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Glenn Beck rally: is the cult of personality our political future?

Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on the national mall -- a big gathering that doesn’t have so much to do with conservative politics as it does one man’s politics -- has me thinking: Are cults of personality the wave of our political future?

It’s insufficient to call Beck a Tea Partyer; he’s a complex brew -- at times fascinating, often astringent, particularly when given too much time to steep. I can’t think of an adjective related to tea that means “prone to believing in far-fetched conspiracy theories,” but he’s that, too. And he has a sometimes too-loyal following that has acquired the taste.

There have always been political celebrities who could fill conference centers -- John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr. But two things about the Beck rally feel new, at least in the context of the last couple decades of American politics: 1. it is -- proudly -- separate from the activity of organized political parties, even if those who sympathize with the GOP will be the dominant demographic; and 2. it isn’t representative of an organized, non-governmental political structure, either, such as the rally-prone Nation of Islam. Rather, it is a demonstration of the influence of a single, idiosyncratic man who writes books with him in a uniform on their covers that makes him look like the villain from The Living Daylights. What is it about? Not one issue or even a constellation of related issues. It’s about Beck’s particular excellence.

“Every great achievement in human history has started with one person,” a promotional video for the rally blares. “The bravest always chart a new course to the new world,” the narrator says, implicitly aggrandizing the man behind the rally, which is supposed to be about celebrating American heroes. Beck has gone further, invoking divine providence with brazen immodesty and dwelling on air about whether the Black Panthers will try to attack his rally. When he’s done, Congress will have to build a new monument on the mall dedicated to his self-indulgence.

In the media, we’re told that we can’t rely on association with old names and established institutions to lend us credibility -- or page views -- anymore. Now, we have to brand ourselves individually. People demand to hear from particular personalities to which they relate. They want voice. And, by the way, it’s even better when you write with personality about other personalities, such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Self-indulgence sells.

Partially this is because people have more options from which to get their news and commentary, so they can click on the person who clicks with them the best. But it’s also more than coincidence that national polls show that Americans’ confidence in many traditional institutions -- political or otherwise -- is waning. As a cause or a consequence -- or both -- Americans are attaching themselves to individuals, particularly those who don’t fit nicely into the old definitions, people who critique the institutions we’ve come to distrust. Beck is one example. Palin, a woman whose substantive political philosophy is one of the great metaphysical mysteries of our time, is another -- even less issue-oriented than Beck, even more reliant on her fans’ beliefs in her particular charisma.

This isn’t just a phenomenon on the right. Precisely because it’s divorced from traditional political institutions, the blogosphere’s left wing is intensely personal, too (though often more substantive), with mini-empires surrounding individual bloggers and their particular brands of iconoclastic politics -- Markos Moulitsas at DailyKos, Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, Glenn Greenwald at Salon, and so on.

If individuals continue to become more important relative to institutions, can we look forward to a continually fractured, personality-driven political debate in America? Perhaps. But charisma doesn’t last. Celebrity can fade, and people retire or die eventually, regardless. What happens to those who follow them -- or, depending on who you think is really in charge, those who create them? The true believers may be coopted by the institutions those personalities create or inspire, which can happen even before those personalities are off the scene. Think of how YearlyKos turned into the more modestly titled Netroots Nation conference. New institutions take the place of the old, or at least supplement the old, and their constituencies broaden.

Either way, we could be looking at a time of fascinating -- and not always positive -- realignments in American political culture, depending on just how disenchanted Americans become with the old -- old parties, old media, old assumptions about political leadership.

By Stephen Stromberg  | August 27, 2010; 2:37 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: Friday's p-Op quiz: "We are family" Edition

Comments

Well, all I can say is you are obviously scared shirtless of what is about to happen to your elitist cronies. It's going to be goodbye and you will be stunned and trying to find fault far into next year. You just dont get it. You dont want to get it. You want us to buy your shirt. Why youre losing marketshare and Beck is flying past you like a rocketman is because of your inability to deal with reality.

No, I dont watch Beck. I have a life. But if you spend yours trying to belittle and demean those of us who see through your transparent bullshirt, no wonder the Post cant make a buck. This time, YOU are on the wrong side of history Stromberg! Funny isnt it?

Posted by: dprosser1 | August 27, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree that faith in institutions is waning in America, but it seems that eroding faith in institutions has been the norm, especially since the 1960s. But I don't think things have quite gotten to the point that cults of personality will dominate in politics. Yet. Maybe in the future.

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have one thing in particular in common, namely they're both on the make. But where Palin is a shallow hustler who loves fame and money, Beck is an egomaniac of the first order. He's also, to use a clinical term, looney.

Posted by: arena-of-ideas | August 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Quite a stretch to compare Beck and Palin to these "who in the hell are they?" left wing bloggers...it is quite evident who you loons are afraid of...yeah, we are taking back our country. Please keep up this shallow, twisted reporting. You are exposing yourself as the bleeding heart idiot that you really are. America is waking up..finally!

Posted by: kjmalone | August 27, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

If you want to see just how dangerous Becks lies can be, go to this site > http://bit.ly/bs5DPm. It compares King and Beck's achievements and has a poll on what you think Beck's motives are. The link got posted on the Restoring Honor Facebook page and are they PO'd. They're flooding the comments (and the poll) and some of the comments are UNBELIEVABLE. Here is an example of what a Beck backer believes based on what Beck tells them, taken verbatim “If they were progressive… they wouldn’t be Christian in any way shape or form. Dr. Alveda King IS a Christian just like her uncle. And in TODAY’S sense of being a christian you HAVE to be conservative.”

