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Kathleen Parker on the 'Glenn Beck Program'

Glenn Beck's rally on the Washington Mall Saturday continues to draw extensive interest from our readers as they ponder the message and what that huge, peaceful crowd of folks was all about. Their discussion today centers on Kathleen Parker's argument that the gathering was right out of the Alcoholics Anonymous playbook.

First of all, as happens sometimes with Parker, there are accusations that this is exactly the kind of drivel you would expect from a liberal Democrat. Parker tends conservative. Then there are charges of treason from those who know that and see a problem with rightish columnists questioning the right.

And finally there is an extended discussion about Parker's central point about the AA playbook. As she writes, "For Beck, addiction has been a defining part of his life, and recovery is a process inseparable from the Glenn Beck Program. His emotional, public breakdowns are replicated in AA meetings in towns and cities every day." More than 350 folks have weighed in at this writing.

We'll start with bryan37, who wrote, "I'm no fan of Beck, but this nothing more than an ad hominem attack. It really borders on being a little sick. Does Parker ever have anything insightful to write? I just never see it"

To which binkynh accurately replied, "Actually, Ms. Parker usually tends to veer rather republican. So sorry her column is suddenly so annoying to you today!"

And bobmoses asked, "Oh, is the Post's token conservative attacking conservatives again? Lord knows she would never criticize a liberal. People keep telling me that Parker is a conservative.If so, why does she only attack conservatives?"

dougd1 said, "One reason Beck gets so much attention is that many people, though they won't come out and say it, view him as extremely dangerous. He slings out lies revisionist history, fear and hatred to over 3 million people a day (on his tv show)... Whatever the cause, it's important ot keep in mind that Beck is dangerous and that Fox "news" supports his lies, revisionism, fear- and hate-mongering."

bocatty asked, "Kathleen - was the content of Beck's message upsetting? Where would the addict be without the 12 steps and adherence to a higher power? America might try it - We couldn't do any worse in our self centeredness."

LWittgenstein2 wrote, "Astute and accurate. Beck is a "dry drunk" pontificating on the barroom stool of national TV. Parker is perhaps the most reliable journalist observer whose Republican credentials verify her ability to see reality, beyond mere partisan stridency."

kickoradell said, "He violates virtually every tenet of AA and he is a dry drunk. We prefer our anonymity. If you can't improve on silence, be quiet.
A Friend of Bill W."

And pmackinnon1 wrote, "Dry unoriginal. The very same quack diagnosis was used against another recovering alcoholic, George Bush. Is this a life long charge that is to be leveled against every successful person who has conquered an addiction? Or, is it just reserved for people we can't stand or are unable to understand their popularity. In either case, it's elitist and despicable."

Citi__Street said, "It's downright scary that despite his wacky demeanor Beck sometimes make more sense that the entire leadership team of the GOP!"

spamagnet987 wrote, "...The question isn't whether or not Beck is messed up -- he's just a messenger. The message is that Congress and the President and the federal government are messed up. Congressmen pocket travel per diems while fleecing the taxpayers, and Obama keeps ignoring the will of the voters while plunging this nation into a bottomless pit of debt. Yep, the tidal wave is coming, and the Leftist model of government doing everything to us is about to end. All your ranting won't change that."

Chippewa said, "I've lost count of how many articles and columns the WAPO has run over the past two weeks, almost unanimously bashing Beck. The onslaught continues today. It's become the WAPO's surge. If he's such an idiot, why pay so much attention to him? Could it be because he's viewed as a threat to the Chosen One? Can't have that now, can we???"

sailhardy wrote, "Media preoccupation with bashing Beck and Sarah Palin is alarming. There are plenty of more important things going on in the world. Journalism is dying."

IowaHawkeye said, " people study their adversaries, and Ms. Parker's inability to think and write critically about political figures she disapproves of (Palin and Beck, here) does not serve her middle-of-the road politics. It serves her opponents."

dandrbelf wrote, "Hee Hee! First Gerson, now Parker. The conventional conservatives have noticed what an albatross the loony right is. May the Tea Party split the right-wing vote and hand bigger majorities to the Democrats! Payback for watching that idiot Ralph Nader hand George W. "frat boy" Bush the presidency."

We'll close with Calabrese99, who said, "Beck is undoubtedly certifiable. But we should be asking the question what conditions and actions give such a person prominence. Is he a product of the teabaggers or of general conditions? It appears that we have me the enemy and they are us."

All comments on the Parker column are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 1, 2010; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  | Tags: AA, Glenn Beck, Kathleen Parker  
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Should I trust that you attend or have been to 12 Step meetings? Trust that a personal or familial addiction has devastatingly interrupted your life? Trust that you are involved in addiction treatment?

