Fox News host Glenn Beck has some interesting ideas about where the revolution in Egypt is heading. Beck, more or less alone among conservative commentators, has spoken at length about the ideological alignment between radical Muslims in Egypt and leftist fringe groups in America. He's also warned that "the world right now is being divvied up" by a coalition of "the uber-left and the Islamicists and the global elite." This is, to put it mildly, a reading of the situation in Egypt that doesn't seem to have much to do with reality. And Bill Kristol has apparently gotten tired of it.
Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the major figures of neoconservatism, made some pointed remarks about Beck in a recent essay for the Standard. "When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society," Kristol wrote this week. "He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s."
Beck didn't like this! On his radio show this morning, Beck hit back, saying, "People like Bill Kristol, I don't think they actually stand for anything anymore. All they stand for is power. And they'll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together." Beck also said that he's not sure "if you even understand what conservatives are anymore, Billy." (It goes on like this for a while, and there's also something about Barry Goldwater's skeleton.) Later on in the program, Beck apologized, then almost immediately asked, "Have you done a minute of research, Bill?"
This isn't the first time there's been daylight between Beck and The Weekly Standard. But with this latest dust-up, onlookers see increasing evidence that the conservative intelligentsia would like to jettison Beck as soon as possible. Rich Lowry at National Review called Kristol's swipe at Beck "well-deserved," while the blogger James Joyner, a right-leaning libertarian, wrote this weekend that "the psychotic rantings of Glenn Beck invite ridicule on the rest of us." Alana Goodman at Commentary has scolded Beck for "using his high-profile FOX and radio shows" to "misinform."
Meanwhile, Joe Klein says that he's "heard, from more than a couple of conservative sources, that prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about the potential embarrassment that the paranoid-messianic rodeo clown may bring upon their brand. The speculation is that Beck is on thin ice ... I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a mirror-Olbermann situation soon."
Odd that Beck, with his penchant for picking out malevolent conspiracies, hasn't twigged to this one.