Posted by: dh1976 | August 27, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The cult of personality has been part of the political landscape for eons.

I guess that the author finds it offensive the Glenn Beck is getting the spotlight and Keith Olberman and his ilk are not.

Posted by: Crmudgeon | August 27, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, And Barack Obama's cult of personality is foundering on his incompetent leadership, in case the article's author hasn't noticed.

Posted by: Crmudgeon | August 27, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more that Beck gets so much attention for being a "rodeo clown" as he admitted. I guess someone else needed to fill the vacuum after Howard Stern left the free media world 5 years ago.

I just find it humorous besides helping Republicans get elected, that the right wing media exists mainly to keep making money for the right wing media. They all "write" books every year and then use their TV and radio shows to promote their own and each other's stuff.

Maybe a personality on a "news" network should spend more time actually analyzing data and objective facts, instead of cranking out 300-page sleeping pills and hosting megalomaniacal rallies every year.

If unemployment had somehow dropped to 7% this year, I have a feeling this nonsense would still be taking place...the people would just be "outraged" about something else and not jobs and the deficit. They'd turn it into a culture war like in the 90's.

Posted by: jetrain | August 27, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama...is the cult of personality our political future?

yep

Stromberg's crack-like addiction to his own hubris is hilarious -- the insipid young journolist will squeal like a piggy when his Sharia handlers are done with him.

Posted by: ruralamericans | August 27, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

jetrain plumps: "Maybe a personality on a "news" network should spend more time actually analyzing data and objective facts, instead of cranking out 300-page sleeping pills and hosting megalomaniacal rallies every year."

Those of us who aren't kool-aid poisoned partisans have been saying that about Wolf Blitzhit, Rachel Manwo, Keesh Ubermouth, Christssspth ssssMathews all the slobbering "personalities" who propagandize instead of giving American's straight news. LOL!

Posted by: ruralamericans | August 27, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I was 9 years old the day I heard Martin Luther King's speech, and I remember vividly the turmoil swirling around the Civil Rights movement.

I was terrified about the things happening in my country, the land of the free, and confused to learn that not all of us were free. I learned quickly that I was born one of the lucky ones.

Now years later, I have a family member that saw the aftermath of a lynching, and a husband who was denied access to a movie at the age of 18, while dressed in his U.S.A.F. uniform because of the color of his skin.

I know one thing will be true tomorrow, nothing Beck and Palin have ever suffered through will ever give them the soul or the passion that MLK spoke with on that day in 1963.

Their speeches might make the front page for a day and the secondary ones for a couple, but it is an absolute certainty that neither will be written in to the history books.

Posted by: AverageJane | August 28, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Did you see those who follow Dr. Martin Luther King as a cult also. I think you did. Your narrow minded thinking is giving you away. In trying to reveal and define Beck, your letting the people see into your soul. It's not good. You've given too much information into how you think. It's apparent you have issues. It might be time to seek counseling or talk with someone who can help you with your demons. Your a very angry person. Anger comes from trying too hard to convince people your right because of the haste in which you write. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Take some time off. Others will thank you for it.

Posted by: houstonian | August 28, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Why not take Beck for what he really and simply is:

A deeply religious man who belives that personal salvation and America's salvation will come through qualities most people have lost:

FAITH, TRUTH, HONOR, INTEGRITY

Posted by: tourim2010 | August 28, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

“Are cults of personality the wave of our political future?”
As I recollect Germany underwent a “cult of personality wave” during the 1930’s and 1940’s.
That did not work out too well.

Posted by: PeaceinPalestine | August 28, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Glen Beck is living in the Neocommie brain RENT FREE!!! It is unbelievable how the liber-al-tards are throwing everything including the the kitchen sink at this event; lies, smears, distortions, half truths, vitriol. The Neocommies are playing every card in the deck because they have to. They are bereft of ideas, options, support, credibility and, most importantly, they are way short of VOTES.

The Neocommie ship of state is sliding beneath the waves and the denizens of the bilges are snapping and biting at anything close as they scurry towards the air.

Not uncommon for the Washington Post's inbred ilk but an ugly ugly sight none the less.

Posted by: MDDem1 | August 28, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Stromberg is one of these slandering, biased, twisted people who believe they know it all and cannot accept the TRUTH.

Stromberg is CLUELESS as what even truth is.

Surprising that Stromberg does not mention Obama, the most "Personality cult oriented " and dangerous politician who encourages young children to sing hymns to HIM AND HIS "GLORY" in american schools.

Mr Stromberg, think hard if you are still capable of it: Are you in the right profession?

Posted by: tourim2010 | August 28, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing to see the immense scale of Glenn Beck's success.

and it is frightening to realise that this success comes from an elementary, ethical and simple human behaviour:
Saying the TRUTH!

Our civilisation is deeply in trouble.

Posted by: tourim2010 | August 28, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh please, dprosser1. Did your world end on the 2nd Tuesday of November 2006? Do you think mine end on the 2nd Tuesday of Nov. 1994? Or 2000?

For all your claims of taking something back, take a look at what happened to Republicans who were forcibly retired. Larry Craig? Set up shop in DC? Tom Delay? He didn't head back to Texas. Heck, even Gopher (Fred Grandy) stayed in the area to do a radio show.

Old Glen is taking you for a ride. On your dime.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 28, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to imagine anything more jaw-droppingly absurd than someone like Glenn Beck trying to jump on the bandwagon of Dr. King's wonderful legacy - after working so hard to stir up racial resentment and fear for months and years on his show. That and the fact that ideologically Beck stands for everything Rev. King - an anti-war, pro-labor socialist - found repugnant.

