The Growing Conservative Backlash Against Glenn Beck

Conservative writers disavow the controversial talkshow host, who claims he would have voted for Hillary Clinton

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Glenn Beck, the overwrought, emotional, and frequently feuding Fox News host, has gone too far for his right-wing compatriots. In an episode sure to further exacerbate tensions with the Right, Beck said Tuesday he would have voted for Hillary Clinton over John McCain and Sarah Palin. Heresy! Conservative thought leaders are stepping up a push to oust Beck from their ranks (many of them wanted him out before the Clinton comment). It's a risky move for the Right--Beck's ratings are soaring, and as the 9/12 rally in Washington demonstrated, he can influence a big crowd. UPDATE: Yet more Beck backlash from conservatives.

  • David Frum decried Beck's habit of treating punditry as all-out war against Obama:
    [Beck ally David] Horowitz agrees that Beck’s attack on Sunstein was false. Yet that falsehood does not worry Horowitz. The country is "under assault." (As the broadcaster Mark Levin has said, President Obama is "literally at war" with the American people.) In a war, truth must yield to the imperatives of victory. Any conservative qualms about the untruth of Beck's defamation of Sunstein amounts to "appeasement" – an appeasement that will end with the left decapitating the right. This is the language and logic of Leninism. There is no truth or falsehood comrades, there is only service to the revolution or betrayal of the revolution.
  • Peter Wehner called Beck "the antithesis of Ronald Reagan" who "should worry the conservative movement":
    I understand that a political movement is a mansion with many rooms; the people who occupy them are involved in intellectual and policy work, in politics, and in polemics. Different people take on different roles. And certainly some of the things Beck has done on his program are fine and appropriate. But the role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality. My hunch is that he is a comet blazing across the media sky right now—and will soon flame out. Whether he does or not, he isn’t the face or disposition that should represent modern-day conservatism. At a time when we should aim for intellectual depth, for tough-minded and reasoned arguments, for good cheer and calm purpose, rather than erratic behavior, he is not the kind of figure conservatives should embrace or cheer on.
  • Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter and adviser, agreed with Wehner:
    It is sometimes alleged, with varying degrees of accuracy, that conservatives refuse to police the excesses of their own. Those persuaded by this argument should read Pete Wehner on Glenn Beck. It is a model of reasoned response to an emotional populism that is something less than conservative.
  • Dan Riehl dismissed Beck as a disaster who "isn't and has never been" conservative:
    Get your mind around one thing right now, a Perot or Paul-like fracture in the Republican Party in 2010, or 2012 is a guarantee  that Euro-socialism will prevail in America. And it will be too late to do anything about it by the time some next election rolls around. Turning back the clock will prove politically impossible after that. You may as well pack up your kids to be raised in France, or the UK, as there will be no marked difference from what it is we become over here.
  • Allahpundit attacked Beck's claim that both parties are essentially the same:
    [P]resumably his argument is that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats these days and therefore we’re better off with a president whom the right doesn’t feel pressure to apologize for and whose tendencies towards big government it can oppose in earnest. If you believe that — that there’s no difference between the parties — then you haven’t been paying attention to Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Honduras, Poland, and the Czech Republic lately. Epic fail.
  • Meanwhile, Glenn Beck told Katie Couric he would have voted for Hillary Clinton over McCain/Palin in 2008. "I can’t believe I’m saying this, I think I would have much preferred her as president and may have voted for her against John McCain," he said. "How about this? I think John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama. How’s that?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.