

    Robert, You say you never heard of Cleon Skousen and then add that he was apparently crazy. I think you really ought to do some more research on him and read some of his writings before you condemn him. His book, The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, is considered by many people to be the most complete and well-documented book ever written about it. He was condemned as “crazy” by critics who did not agree with his unapologetic condemnation of communism and those who supported it, promoted it and tried to spread it. He studied it extensively and saw what it had done to countries who adhered to its tenets. He believed wholeheartedly that all Americans need to know and understand the Constitution of the United States of America in order to preserve our freedoms. I can see why his ideas appeal to GB. Skousen also served as Chief of Police of Salt Lake City and developed a model police force that is still considered one of the best. He served as an FBI agent. He had ideas and beliefs that were supported by a knowlegde of the scriptures. He had many other accomplishments in the academic world. One may not agree with all of his ideals and ideas, but one should at least base criticisms on knowledge, not others’ opinions. Hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about him. Perhaps you will revise your opinion.

    By the way, I really did like the article.

  19. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Ima,

    While most of my books are packed away in storage in anticipation of the move, I have a few left over and always within reach from my desk — “The Making of America” is among them.

    Jeff

  20. Edward Snyder says:

    well done there!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Its not about removing him from office, mensa man, its about him doing what WE do to get a job, show a birth certificate. EQUAL TREATMENT. I sure as hell don’t want Biden or Pelosi in there, but come on. And what about his mysterious college days, come on, this guy is off the charts sneaky. I don’t care where he was born, or hatched, just lay down the paper. If nothing else, it should be made mandatory from here on to show ALL proper paperwork to secure the highest job in the world, period.

  22. TNelson says:

    I’ll be honest, it was the whole ‘birther’ thing that pointed me to this blog to begin with. In that respect the debate was very fruitful for me. Thanks to all for steering me here; I love the opinions expressed.
    There are a bunch of legitimate questions that the birthers want answers to but they have become a distraction and that’s why Obama will not answer them. If he can leave red herrings out that no one can find, then those people will never be on the real trail. That’s why the whole issue in this instance needs to be put on the wayyyy back burner. It won’t be answered, so it’s time to direct all the people to the real issues that are presented to us every day. The problem now is that the administration has an out on ‘real’ issues. Whenever any personal issue or scandal comes up the administration will just say ‘those crazy birthers…..’ and 50% of Americans will discount the issue 30% won’t care.
    Hopefully it will change, but as of now, the ‘birther’ movement does more harm than good. It’s bitter pill, but one we all need to take.

  23. Rick M. says:

    So if you like Beck how do you explain Beck’s turn around when it concerns the Birth Certificate issue (a constitutional issue) to put down those of us who believe that there is merit to asking this question? Is the fact that if Obama was shown to not be eligible there would be riots all over? Why then are guys like Beck (O’reilly) continuing to ignore what I believe to be a core issue with most tea partiers? (Eligibilty) Is Beck being threatened? I somehow think that may be the truth.
    Someone please enlighten me as to why one day Beck is saying “Question with Boldness” and the next day he is putting down those of us with a real question? ” Where is the proof that Obama is a natural born citizen? ” To this date He has not given us any information. Why are we the people to be like sheep and just accept what he has to say about that? It’s wrong and its certainly not helping matters in the bigger picture.
    Someone please write to me @ seven1m@yahoo.com and explain this to me. Thanks

  24. Randy Wills says:

    Before going out too far on a limb regarding Cleon Skousen, I would suggest doing a little biographical – at least Wikipedia-deep (which is often suspect and shallow, subject to uncertain editing) research. Depending on your point of view, he may have been a true historical scholar or he may have been a “right wing nut”. It sounds to me like he was a little bit (or maybe a lot) of both.

    Of particular interest to me was Mark Hemingway’s article, “Romney’s Radical Roots”, (08/2007, National Review Online) which clearly indicates that Romney is (or at least at that time) much farther to the Right” than his history as governor of MA might indicate.

    Randy

  25. Robert Wallace says:

    Ima-

    “Robert, You say you never heard of Cleon Skousen and then add that he was apparently crazy.” I was summarizing the article written by Alexander Zaitchik. According to that article Skousen was insane. But also not insane. That contradiction was the point.