Oh yes, Glenn, "reclaim" the civil rights movement in your own megalomaniacal name. For your own glory. Go ahead and try. Make our day. Most of America knows better than to do anything but laugh at your smallness.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 28, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

dprosser1, I'll bet you are having a nice time sitting in your bunker curled uo with last month's "Guns and Ammo" magazine fantasizing that you are back in 1930's Germany with your hero, Herr Beck.

Posted by: JudgeRoyBean | August 28, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Beck's klan rally is the height of dishonor. It is the ugliest exhibition of ego and extremism. It's so good that the nation will see these bigots and mentally unstable people with eyes wide open.

Posted by: revbookburn | August 28, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand what "her fans beliefs in (Palin's) particular charisma" means. Do people believe in other people's charisma? Pretty thin stuff to anchor your belief system. And what is a "too-loyal following" If Beck was a decent guy great loyalty would be a virtue, but any degree of fealty to such a deranged demagogue is a vice. And how is writing about other personalities self-indulgence? If it is, this whole column is an a prime example of auto-gratification.

Posted by: landsaend | August 28, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

With respect to Kos and the others on the left we're talking about several difference in degree.

The choice of media is one significant difference. On a radio show or cable talk show the host controls almost all aspects of the show's content. In the case of a blog, the site is an open format where 95 percent of the content is generated by readers. When Kos posts a diary there is room for dissent in the comments section. In the case of a cable or radio show this is rarely the case due to the screening of calls and the ability of the host to control the microphone.

Greenwald's confrontational style is probably closest to the right-wing talkers. Even so, his main presentation comes in his columns -- not on a radio show or TV program. When he does web-radio shows they're usually Q&As. Written media is also not quite as passive as some of the broadcast media are (e.g. radio, cable). A blogger will often interact with other bloggers on something of an open playing field.

Radio show hosts don't usually leave room for an extended debate (some of this is based on the constraints of the format).

In any event, Grand Wizard Glenn's book release party should be a real doozy tomorrow. It's a shame that it doesn't look rain is in the forecast.

Posted by: JPRS | August 28, 2010 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm appalled and outraged that the Democratic party would recruit Al Sharpton to team up with the New Black Panthers ,a registered hate group, to disrupt the Honor Rally. Are they recruiting the Nation of Islam hate group too? The democrats truly are the party of hate.

Are these the same hypocrites preaching Tolerance???

August 28th is the anniversary of the 19th amendment acknowledging women's rights, so I hope plenty of women show up to celebrate.

America has a Dream. Restore Honor, especially in government .

Posted by: fury60 | August 28, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

First of all, one more "cult" of any kind is the last thing the American people need, let alone having a cult of personality which puts someone who is nothing but an entertainer at the pinnacle as a leader.

In North Korea the people there have the cult of personality mentality, and they worship their little cult god on earth in the form of what they call their beloved leader Kim Jung IL.

Is that really what the American people really want?! To be party to the mass hysteria and hypnosis that goes along with the "cult of personality?"

That's one point, but my second is this: You have got to be sophisticated and knowledgeable enough to know that the following statement from your article is just NOT true at all no matter what kind of "feel" they give off:

"two things about the Beck rally feel new, at least in the context of the last couple decades of American politics: 1. it is -- proudly -- separate from the activity of organized political parties, even if those who sympathize with the GOP will be the dominant demographic"

The demographic is solely Republican/ Right-Wing / GOP.

And NOT separate at all!

Beck both panders to and shills for the Tea-Party -- which is NOT separate from the activity of organized political parties, it IS the Republican Party. The Tea Party was the creation of Dick Armey and Grover Norquist and FreedomWorks - a Right-Wing Republican vehicle - created as a vote siphon to suck votes away from the Democrats.

That's why every Tea-Party Candidate who is running against a Democrat, is now doing so on the Republican ticket and NOT a separate, legitimate 3rd party.

The Tea-Party was formed to do what Beck does and that is to focus the anger and frustration people are feeling and focus it, undeservedly on the Left and the Democrats.

And what Beck is doing is a desecration of the meaning of the Day and the speech given that Day and the honor intended to be given to that man, Martin Luther King, Jr.

BECK CANNOT RESTORE ANY HONOR, BECAUSE HE HAS NONE!

No matter how many pathetically low-brow dupes follow Beck to this disgraceful display of ego, excess, contempt and disrespect, he will restore nothing to anything!

If he had a shred of honor or decency, he wouldn't be pulling the stunt he's pulling in DC.

As columnist Len Pitts put it very eloquently today: Beck's contention that he and his followers were "'the architects of the civil rights movement' is worse than nonsensical, worse than mendacious, worse than shameless. It is obscene. It is theft of legacy. It is robbery of martyrs' graves."

And that defines clearly what Glenn Beck is doing and puts it in a nutshell with a bright yellow bow.

Posted by: polygene | August 28, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

I only read the first 20 or so posts, but these conservative supporters of Beck are the most rude, childish and mean-spirited I've seen yet (which says a lot).

If these individuals are representative of the types of people Beck appeals to, then he should be hideously ashamed. Don't you people understand that you are making fools of yourselves, and surely embarrassing many of your fellow conservatives?

Posted by: dougd1 | August 28, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Stromberg's just jealous because he has no personality to build a cult around.

Posted by: jpost1 | August 28, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Political cults of personality and not a single mention of the most frightening example, Obama?

Have we wiped the insanity of 2 years ago from our memory? Does anybody remember?

