Sunday, February 21, 2010


Dana Milbank thinks this is startling and significant. It's neither:

At CPAC, Glenn Beck scolds the Republican Party

After three days of liberal bashing, 10,000 right-wing activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference used their final night in town to give a sharp rebuke to ... the Republicans?

... it was time for the keynote speaker, the wildly popular Fox News host Glenn Beck. "I voted Republican almost every time," he said, and "I don't even know what they stand for anymore. And they've got to realize that they have a problem: 'Hello, my name is the Republican Party, and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government.'"

The audience in the Marriott Wardman Park gave a huge cheer.

... In an apparent reference to John McCain, Beck condemned a "guy in the Republican Party who says his favorite president is Theodore Roosevelt." ...

Obama, no doubt, will be delighted to learn that he has been joined in the conservatives' ire by the Hero of San Juan Hill....

The barrage continued. "One party will tax and spend; one party won't tax but will spend: It's both of them," he said. And as for George W. Bush's presidency, "anybody who thought that George Bush was spending and it made any kind of sense was a madman." ...

First of all, aren't the CPAC attendees who cheered Beck when he insulted George W. Bush also the folks who were in the cheering section at this CPAC moment, previously reported by Milbank's own newspaper?

George W. Bush is back -- at CPAC, at least. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) got a big cheer Friday for putting up a picture of the former president with the caption "Miss me yet?"

"I like it too," she proclaimed. The image first appeared mysteriously on a billboard in her state earlier this month....

These people don't care all that much about logical consistency. When Bush is compared to Obama, they cheer Bush; when some bashing of Bush makes them feel virtuous and patriotically "non-partisan," they cheer Bush-bashing. And besides, the subtext of that Bush-bashing, which every wingnut knows by heart, is that when Republicans engage in deficit spending they are "acting like Democrats." So, in a way, bashing Bush isn't really bashing the GOP at all -- it's bashing Republicans who deviate from conservative correctness.

And Milbank is shocked to hear Teddy Roosevelt condemned? Greg Girard, the tea party backer and Palin fan who was arrested a while back with a large cache of weapons, wrote this online not long before his arrest:

Leftists (a.k.a. radical liberals, progressives) have been vigorously pursuing a transformation of this country to a totalitarian communist state for about 100 years or so. For much of the early 20th century, leftist idealogy was so popular in the country that it was in many respects the most popular political perspective, and gave us a string of very leftist Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR....

TR was a DFH? Yup -- that's a common notion on the right.

Now, recall that Milbank quotes Beck saying this:

" ...And they've got to realize that they have a problem: 'Hello, my name is the Republican Party, and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government.'"

Elsewhere in the speech, according to Milbank, Beck said this:

"I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I screwed up my life six ways to Sunday," Beck said. "I believe in redemption, but the first step to getting redemption is you've got to admit that you've got a problem. I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem."

Actually, practically every day I hear Republicans swearing on a stack of Bibles that they're never going to deficit-spend again. But it doesn't matter what Beck has actually heard or not heard -- he's laying out a script for how Republicans purify themselves in wingnut voters' eyes. It's an AA script -- which he offers even as he presents himself as an example of how AA works. In other words, Beck is basically saying that Republicans -- like himself -- are quite redeemable.

No one in Wingnut World ever says that about Democrats.

So, Dana -- and anyone else tempted to fall for this (yes, I'm talking to you, Jane) -- my advice is: don't get sucked in. Republicans aren't really being bashed here. Only deviations from correct Republican thinking are being bashed. Beck will vote GOP in 2010 and 2012, as will virtually everyone who cheered him on.

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