    I have no opinion on Skousen because I’ve never read anything he ever wrote.

    Anonymous-

    “EQUAL TREATMENT.” Show me where this has been demanded from any other president in history. You should probably start here.

    TNelson-

    “Hopefully it will change, but as of now, the ‘birther’ movement does more harm than good. It’s bitter pill, but one we all need to take.” You hit the nail on the head.

    Rick-

    You are a perfect example of why people don’t take the Birther movement seriously. “Is Beck being threatened? I somehow think that may be the truth.” Give me a break. Maybe he just thinks it’s a silly issue? No, it *MUST* be a secret cabal covertly coercing him! Come on.

    You just want to believe what you want to believe. You’ll take the facts that help, and you’ll ignore the ones that don’t. You don’t ask real questions. You just end vague insinuations with question-marks. “So if you like Beck how do you explain Beck’s turn around when it concerns the Birth Certificate issue…?” I explain it by writing an article in which I say that what I like most about Beck is he’s dedicated to the *process* of finding truth. In which I point out that he gets his facts wrong and changes his mind, and that’s why I like him. The only person who never changes his mind is someone who thinks they know everything already. So either you’re God, or you’re delusional.

    The Birther movement started out with legitimate questions, and it still has some legitimate questions. But in the meantime it’s been mired down by ridiculous nonsense, conpsiracy theories, paranoia, and general all-around craziness. TNelson is right. The Birthers are tools of President Obama. Every time he does something genuinely outrageous and conservatives go on offense he can defend himself by saying “Yeah, well, the crazy birthers are at it again…”

  26. Anonymous says:

    We were silly for being so touchy on perjury under oath with Clinton also.
    Principles be damned. It was just adultery. Obama is gone in two years anyway, I just want truth, sunshiny truth. I can wait till history reveals it. I will donate to that wing of his library. Nuff said.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “and it still has some legitimate questions”
    -Robert

    thats what I am saying! I am not calling for anything but reason, and apparatus to ensure all future presidents are ‘for sure’ qualified…. I don’t think our founders would find that too much to ask.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh Chester, you got away with it, so that makes it right.
    Kinda like shoplifting.

  29. TNelson says:

    For goodness sakes anonymous! All the scenarios you present are from a shoulda, woulda, coulda mentality. I had written a lengthy response, but erased it because I realized I can say the same thing by simply responding with this: ??????!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Answer me this, even I am sick of this thread, but Robert and TN have both mentioned there might be valid questions lingering…. so question.
    with boldness (and class). We don’t have to be an arse about it, or carry a sign, but pursue the question, even if ‘off camera”. I am confused.
    We are doing enough damage head on to this admin and ideology, but just for grins this could be pursued by mensa types off radar.

  31. Anonymous says:

    There are no coulda-woulda-shoulda’s when a question is:
    1. constitutional
    2. SINCERE
    3. the party in question is stonewalling

  32. Anonymous says:

    Lock box contents:
    Al Gore…… social security trust fund (ha)
    GW…………terrorists (Guantanamo, the ultimate lock box)
    Barack……..life history(not just BC)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Our founders fought tooth and nail for each and every phrase they built into the constitution. They put nothing willy-nilly into it and felt good reason for each and every clause present. Who are we to judge others when a clause is, with sincerity, in question? You don’t just ‘move on’ from the constitution. Barack can be in there 8 years, I don’t give a rats arse, but I do cherish the document.

  34. Jeff Schreiber says:

    If he’s there for eight years, Sam, there will be nothing of the Constitution left.

    Enough of the BC stuff. We get it. But the MSM is going to do anything it can to make this year’s conservative comeback look like it is dominated by Alex Jones types, and a myopic focus on this issue doesn’t help that.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Not myopic, all inclusive.

  36. Robert Wallace says:

    Birthers need to stop hiding behind the Constitution. There is no Constitutional question left to address. The question of whether Barack Obama is or is not an American citizen is a question of facts and timelines that have nothing to do with the Founding of this country.