Posted by: happyacres | August 28, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Hello Freepers & Creeprs who clearly have never met a fact

Snake oil salesman like Beck come around whenever people are scared and are aided and abetted by
1. an always lazy and willing to promote conflict rather than reason Press &
2. Funded by Billionaires who will give them a certain amount of money ( who do you think pays for the buses and expenses of teabaggers-themselves? LOL!) as long as they convince these angry people to look down rather than up --to who really is causing their pain!

Glenn Beck earns over 30 million a year and is a self-professed rodeo clown--$arah Palin will earn over 100 million shilling to anyone who will cough up the BIG bucks ( and bendy straws) to listen to her lies too. Then there are the fabulous Koch Brothers -whose company earned over 98 BILLION in 2008 and whose pappy Fred was a charter member of the JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY ( racism, anyone?)! and they bankroll the whole thing and all of them are laughing at the deluded manipulated masses LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!

Take your fears, your anger and concerns and look to your bosses who want to keep you like this--Why in tough economic times have the Republicans always turned to FEAR and Loathing --and yet you think Beck wants to
"Restore Honor?" WHOSE?

Posted by: suec716 | August 28, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Beck and his ilk - losers.

Posted by: therev1 | August 28, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

the only movements liberal crazies want to hear about are their own. God forbid anyone else mobilize and create a statement of unity of ideology or beliefs lest it be radical liberalism, minority focused, or celebrating non-traditional sexual preferences morphed into a call for civil rights.

If non-radical liberals of like mind celebrate their beliefs together they must be bigots, homophobic, nativist, islamophobic, or (gasp) racist.

Get real. Wake up. We are taking back this country election by election.

Posted by: bmayhewbz@hotmail.com | August 28, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

For a man who seems obsessed with the dangers of Hitler and Nazism, Glenn Beck sure does organize a lot of mass rallies.

And that's the point. Read the literature on the rise of fascism (Erich Fromm, Eric Hoffer) and its clear that "projection" was the primary psychological means by which Hitler insinuated himself on the masses. What made Hitler so attractive to the angry, anxious masses in Weimar Germany was that he allowed them to project their own inner demons onto others in order to turn justify and sanctify their own inner hatreds.

And isn't that, then, what Beck is offering when he talks about recovering the nations "Honor?" Come with me and hate because I give you permission to express that hated. It's righteous and you are engaged in a righteous, patriotic cause when you join me.

It's true that Beck often attacks Republicans as well as Democrats even though his audience is mostly Republican. But that is meaningless, since what Beck is really attacking is politics itself and what Walter Lippmann calls those "traditions of civility" without which democratic politics is impossible. The first of these is to accept the verdict of democratic elections, which the followers of Beck do not.

And in the eyes of Beck's followers, the Republican Party is as implicated as the Democratic Party in the "Old Regime." It's a charter member of the old liberal, democratic consensus that made compromise and across the aisle comity absolute values.

But as we've learned from Tom DeLay and his farewell address, it's partisanship that counts. Compromise is only for "preening self-styled statesmen."

The key fact from this column is: .."polls show that Americans’ confidence in many traditional institutions -- political or otherwise -- is waning..."

Lack of faith or confidence in a society's public institutions, including established conservative political parties like the GOP, can only serve right wing interests who have never been interested in politics at all.

Hitler and his Nazi cohorts swore superficial allegiance to Germany's democracy and they played by democracy's rules -- until they didn't have to. But they also attacked the compromises and corruptions of multi-party "parlimentariansim."

The reputed aim of Beck's rally is the restoration of Honor. But the real aim is to convince his audience they do not have to deal with those without honor. So, the real target is that the idea that political differences must be resolved by deliberation and compromise between groups who subscribe to democratic values, and not a brute force or the show of brute force by mass rallies assembled -- not to unite groups of black and white -- but to divide by planting the slander that anyone not attending Beck's egomaniacal rally lacks honor.

Posted by: TedFrier | August 28, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Cult of personalities? Isn't that what Hitler created in Nazi Germany? Or General Pinochet? Or Stalin? Or Castro? The list goes on......

Posted by: go4it | August 28, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

When I read these comments, I realized what I have taken for granted for years: that most Americans by far are decent people. These comments rudely contradict that characterization.

I am sad and disappointed that so many Americans, judging by internet commentary, want to be grossly insulting, accusing, ungentle, unkind, even ugly in their usage. This kind of talk will not help our country in any way. It will only hurt us all.

People in a healthy democracy are kind as well as candid. Their tone is respectful, especially when they disagree. When trash talk rules the public discourse, I fear for our democracy.

Posted by: awesley1 | August 28, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, what a short term memory. It wasn't that long ago when people like Paul Krugman were complaining about O's "Cult of personality" [I remember wondering how that was going to take shape. It should have occurred to me: Paul Krugman was going to manufacture it! In a long screed in this morning's New York Times, Krugman fulminates far and wide on the sins of the Obama camp. "I won't try for fake even handedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody." He believes that the Obama campaign is "dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality."]

I don't pay much attention to Beck because he's mainly a screaming clown but he obviously strikes a chord that is resonating with the "Real America" that wants nothing to do with dem-libs and Obama and the other fakers who supposedly represent America. The bloom is off the rose of Obama and that's what has most of the dem-libs tied up in knots that the more they try to untangle, the more they become enmeshed in the web. Beck represents the spider that you all dread, coming to suck the life blood right out of you.


Posted by: txoh | August 28, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck on the right is just like Kos, Hamsher, and Greenwald on the left?

Is there some WaPo quota on false left/right equivalence that its reporters have to meet?

