When I first wrote about the likelihood that Glenn Beck would be departing Fox News in a two-part article back on May 27 and 28, 2010, a lot of readers were surprised. After all, Beck had the highest–rated cable-television show in history in the 5 p.m. time slot.
In Part 2 of that article (“Glenn Beck’s departure from Fox News”), I suggested four possible events that might trigger his departure. One of those four events was what I referred to as “The Godfather option,” wherein I said that Barack Obama was well aware that time was against him because so many liberal Democrats were losing in primaries and special elections. I suggested that Obama might just “send the boys over to have a little chat with Rupert Murdoch and make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Obviously, I didn’t mean those words literally, but I did believe that Fox was getting so much heat about Beck from so many directions – even from some of its own shameless commentators and contributors – that it might decide it would be pragmatic to get him out of the Fox kitchen.
I don’t believe it was a coincidence that Beck’s announced departure came shortly after the riots began in Wisconsin and Egypt. Early on, Beck predicted that the rioting would spread throughout the Arab world and, as usual, he turned out to be right. He also linked Muslim extremists, communists and labor unions together in the Middle East riots, and he was right again. Truths like these make the establishment feel very uncomfortable.
In addition, Republican presidential candidates were preparing to throw their hats in the ring for 2012. The two front-running establishment candidates in the polls right now are Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
Neither of them have ever appeared on Beck’s show, nor would they have been invited to appear in the future, even if one of them had won the Republican nomination. Beck has far too much principle to allow establishment charlatans on his show, and that has not gone down well with – you guessed it – establishment charlatans.
While Fox commentators (Judge Napolitano excluded) repeated the same superficial talking points on the same superficial news stories day in and day out, Beck zeroed in on the behind-the scenes ugly truths that are bringing down America – truths that no one else even bothered to mention.
This made the establishment guys very uneasy, which is why they were increasingly marginalizing him as a nut case, conspiracy theorist and radical.
In my March 18, 2011, article “The war on Glenn Beck,” I explained the essence of Beck’s problem at Fox: “… jealousy and the establishment have a way of Palinizing those who have the courage to take the road less traveled. So it’s not surprising that rumors are now flying about Glenn Beck’s ratings decline, his loss of major advertisers and his possible end-of-year departure from Fox News. The word is that the powers that be at Fox supposedly want Beck to put a more positive spin on his commentaries.” (Translation: Fox wanted Beck to put more inside-the-Beltway talking points into his commentaries and cut back a bit on the kind of truths that frighten viewers.)
As I also said in that article, the late Will Durant summed up the reason behind Beck’s departure from Fox in simple terms: “Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn.” Too many people were learning far too much, far too fast, from Beck. And many more millions were simply not prepared to hear anything that deviated from their “let’s all make nice” version of the truth. These people are caught in a Walter Cronkite time warp.
But what has happened with Glenn Beck is much bigger than just the superficial story that he and Fox News are parting ways. It’s a harsh reminder to the rest of us not to step out of line and screw with the establishment.
Whether it’s a committed communist like Barack Obama or a philosophically confused conservative like John Boehner, everyone in the Beltway crowd understands that there are unspoken boundaries beyond which you do not tread. For example, you don’t so much as imply that you would ever consider a government shutdown. You don’t ever talk about privatizing Social Security or Medicare. You don’t ever mention eliminating the minimum wage or unemployment benefits. It’s OK to pretend that you’re fighting the progressives so long as you understand what the boundaries are.
But perhaps the most depressing evidence that the don’t-rock-the-boat Beltway rules are alive and well is that 61 freshmen Republicans voted in favor of the Boehner-Obama “compromise” (euphemism for giving in to the Democrats) to cut nothing from the budget. No one who seriously follows this stuff buys the $38 billion fantasy figure, which, even if it were real, would be meaningless.
So the big news here is not that establishment Republicans did not get the tea-party message. It’s that most of the new members put in by the tea party did not get the message!
Clearly, the tea-party people have their work cut out for them. Every member of the House and Senate should be faced with a tea-party challenger in 2012 unless they vote to make a balanced-budget amendment a condition for raising the debt ceiling. That should start with John Boehner and Eric Cantor, who are nothing more than enablers in a 100-year game of creeping socialism.
With Glenn Beck leaving the scene, it’s all the more important that tea-party candidates in the Michele Bachmann-Allen West-Jim DeMint-Mike Lee mold overwhelm the House and Senate in 2012. Then, even if an establishment type compromiser like Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee wins the presidency, when he puts his finger in the wind, he’s likely to back the tea-party agenda on all major issues.
I say it’s time for tea-party electees to get serious about screwing with the establishment!