    It also – frankly – is just not that interesting. We’ve already had one President who was arguably not born in the US. Clearly the nation survived. That doesn’t make it OK, but it does point out that extent to which there is some serious paranoia at work here. You guys need to wake up: the time to win this case was *before* the election. Or at least before the inauguration. It didn’t happen. He’s president. Get over it.

    We’ve got bigger fish to fry.

    If you look at the world today and the biggest issue you see is Barack Hussein Obama’s birth certificate you need your eyes checked.

  37. John says:

    Great article. I want to add that Glenn Beck has been groomed since his radio days to betray the American people. He pretends to be for the Constitution and then at critical points he spews the progressive mantra. He called for a Value Added Tax during the Copenhagen accords, during the Healthcare debate he distracted us with Obama’s czars and Van Jones as a diversion, he supported the bailouts to help garner the congressional votes and then pretended he was against it, he demonizes birthers almost every day even though most Republicans question Obama’s eligibility and citizenship, and he demonized Debra Medina who is the true conservative in the Texas governors race. Glenn Beck is a charlatan and a Benedict Arnold. He was brought here to lull we conservatives asleep. We need to wake up as a nation before it is too late.

  38. ANCIENT HISTORY 101 says:

    “It also – frankly – is just not that interesting. We’ve already had one President who was arguably not born in the US. Clearly the nation survived.”

    That does it for me. Seems 700 year old philosophy and such are all that is ‘interesting’ to the ‘brains’ of this room. I can’t stand a sneaky charlatan as president and those that think nothing of it. Obama won, and will win. ‘Get over it’.

    And I’m not myopic, it just weighs on me like EVERYTHING with this abysmal president.

    Now I’ll have more time to play my guitar and finish learning piano.
    Anybody know where Rix ended up?

    Go Pence, Go Palin

  39. Lisa in TX says:

    Glenn Beck says, “Question with boldness”, unless, of course, it is outside of his parameters.

    If you question anything he does not approve of, then he labels you a dangerous, revolutionary wacko!

    SO HYPOCRITICAL!!!

    I have found many shady behind the scenes stuff that happened regarding his absolutely INEXCUSABLE HIT JOB on Medina. There is more going on than you know, people!

    I will NEVER forgive him for what he did to Medina, and will never listen to this hypocrite again.

    He says he wants leaders who are grounded in the Constitution and true principles, yet he tries to “kill” the only non-machine, Consitutionally minded candidate, Medina.

    I personally think that the birther or truther thing is irrelevant…we will never know either. But the point is: People who exercise their 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHTS and question should not be called “dangerous” or “crazy”. What is dangerous about questioning a very corrupt, powerful federal government?

    Something is very wrong with this situation. Don’t become Beck-zombies, people. Use your own brain.

  40. Robert Wallace says:

    I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but come on…

    John-

    “Glenn Beck has been groomed…”

    Where was Glenn Beck “groomed”, precisely? I’d love to know what secret ninja monastery specializes in covert faux-conservative talk-show hosts with backgrounds as alcoholics. There’s probably what – a secret underground bunker underneath the UN where Glenn Beck reports back every third Tuesday to meet with the other Manchurian candidates, right?

    “He was brought here…”

    LOL, from where, Kenya? Do you want to see *his* birth certificate too? Or is he from outer space? Someone’s been watching too many X-Files re-runs.

    Ancient History 101

    “That does it for me.”

    Conspiracy theorists don’t actually need reasons to believe the things they believe. They invent them. If it hadn’t been that, it would have been something else. If you don’t like what you hear it’s only a matter of time until you find some “evidence” or a “reason” to write it off. Call it cognitive bias or call it paranoia, but it’s a feeble imitation of sincere rational inquiry.

    If that’s how you want to live your life then that’s your call, but don’t expect everyone to enable you in your delusional fantasies. That feeling you’re having right now? That’s your brain rejecting thoughts it doesn’t like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias

  41. Robert Wallace says:

    Here’s a new idea. Every time you guys want to insert someone else you don’t like into this mysterious web of international intrigue do as all a favor: draw an org chart.

    Seriously. Powerpoint it up. I want to see the chain of authority. I want to see the hierarchy. I want it in black and white.