Kos, Hamsher, and Greenwald are "often more substantive"?

Any post at dKos, Firedoglake, or Greenwald's corner at Salon is full of links to primary sources and are usually, not just often, devoted to correcting the factual misrepresentations of the right. Contrast that with Beck's "history" lessons.

Stop worrying about appeasing the right wing. They're going to scream "liberal media" if you put one fact in their way or a hundred. Might as well do your job and be objective -- as opposed to impartial.

Posted by: Huigens | August 28, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE READ DR. JOSEPH GOEBELLS DIARY'S TO UNDERSTAND GLENN BECK'S MOTIVES.

Posted by: rocco57 | August 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

CULT OF PERSONALITIES! You do mean Barack Obama, don't you?

Posted by: hartwr1 | August 28, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

from these comments, its easy to see why beck, an utter non-entity, is taken as seriously as he is. first, there is apparently a considerable supply of kool-aide drinking saps about who actually believe the unlearned beck has some idea of what he is talking about (he doesn't, but then, they want him to know, so he must, right?). secondly, the media needs something to sell. brain dead beck is the political equivalent of jennifer anniston. check out the buyers of 'people' the next time you get stuck in a check out line. that's the same kind who take beck seriously.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | August 28, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Glen Beck logic
The moon appears to be puckered and full of holes like Swiss cheese, therefore the moon must actually be made of Swiss cheese.

Posted by: stillaliberal | August 28, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse


George Walker Bush, the Great Manipulator, now HE had a cult following.

Posted by: whocares666 | August 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what freedoms and liberties American is losing, per Beck - last I heard, we still have elections every 2 years; vote if we want to (although some want to make it hard for some people to exercise); we still can go anywhere we d@mn well want to go, worship the same way (oh, wait; that one seems to be under attack from the Beckies if you're Muslim); feel safe from illegal government intrusion into our lives (oh, wait; that changed under the Bush administration) - well, maybe Beck is right - we do seem to be going down a road here; it just seems that it's the righties taking us there--

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | August 28, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm appalled and outraged that the Democratic party would recruit Al Sharpton to team up with the New Black Panthers ,a registered hate group, to disrupt the Honor Rally. Are they recruiting the Nation of Islam hate group too? The democrats truly are the party of hate.

Are these the same hypocrites preaching Tolerance???

America has a Dream. Restore Honor and Honesty, especially in government and MSM.

Posted by: Pembroke60 | August 28, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama represents the cult of personality, not Beck. Glenn happens to have the talent to speak and inspire others to do good for the country, while Obama demands of his follows to good for him.

Posted by: rimantas1 | August 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama represents the cult of personality, not Beck. Glenn happens to have the talent to speak and inspire others to do good for the country, while Obama demands of his followers to good for him.

Posted by: rimantas1 | August 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

dprossert writes:
[[Well, all I can say is you are obviously scared shirtless of what is about to happen to your elitist cronies.]]
************
Bwahahaha. Maybe if Beck gives me some of the 32 million he made last year, I can be an elitist just like him. I am not scared shirtless of Beck but I am a little concerned that this very weird man can stir up so many people with lies and conspriacy theories. Like Joe McCarthy before him, he is nothing but a self-aggrandizing jerk who is so in love with the sound of his own voice and enamored with the celebrity his outrageousness brings him that he doesn't care who he hurts. This type of personality generally implode eventually but not before they do some harm. Check out Beck's past radio career.

Posted by: Sandydayl | August 28, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"Taking back our country"?

You took the country back with the Republican contract with America. You held the country for almost 8 years. You screwed up the country.

The 8 years under Bush were absolutely no better than the last 2 years under Obama. Obama is leading this country using Christ's teachings of tolerance, love, charity. Republicans want to force this country to publicly worship Christ. There's a big difference.

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | August 28, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Taking back our country"?

You took the country back with the Republican contract with America. You held the country for almost 8 years. You screwed up the country.

The 8 years under Bush were absolutely no better than the last 2 years under Obama. Obama is leading this country using Christ's teachings of tolerance, love, charity. By contrast, Republicans want to force this country to publicly worship Christ. There's a big difference.

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | August 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Every last comparison of Beck's popularity and followers to a "personality cult" could equally be stated about such people as Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, John/Robert/Ted Kennedy, Louis Farrakhan, Cindy Sheehan, and others on the political "left." Even--some would say "especially"--Barack and Michelle Obama.

Would you dare to compare their followers to a monolithic "cult"?

Yeah, I didn't think so. Enough said.

Posted by: LNER4472 | August 28, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Milbank, Dionne, and Robinson of the Washington Post couldn't draw two drunks to the Lincoln Memorial if they were offering free alcohol. A cult? The Left lables anything that doesn't agree with their agenda something derogatory. The Left has nothing remaining in it's inventory of tricks except hate and the race card. Mainstream America does not follow cults. It follows basic values and norms. The Left follows big government and the Nanny State. That is why the Left is going down the drain, fast.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 28, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching the proceedings this morning on C-SPAN. So far I've seen and listened to: an African-American preacher, a black choir, armed forces veterans, a Native-American couple and preacher, MLK's niece give a short sermon, Beck & Palin of course...and the cameras have panned over the immense crowd. No signs, no loonies, nothing in the messages being given but positive values, something we all left and right claim we believe in. The leftist news networks and commentators have shown themselves to be the fools that they are. The Left, progressives, whatever you want to call them, are truly clueless.

