After letting a few days pass to allow the dust, praise, insults, and profanities which followed Glenn Beck’s Keynote speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference settle onto the poisonous partisan turf of Washington, I actually found a complete transcript of the remarks and read them in full. No surprise to see why some Republicans were upset.
As a former Republican turned independent conservative, I tend to agree with many of Beck’s libertarian leanings. Speaking before the audience of 10,000, Beck blamed Republicans and Democrats alike for dramatically growing the size of our government, for spending the peoples money well beyond our means, and for embracing and advancing the culture of corruption.
Whoops. Did the conservative Beck just lay a great deal of blame at the feet of the Republican Party? He did and rightly so.
Said Beck in part, “I remember when Ronald Reagan talked about morning in America. I have always believed that…let me tell you now; it is still ‘Morning in America.’ It just happens to be the kind of head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting for four hours kind of morning in America…”
With regard to the Republican role in the nasty morning we now find ourselves, Beck continued, “It’s not enough just to not suck as much as the other side…the first step to getting redemption is you’ve got to admit you’ve got a problem. I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem…I don’t know what they even stand for anymore. They’ve got to recognize that they have a problem. Hello. My name is the Republican Party and I’m addicted to spending and big government.”
For the last line, a number of Republicans came down on Beck like a ton of bricks. “How dare you stand before CPAC and honestly criticize the GOP. You were supposed to vilify the evil Barack ObamaBarack Obama21 state AGs denounce DeVos for ending student loan reform Obama to net 0K for Wall Street speech: report Trump’s wall jams GOP in shutdown talks MORE and then get off the stage. Not point out that the Republican leadership is hypocritical, rudderless, and complicit in creating the problems which plague our nation.”
Beck took so much heat that he addressed the criticism on his program two days later by saying the American people want their leaders to “stand for something,” and that it’s essential to “hold your side’s feet to the fire.” He then rightfully pointed out that Marco RubioMarco RubioTop Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Rubio defends Trump: 'This whole flip-flop thing is a political thing' Rubio: Shutdown would have 'catastrophic impact' on global affairs MORE was 18 points ahead of Governor Charlie Crist in the Florida Republican senatorial primary precisely because the people had turned their back on the GOP and their hand-picked candidate in Crist and decided to think for themselves.
While the conservative Beck has always been a piñata for the left and their allies in the media -- with some additional whacks now being delivered by partisan hacks from the right -- he has always understood what fictional President Andrew Shepherd said so succinctly in The American President; “Everybody knows America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad ‘cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”
Not only isn’t America easy, but much of the rest of the world is a great deal worse. In a line designed to enrage the left, Beck said, “Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution.” While the debate rages over that accusation, I would like to offer up a “cancer” and “disease” that trumps them all. Terrorism.
As the Republican and Democrat “leaders” Beck took to task continue to bathe in pork, hypocritically point fingers at the other side while ensuring their self-preservation, terrorists plan night and day for the next horrific strike against our nation. More than that, these terrorists are counting on the crass partisanship and selfishness which permeates much of our government to act as a needed distraction for their plans.
Rather than speak only when they have a book to sell and money to make, I’d like to hear Republicans Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty continually tell me what they believe is the best course for us to take. Stop leaning on the hackneyed lines of how bad Barack Obama is and tell me instead your precise and detailed plan for our future.
Because, and to paraphrase Glenn Beck, as a conservative, “I don’t even know what you stand for anymore.”
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official. He served as press secretary to former Senator Bob Dole and is the author of three novels.