    No more of this “they did it…” or “they brought him here…” or “they are out to get us…” nonsense. Who are “they”? It’s easy to speculate about mysterious plots and conspiracies when you don’t actually have anything concrete to propose. So propose something concrete. Is Roger Ailes secretly on the take of George Soros? Or are they best buds? Who is Glenn Beck’s handler? Who does he report to? Who does he turn in his weekly progress statements on “perverting the hearts and minds of honest americans for fun and profit” too? Who writes his secret checks?

    I imagine with a little ingenuity and mental elbow grease you could turn a chart out. But that’s not the real fun. The real fun begins when you start adding people into or taking people out of the conspiracy willy-nilly everytime someone says something you don’t like.

    I would kill to have a slideshow of what a chart like this would look like over the last 10 – 15 years. Who would be on top? Clintons one day, Soros the next, Obama now, Glenn Beck tomorrow.

    Seriously, guys, is this a covert conspiracy or a day-time special? We’ve got more plot twists and betrayals then would be considered believable for “Days of our Lives”, let alone Planet Earth.

    You know what… maybe I’ll start up a chart myself just for kicks.

  42. twocanpete says:

    Glenn Beck has repeatedly called for 911 Truthers to be locked up. Youtube it if you don’t believe it. He is a dangerous, twofaced judas-goat. Do not follow this man if you love liberty.

  43. Linda B. says:

    I have been a reader of this website for over a year and I have enjoyed Jeff’s personal touch to the articles and his views. I appreciate all of the contributor’s too.

    This article in particular has sparked quite a few comments and responses from Robert. This article on Glenn Beck whose show and personality has attracted many people to his viewership is thought provoking. Glenn Beck is either for real or an entertainer trying to make a living with a good angle. I have watched Glenn Beck for a year now, but I take him with a grain of salt. Since he has achieved an elevated status, I trust him less as power and fame have a way of changing people as they become addicted to it. Many trade their core values to continue the adulation.

    There are topics Glenn does not touch like the situation in Europe with the Muslim’s, honor killings and the assault on women and when you mention “birthers” he begins a tirade (just as was precipitated in this column) and he has called them stupid people. However, since the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, nephew to the Saudi king is now the fourth largest voting shareholder of News Corp, this could explain the limitation.

    There are people in every group, every company, every family that are a bit far out. It is part of being human and being unique entities. My sister lives in New York state and has been part of the birther movement and is part of the Glenn Beck group, Campaign for Liberty, the Tea Party movement and she and these groups are working in New York within the Republican party to help bring people forward to run in many local races against the entrenched democratic machines. She takes classes on the Constitution and has helped to establish two news blogs on events in New York state and national news. Her group raised over $1,800 dollars to sponsor a Tea Party event in Albany, New York by selling chicken dinners, flags and other items to raise money to pay for police, fees, etc.

    There may be many people that go to the extreme with conspiracies, but many of the “birthers” are also the ones out there actually doing something to make this country a better place. The people I have met love this country and are afraid of what lies ahead for all of us. The point is all of us have to work together to keep this country great, to protect our children and grandchildren, to protect ourselves from legistation that will control and limit our freedoms, to place limitations on the intrusion of government into our bank accounts, our lives, our health, our religious beliefs, and the creation of laws that are not in the best interest of this country or her people. This takes a unified all-inclusive effort of our citizens. We may not like individual traits or opinions, but what really counts is the direction we channel this enery and the leadership to say I understand what you are saying and though I do not agree with you we…this is what we have to do now to achieve our mutual goal.

  44. Randy Wills says:

    Wise counsel, Lisa. I’ve always enjoyed your comments.

    Randy

  45. Randy Wills says:

    The above comment should have been addressed to both Lisa and Linda. I look forward to comments from both of you, and I miss some of those who have dropped out in the past year.

    As a contributor, I hope that I have not become personal or defensive in any of my responses to those who stick their necks out to make comments on AR.

    Randy

  46. Kahleeka says:

    “He is not very educated, and from time to time it shows.” This statement comes off as very elitist! Have you seen the pile of books he has read just this year alone? It puts me to shame, and I’m an extremely avid reader. If you are going to give flippant remarks like that, give a few examples to back it up. Otherwise, personal calumny is not necessary.

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