Posted by: simrick1 | August 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Facts you wouldn't know listening to Glen Beck and his ilk:

- taxes on all Americans, especially the middle 80% have gone DOWN since Obama took office in 2009. In fact 1/3 of the stimulus was tax cuts (largest middle class tax cuts in US history) and another 1/3 was relief to the states in order to make their budgets and not have to layoff teachers, firefighters, etc. So when people complain about the size of the stimulus, 1/3 of it was a tax cut. I don't see anyone lining up to give that money back to decrease the deficit. There are legit arguments to make against the Obama team's economic plans, but too high taxes isn't one of them. Especially when tax rates are lower now than they have been at any point since the Truman administration.

- most the auto industry and TARP bailouts have already been paid back, therefore costing taxpayers nothing in long term except interest on that money borrowed for a few years.

- the national debt and deficit as % of GDP has risen at a much higher rate under Republican administrations in the last 30 years than Democratic administrations. If you are truly worried about this issue, bringing Republicans back into power isn't the solution.

- the biggest causes for current deficit are: 1)recession, 2)Bush tax cuts, 3)increase in military spending after 9/11 (including 2 wars), 4)Medicare prescription drug benefit, 5)stimulus and new increases in spending under Obama. But the Beckies continue to focus almost completely on #5 even though that is the one that is most harmless because it's short term and a long term structural issue. Take #5 away and you still have a deficit near a $1 Trilion.

Posted by: jetrain | August 28, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse


kjmalone: "yeah, we are taking back our country. Please keep up this shallow, twisted reporting. You are exposing yourself as the bleeding heart idiot that you really are. America is waking up..finally!"
-------------------------------------------------------
Didn't you "wake up" in 2000? What happened then? Did you get snookered by the Lifetime Failure? Were you suckered by the Draft-dodgers in the White House into letting them send our sons and daughters into the mass killing of innocent civilians in Shock and Awe?

You "took" America "back:" in 2000, remember? What did you do to it then??

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR IT??

Posted by: gkam | August 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

simrick1

Conservatives are great at marketing and every Republican convention I've ever been associated with had the very same atmospherics: the multi-cultural staging, the token minorities, the heart-rending patriotic themes. The idea is to send a message that "we are America -- American values are us."

Never judge a book by its cover, and where the rubber meets the road is not in the staging but in the substance of the policies and the worldview that follow if you give these clowns power.

What Beck is trying to accomplish with this travesty here is to hijack the civil rights movement by saying the values King fought for were not inclusive ones, but exclusive, not liberal but conservative, and not even on behalf of minorities but the white majority.

The whole point of the conservative movement over the past 30 years has been to redefine the American values of freedom, liberty and civil rights in a highly reactionary way in order to transform a liberal, democratic culture that embraces diversity and Englightenment reason into a right wing culture that values conformity to one's betters and one's God and thinks of American citizenship not as fidelity to a set of ideals and principles but as membership in a well defined demographic group -- white, traditionalist Christians.

Beck's big show was a laundering operating from front to back, so of course they made sure there were no visible signs of racism or division that the cameras might pick up. The next shoe of white and Christian supremacism won't drop until later.

Posted by: TedFrier | August 28, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Americans are into "cults of personality" on both sides because they are too lazy to read and analyze facts. Time to get smart - too much is at stake to fawn over "hot" Sarah Palin and her gang and seize empty phrases like Restore Honor (honor lost during the Bush administration?????). And demand Obama to be upfront and open. USE YOUR BRAINS PEOPLE.

Posted by: deltadelta | August 28, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Quite a stretch to compare Beck and Palin to these "who in the hell are they?" left wing bloggers...it is quite evident who you loons are afraid of...yeah, we are taking back our country. Please keep up this shallow, twisted reporting. You are exposing yourself as the bleeding heart idiot that you really are. America is waking up..finally!

Posted by: kjmalone | August 27, 2010 4:01 PM


Not fear, foolish one, amusement. Your country? You lost the last election by 10 million votes--are the 70 million who DIDN'T vote for your guy NOT American? Beck seeks to return you to an America that never existed, and where the complex problems we face had simple answers, except they don't. Nothing he says is either historically or factually correct. He is Lonesome Roads from "A Face in The Crowd" come to life. A huckster who gleefully fills your heads with nonesense while he fills his pockets with money. If you follow his own neck snapping propensity to say diametically opposite things about the SAME subject in separate broadcasts, you'd understand it's all smoke and mirrors. You are buying an illusion from a guy who's spent his entire adult life reinventing himself in whatever guise it took to make money.He feels your pain--at 32 million a year. The only shallow thing here is your understanding of how deeply you are being had.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | August 28, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The man isn't even a rodeo clown, he is a idiot.

Perhaps his followers might feel disenfranchised, by following Beck they find in 2012, that 2009 was their best year ever.

Hatred, ignorance and racism is a formula for
disaster.

I left the Republican Party the very day McCain selected Palin, and the Republican establishment touted her intelligence and experience. I did not want my family's future determined by a biased, ignorant person.

The GOP has continued the rapid spiral to the bottom. November, could surprise everyone, perhaps the American voter is not as stupid as the Republicans think. Time will tell.

Tomorrow the Lincoln Memorial will shine brightly, MLK will remain a great leader, and a changing force in America.

Glenn Beck will remain a legend in his mine,
and Palin will make a bank deposit.

Great Country America.

Posted by: COWENS99 | August 28, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Beck is popular because he tells his fans precisely what they want to hear.."it's not your fault." And a electorate as ignorant as ours fall for it, every time. What really kills me is Beck and his ilk truly do believe with every fiber of their being that they are the "superior" race and so much smarter then every body else. They hate Obama because he and his family is everything they are not. A black man, in the Whitehouse, how did that happend?