Can it be assumed that YOU are actually a recovering addict?

I guess so. I mean, you must have answered "yes" somewhere above. You write:

-> "Beck's "Restoring Honor" gathering on the Mall was right out of the Alcoholics Anonymous playbook. It was a 12-step program distilled to a few key words, all lifted from a prayer delivered from the Lincoln Memorial: healing, recovery and restoration."

-> "His emotional, public breakdowns are replicated in AA meetings in towns and cities every day."

That sounds like someone who knows. Authoritatively and forcefully stated.

-> "he.....betrays the grandiosity of the addict."

Real big one there. You MUST know.

Possibly you are an active addict or a recovering one. Perhaps you co-dependently exist or have existed with an addict close to you. Maybe you are a Certified Addiction Counselor or volunteer at your local Salvation Army. Or have absolutely no first-hand experience with addiction and recovery.

In any case, I found this particular chunk most irresponsible:

-> "Indeed. After the hangover comes admission of the addiction, followed by surrender to a higher power and acknowledgment that one is always fallen."

In my opinion, Kathleen, that is playing very fast and loose. If you had constraints; editorial, time or space, I would not have grossly understated this particular process in the fashion you did. You should have left it out. It's pretty serious know?

You trivialized it. Pretty sad.

In sum, I'm speculating that Beck is not anonymous enough for your taste. Spikes his commentary with too much 12 Step innuendo. Pied piper-like. He very well might. It seems safe to say you don't like his style. And you know, truly, "it's all good."

His message? Doesn't really matter.

I wrote you today about the shallow treatment you gave addiction and recovery. Please remember behind these conditions are people. People with failings and hope. People with families and close friends. People that are loved by at least someone. A person. An addict.

Hardly political. Hardly satirical. A human interest story? Likely.

Posted by: seenlucky | September 3, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

But the important question is, what does Journolist have to say about it? Whoops, did I mention "Journolist?"

Am I not supposed to talk about that?

Posted by: MaryJessel | September 2, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Are we Peggy Noonan now? If Beck and Fox News are inconsiquential, then why all the fuss from Parker,Maddow, Chris Mathews and Olbermann? They sure seem to worry alot about what they're up to! Are they jealous of the lack of attention? And how can you argue with seventy percent of Americans? It would be nice to get a follow-up question from Brian Williams, in interviewing the President!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wkbdmom | September 2, 2010 2:31 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine what made this woman such a dried up old hag spiritually.

All those people being nice - God, how it must have annoyed her!

Posted by: oldmomster | September 1, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Recognize Beck and His His "Little Picnic" for what it is.
Just another attempt by someone on the Political Right to Commandeer the TEA Party movement, Just like Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey et all. Only this time Beck and Palin have chosen to not just wrap themselves in the Flag...but also, the Robes of Christ.

Beck is reported to be to going to Alaska over the Labor Day Weekend to meet with Palin to plan their next event...May God have Mercy on Our Souls.

Posted by: Glen2gs | September 1, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see listed in the column Ms. Parker's academic credentials to practice psychotherapy.
She seems well trained, however, in character assassination.
Shame on the Post for stooping so low.

Posted by: mtpeaks | September 1, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Seems every one who posts has a problem with the illegals , Some for and some against. This I understand, Every one has a right to their opinion, What I don't understand is the lack of understanding of the word Illegals. Bank robbing is Illegal, You go to jail for it, Why are there border laws if they are not to be enforced? Is most of the people posting Bleeding hearts, Or just don't know the meaning of the word Illegal.the next time you get stopped for speeding, Tell the Officer it violates your rights to have to show ID Or any other papers, Then wave good as you are on your way to jail for being Illegal.think about it.

Posted by: martin3719 | September 1, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

If you want to see the America that Beck is urging on, you need only read his followers’ comments on this site which is critical of Beck and his rally. They are cult like in their blind adherence to the Beck doctrine, and this despite the fact that for some, like the Tea Party, Beck's worldview contradicts their core belief in the Constitution and the separation of church and state! It is sobering to read and provides a warning we all need to heed.

Posted by: Dh1953 | September 1, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Im from the uk and it makes me laugh how all you liberals get so uptight about Glenn Beck.If as you seem to say he is a "lunatic"then at least 400,000 Americans who were at that rally must also be lunatics and probably 70% the American people who are more likely to agree with him than your socialist President and those bunch of cronies he has backing him up in the Whitehouse.Saying Beck is mad and a nutcase and all the other school yard rubbish you hurl at him only makes decent Americans applaud him the more.You lefties really have to get over it. Obama isnt the Messiah but just another politician and not a very good one at that.

Posted by: frank69 | September 1, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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