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November 02, 2016

Failing and Flailing, Glenn Beck Tries Courting the Leftwing Press He Used to Oppose

Lloyd Grove's piece is well worth reading.

Struggling radio, video and internet entrepreneur Glenn Beck, who has styled himself as a conservative firebrand and sworn enemy of the liberal media, seems to have done an about-face and is now ardently courting the journalistic outlets he previously had little use for.

"I think a lot of people are going to be turning to him after the election to ask what role he can play in the reconciliation within the Republican party and between the parties," said one of Beck’s business associates, explaining why the right-wing radio jock and former Fox News rabble-rouser has been plying his trade in hostile territory, cooperating with profiles for Rolling Stone and Vice News.

Beck has also started showing up on MSNBC and at The New York Times, where he recently contributed an Op-Ed essay urging }empathy" for Black Lives Matter protesters, whom he described as "decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans."

...


And he also taped a congenial interview with PBS's Charlie Rose show, finally accepting an invitation from Rose, who also co-hosts CBS This Morning and contributes pieces to 60 Minutes, that he has consistently declined over the past five years.

"Is there an evolution in Glenn Beck?" the ever-sensitive Rose gently asked his guest.

"I hope so, Charlie," Beck replied.

"I know you do," Rose affirmed, "and you’re a growing and evolving human being."

"He is very kind, fair and I believe perhaps the best place a man can actually have a real conversation and think deeply and thoughtfully beyond the sound byte [sic]," Beck later gushed on Facebook.

There are very few conservative commentators, it turns out, who actually believed the things they've been saying for 15 years.

I was pretty shocked to read Matthew Continetti writing about populism the other day. Continetti came to my attention with his well-written pieces on the insular and inbred media-political culture, channeling populist resentments against a detached and self-serving elite in a drolly vicious style.

Continetti is, actually, one of the leaders of the new wave of populist rejection of a semi-pseudo-aristocratic ruling elite. I say "semi-pseudo" because there is in fact an aristocracy, in all but name.

Or he at least was the most literate avatar of that movement. Now he's given to saying things like this.

The attacks on National Review, on George Will, on conservatives with elite educations, on conservatives granted legitimacy by mainstream institutions is a replay of the New Right rhetoric of the 1970s. Names have been added to the list of Republicans in Name Only, of false, cuckolded conservatives, but the battle lines are the same. On the one hand are the effete intellectuals based on the East Coast, shuttling up and down the Acela corridor, removed from the suffering of the average American, ignorant of the social issues, amenable to social engineering, fat and happy on a diet of foundation grants, magazine sinecures, think tank projects, speaking engagements.

Note this is more-or-less how Continetti himself depicted the insular overclass in such pieces as "Love in the Time of Obama."

Now he says of such "adversariansm," as he calls it (assumedly irrational and hate-based opposition to the Eastern monied establishmet):

Republicans have walked this tightrope for decades. When the party has integrated the issues, goals, and tactics of the New Right into its campaigns, it has been remarkably successful. Think 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1994, 2010, and 2014. But there also have been signs, on the presidential level most clearly, that the alliance with populism is bringing diminishing returns. The GOP is on the brink of losing the popular vote in six out of seven presidential elections despite its current nominee running precisely the type of campaign the New Right has wanted to see for years. And this election is likely to return to office a Republican House majority that is more anti-Establishment, more hostile to compromise, more suspicious of institutions and elites than the one we have today.

This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual. After years of aligning with, trying to explain, sympathizing with the causes, and occasionally ignoring the worst aspects of populism, he finds that populism has exiled him from his political home. He finds the détente between conservatism and populism abrogated. His models—Buckley, Burnham, Will, Charles Murray, Yuval Levin--are forgotten, attacked, or ignored by a large part of the conservative infrastructure they helped to build. He finds the prospect of a reform conservatism that adds to our strengths while ameliorating our weaknesses to be remarkably dim. Such conservatism has exactly two spokesmen in the Senate. It has a handful of allies in the House and states.

From the Panama Canal to the Tea Party, from Phyllis Schlafly to Sarah Palin, the conservative intellectual has viewed the New Right as a sometimes annoying but ultimately worthy friend. New Right activists supplied the institutions, dollars and votes that helped the conservative intellectual reform tax, crime, welfare, and legal policy.

Yes, the "New Right" -- actually the Garbage People Base of the GOP -- provided the dollars and manpower to give the elite class the power to do things the base never asked them to do, and, in fact, were often explicitly promised they would not do.

Like attempting to pass amnesty three or four times.

This is how I read that: Continetti was glad to rake the coals and warm the fire of "adversariansm" when he and his cronies could channel popular resentment towards their own list of priorities, rather than the priorities of the people whose support they had cadged out of them to get themselves into positions of power to betray that trust.

Now that people have gotten hip to that particular shuck and jive ace, and won't have their anger stoked over specific issues only to see the GOP drop those issues like a dead rat the day after the election, populism has revealed itself as a racist, repulsive cancer that must be excised.

He ends by saying conservatives might have to give up "adversarianism" and simply accommodate themselves to the permanent welfare state -- but haven't they done that in fact, long ago?

We might have to reject adversarianism, to accept the welfare state as an objective fact, to rehabilitate Burnham's vision of a conservative-tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition. This is the challenge of the moment. This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual.

Conservative-tinged. Tinged! O God, dare I merely dream of such a delirious triumph?

Oddly, a writer calling for an accommodation with the large and perpetually growing welfare state also seems to find that the "adversarianists" just aren't conservative enough.

I guess I sort of liked Matthew Continetti better when he was playing artfully -- that is, in the Shakespearean sense of "deceitfully" -- to the resentments of egalitarians against the unaccountably-smug-in-the-face-of-their-own-failures elite, rather than now, when he honestly reveals he was just sort of stoking those fires to feed the engines of the establishment.

Anyway, a lot of people just seem to be admitting the flat-out never believed the bullshit they've been saying for most of their lives.

I guess I'm one of the saps.

Meanwhile, two Roman Dynasties seem to have formed an alliance -- George P. Bush reveals, unsurprisingly, that his Connecticut-born-and-bred uncle George W. Bush may in fact be voting for dear family friend Hillary Clinton.

Let this be our last Bush in high elected office -- ever. At least elected on the "conservative" side.

There's an Obamaesque plaintiveness to all this whining. One can hear the very pronounced theme, These noisome, repulsive ingrates just aren't educated enough to understand all the Wonders we have accomplished for them (and our corporate patrons).

As I've asked, rhetorically, a hundred times: How many times did you expect run-on-border-security-propose-amnesty-three-months-after-the-election play would work? Even the stupidest people on earth eventually get wise to the same con the fifth election cycle in a row it's run on them.

I guess the GOP base disappoints the party "intellectuals" as the American public disappoints Obama. They're not quite smart enough to believe these people's apparent failures are actually Beautiful Victories in Disguise, but have gotten a little too smart to keep believing the same con every two to four years.

Such is the unhappy, middle-to-low-brow lot of a GOP commoner: Too stupid to truly understand like the elites do, but not quite stupid enough to happily go along with the ruse any longer.

Good times. Honestly. The truth is always a good thing, and we seem to be getting the truth is very large doses this year.

It goes down bitter, but like medicine, it'll do you good.


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posted by Ace at 06:26 PM

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