Posted by: ilg123 | August 28, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck is our era's Paul Revere warning about Obama's communist administration which is destroying our nation. The Hebrew dominated mass media are Obama's main enablers trying to fool Americans into supporting Obama's and Dems Bolshevik takeover while uninformed Americans are sleeping and have no idea what is really happening.

Posted by: mascmen7 | August 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I get sick and tired of the media asking the question "what do you think is going on?" When they know damn well why the teabaggers, Faux Noise, clown Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and King Dough Boy Limpbaugh got their panties in a bunch. All of a SUDDEN, they concerned about how many "brown" people are in the USA and that they are becoming the minority so they want to "take back the country" and amend the Constitution accordingly. Stop asking that dumb question and say what you really mean. When will the media become the MEDIA again (Cronkite, Walters, etc) days? Everyone knows or pretends not to know that these people are pissed off because a black man has been elevated to the office of the POTUS and they did their darndest for that to NEVER happen. Let's keep it real.

Posted by: cholly85241 | August 28, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: Southern (and many other) whites are rightly disturbed about the non-white gang and drug and robbery and beatings that many people won't recognize as racial violence - especially in large cities.
However, the NRA/Survivalist/Militia/Aryan Nation/ KKK/ infiltrated GOP fundamentalist so-called "Christian" Beck/Hannity/Limbaugh/Palin/Joe Plumber/ type white trash AIN'T a reasonable approach to a Cure!

The Beck & Sharpton rallies simply amount to goons recruiting more goons to keep our hatreds burning!

Any peaceful resolutions? Very remotely possible - if at all!

Posted by: lufrank1 | August 28, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Cult of Beck?
You have to be an idiot to follow this stupid clown!

Posted by: analyst72 | August 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The right wing knows what the left wing doesn't: people vote for entertainment. They don't give a toot about the state of the nation. That's why Ronald Reagan was so popular and is still revered in Republican circles. That's why Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity and other brainless noises are at the centre of right wing politics and are taking over America's leadership.

Obama's calm, thoughtful, complex approach to the world doesn't make for great television. It's hopelessly unpolitical and won't give the Democrats much help. Now, if he'd go and do something illegal and unconstitutional like the Reagan Iran-Contra thing, well that could be a smash hit!

Posted by: canuck7 | August 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The word you're looking for to describe Beck is "megalomaniac." Saints preserve us from him.

Posted by: dudh | August 28, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"...the blogosphere’s left wing is intensely personal, too (though often more substantive), with mini-empires surrounding individual bloggers and their particular brands of iconoclastic politics -- Markos Moulitsas at DailyKos, Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, Glenn Greenwald at Salon, and so on."

Mini-empires? Who are these bloggers? I have never heard of them. They also have never made the lead story on CNN/Fox/Wash Post on the same day either. Their "substance" must not be measuring up in terms of public interest or acceptance.

Posted by: bkcrown | August 28, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The left wing is often more substantive? About what, perchance? About telling the rest of us how much they know better and we ignorant masses better listen to the enlightened few such as yourself, Stromberg? November will repudiate you and everyone who thinks like you. But hey, it's a free country. Let there be a battle of ideas. Do you leftist liberals have a problem with that?

Posted by: Almazar80 | August 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The boob sitting in the oval office (when he isn't golfing) was elected on a cult of personality. What an idiotic article.

Posted by: BadNews | August 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

ARENA OF IDEAS, your arena must be a hoola-hoop. dreprosser got it right. bye bye dems and rino's in 2010-2012. how many people came to becks shin-dig? wapo will probably say 10.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | August 28, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Beck is nothing but a cross between Joe McCarthy and the KKK, with a little Father Coughlin thrown in.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 28, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The liberal equivalents aren't professional bloggers like kos - they are Comedians like John Stewart, who at least have the decency to say that they are satirists. Liberal bobbleheads like Olbermann don't get the ratings of Beck and O'Reilly because most liberals can tell the difference between news and entertainment.

Posted by: nachoaddict | August 28, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's what a fox news affiliate (www.fox43.com) has printed as a crowd size estimate

"While there was no independent confirmation of the estimate, the crowd was densely packed and stretched for blocks, approximating events that have been estimated at 200,000 or more."

http://www.fox43.com/news/nationworld/sc-dc-0829-beck-rally-20100828,0,4244871.story

This means that fewer people showed up to show support for the Beck/Palin vision of America than showed up to support Louis Farrakhan's vision in 1995.

Farrakhan, by the way, shares Beck's fondness for telling people to take responsibilities for their own lives. He opened the Million Man March by saying:

"We are gathered here to collect ourselves for a responsibility that God is placing on our shoulders to move this nation toward a more perfect union."

With lines like that and his ability to convince his followers that they are victims, he would have fit right in as a speaker at Beck's event.

Posted by: exco | August 28, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck, the Father Coughlin of our times.

Posted by: laughternforgetting | August 28, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

The man said right after the election he wants Obama to fail. Period. That simply is sedition as defined by law. Why does Beck hate America so much he wants the duly elected president and therefore America to fail? The majority of voters voted for Obama. End of story. We don't do redos of elections because we don't like the result.

In George Washington's time Beck would have been on the wrong end of the whiskey rebellion.

And it should be noted. Obama's vote was NOT just an anti Bush vote(he wasn't running) but an anti-conservative/right wing vote for the misadventure of 8 years of destroying America. How else would a black man ever been elected?

Posted by: Modeldon_9 | August 28, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

2012.

The republican primary for president. Limbaugh v. Beck. What a carnival sideshow. And Sarah will be bamboozeling both of them.

Amazing what a little envy will do.

Posted by: Modeldon_9 | August 28, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

You left wing weasels only have about 2 1/2 months left until the train comes through.

I can't wait.

Posted by: Smarg | August 28, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how independent Beck and those at the rally claim to be!Come November, All will vote for either the Republicans, or the Democratics!
I wonder which Party will recieve all those votes, gathered at the rally in DC?

Posted by: sdavis4 | August 28, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

You mean political cults born of fascist radio, Foxteevee, MSNBC's Morning Joe, CSPAN, Regnery Publishing, The Manhattan Institute, The Heritage Foundation, AEI, thousands of rightwing gathering places (tax free churches), churches in which insane zealots where the likes of Rod Parsley screeches and Lt. General Wm Boykin strutts in his military uniform fomenting for the invasion of a defenseless Iraq?

Are these the cults you are referring to, Mr. Stromberg?

Posted by: mimosa1 | August 28, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the so-called cult of Beck to the cult of Obama.

But then, I don't believe in cults and I don't think Beck is a cult leader. Obama, on the other hand, . . .

Posted by: theduke89 | August 28, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

This is actually getting scary. Those people who support Beck and Palin actually believe that it's "their country" to take back. Like the rest of us who disagree with them are here illegally. The right-wing media has succeded in brainwashing, yes that old word - brainwashing - a segment of the population to believe that the President that well over 50% if us legally elected is not a citizen and is in fact a communist, terroist Muslim. Despite incontrovertable evidence to the contrary. Are you kidding me?? Are there that many ignorant people in this country? Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes and its getting scary. Those people used to be relegated to the fringe. Now, otherwise relatively sane people seem to have lost their minds. They seriously cannot believe the crap that is being spewed from Fox, Linbaugh, Beck and Palin? If so, the country is truly in danger. Wake up right-wingers. You are being manipulated into a giant mistake. Is the memory of the Bush 8 years already gone? We are still trying to fix the mess that was left from that last fiasco and now you want to take us back? No way.

Posted by: constitutionsupporter | August 28, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Beck is an enigma wrapped inside a garbage can. He is a modern day Elmer Gantry with a little Huey Long and Joe McCarthy thrown in the mix. When he wants to, he can behave like a rabid pit bull on steroids.

He is clever at mixing that old time religion with politically conservative talking points. I listened to him off and on when he was on talk radio in Tampa. He hasn't changed very much. He spent a whole year shamelessly exploiting the Terri Schiavo case and attacking her husband.

He has a 12 step program to polarize America and make himself rich.

Posted by: alance | August 28, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

If Beck had not had held his rally, August 28 would have no meaning. NOBODY ELSE EVEN APPLIED FOR A PERMIT for 8/28 last year, or this year.

Now we have a dozen WP columns all saying that it is racist to oppose a mosque on ground zero, but it is also racist for a white person to hold an event on 8/28.

Read the WP coverage of the "black" protest and the Beck event. Which one is angry?

Posted by: Delongl | August 28, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

glenn beck, huh?

you know.. i was a republican for YEaRS.. and they i got suckered in by clinton.. and then i voted for gwb his 1st term.. and went back to demo after that..

but glenn beck....

hmmmm.....

Posted by: NewsNuclear | August 29, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

It does feel a bit the 1930s, dunn't. What excuse will we find to start a government spending program big enough to end the Great Recession?

Posted by: raschumacher | August 29, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

hey folks.. apparently this week it is;

1) glenn beck trying to analyze how this country has grown and what to do about it...

or

2) our uppity community organizer turned golf pro stating ," i got a new golf partner.. bloomberg."

who cares more about our country?

Posted by: NewsNuclear | August 29, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Eh. Beck will be allowed to continue until he starts hurting profits at Fox, then Murdoch will shut him down.

Posted by: raschumacher | August 29, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

I love how liberals act like FOX and Beck and RUSH (et al) are only doing what they do for the money. Yet supposedly, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, John Stewart, Diane Sawyer, Ed Shultz, Matt Lauer, Norah O'Donnell, Campbell Brown, Rick Sanchez, Lawrence O'Donnell, Bob Schieffer, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC (et al) are all doing what they do simply out of the goodness of a pure heart! Most all the pople listed above are making 6- to 7-figure salaries.

My other favorite thing about liberals is that their critiques of Conservatives are CONSISTENTLY filled with emotive-based personal attacks that RARELY EVER have any sort of facts supporting them. Just a bunch of subjective anger, pointing out things about Conservatives that could easily be also said about members of their own political persuasion.

Posted by: J-Mac | August 30, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

You could not possibly call left-wing bloggers "more substantive" than Beck if you had honestly listened to his television show a few times. (I am quite sure you read the left wing blogs - if nothing else to find out what the journolist "line" is.) The left-wing b-sphere has little sourcing other than other (very questionable) left-wing bloggers. (Remember, for instance, the various left-wing I.Q. circulars, attributing genius I.Q. various Democratic figures, and low I.Q.s to Republicans.) Beck is almost tedious in providing soundbytes of people actually saying what he attributes to them, of citations to the sources of his historical assertions, etc. Don't just listen to your journolist co-believers and take their air of supercilious disdain, as "substance." Actually listen to Beck. His inferences from facts may be over-extended at times, but he is accurate and substantive when he asserts a fact - Wilson segregated the military, Van Jones signed a "9-11 Truther" petition, etc.

Posted by: dante99654 | August 30, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

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