Is Glenn Beck Good for Conservatives? Horowitz vs. Frum Round Two – By Jamie Glazov


Is Glenn Beck Good for Conservatives? Round TwoBy: Jamie Glazov | Friday, September 25, 2009

In this special edition of Frontpage Symposium, we approach the subject of the role of bold talk radio hosts in the Conservative Movement’s quest to defend America. In a current debate, noted conservative intellectuals David Horowitz and David Frum disagree about whether Fox News’ Glenn Beck is an asset or a liability. From Frum’s New Majority blog and Horowitz’s NewsReal blog, the two have confronted each other directly on this issue. Now they have brought their dialogue to Frontpage Magazine. On Monday, September 21, they fought Round One of this debate. Today they join us for Round Two.

FP: David Frum and David Horowitz, welcome back to Frontpage Symposium.

David Frum, what is your response to David Horowitz’s comments in Round One of your debate?

Frum: David, your response in the first round is a real service. It focuses the issues very clearly and tightly in a way that helps everybody understand this discussion better, whatever side they ultimately end up on.

It’s bad luck for you that we are having this discussion in the same week that Glenn Beck a) expressed his enthusiasm for a Hillary Clinton presidency, b) stated that he thought Obama a better president than John McCain would have been, and c) wished that he could travel back in time to vote for Ron Paul. Now do you see what I mean when I call Beck “unscrupulous”? He’s an act, a showman, as indifferent to the future of conservative politics as he is to the facts of Cass Sunstein’s career. I agree he’s a very good showman, a natural TV talent. But he cares nothing, David, about politics in the way you care about it, and you are in for more nasty surprises if you continue to place your hopes in him.

In this, Beck is very different even from Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. I’ve crossed swords with these other broadcasters for other reasons. I believe that their rage and extremism repel more supporters than they attract. But at least these broadcasters do know a lot about politics and hold considered and coherent worldviews. Beck, by contrast, is a random walk, capable of reaching any outcome. And I have to believe that after Beck’s performance over the past couple of days, you probably inwardly agree with me.

However, David, your post deals with more than Glenn Beck personally. You raise other important issues and present some personal challenges – and I take both very seriously.

You write: “[Al] Franken is now a U.S. Senator in part because conservatives of whom you are typical want to conduct politics by the Marquis of Queensberry rules when the other side is in it as war in which destruction of the enemy is the game.”

I am as disgusted as you by the election of Al Franken. Norm Coleman was one of the senators I admired most, and his defeat in the courts was a severe blow to the country and to the Republican party.

But it’s just plain wrong to suggest that Coleman lost because Republicans were not war-like enough in their political tactics. Coleman was the senator from Minnesota! His well-deserved reputation for decency, integrity and civility were huge political assets to him.

No, Al Franken is a senator for three very different reasons, which call for a different political approach than you propose.

Coleman lost (1) because the Democrats learned from the 2000 Bush v. Gore recount experience to organize much more effective close-election responses than the GOP. They worked better with local government officials, they fielded larger legal teams, and they did more effective media messaging. In other words: The Dems come to these kinds of fights better prepared, more sophisticated, and better financed than the Republicans.

Coleman lost (2) because five years of bad economic and foreign news had corroded support for Republicans nationwide – and not even as attractive a candidate as Coleman could survive in a state like Minnesota.

And Coleman lost (3) because beyond these political cycles, there has been since the mid-1990s a deeper and broader national trend away from a Republican party that seems out of touch and out of date to voters under 40 and outside the South.

The kind of “in your face” conservatism that you laud makes all these problems worse.

You challenge me to notice that the “embarrassments to our cause – the shrill, the enraged and the paranoid – who in your mind – seem to be Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and now Glenn Beck” are also our “most powerful and feared and charismatic conservatives.”

I challenge you to notice that all three of these people repel and offend many millions more Americans than they inspire and attract.

Look at the impact of this kind of politics on the three points I itemize above.

(1)   If we accept that conservatism will remain a politics that is unacceptable to the young, the urban, and the educated, we will have great difficulty raising the resources and finding the volunteers to fight a recount battle on anything like equal terms. Jon Stewart’s audience will sleep on the floor, five to a room, through an Iowa winter. The Fox audience won’t and can’t.

(2)   We lost in 2008 in large part because we had not governed successfully over the previous eight years. More than political tactics, more even than media, what matters in politics is results. If national incomes had grown by 1% a year under George Bush instead of stagnating, Al Franken would have lost in a landslide. Populists like Sarah Palin may excite a TV audience, but they cannot govern. They don’t like it and are not good at it. (That’s why Sarah Palin did not even complete one term in office, let alone run for a second.) Limbaugh and Beck style politics can gain ratings. It will not win re-elections.

(3)   See point 1, only with triple exclamation marks.

Let me end by responding to your more personal remarks. You criticize me for being too tough on fellow-conservatives – and for taking some of these criticisms to a more general domain rather than keeping them in-house. And you know what? I too worry about this a lot.

I suppose I could point out in self-defense that nobody ever seems to mind very much when one or another of these conservatives speaks far more stridently about me than I have ever spoken about anyone – that the movement conservative version of Reagan’s 11th commandment seems very much a one-way option only to be exercised in favor of radio and TV hosts, never enforced against them. As self-defenses go, that would not be a very interesting one. Here’s something however that might be more interesting:

I speak out against people like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck because in my estimation they do enormous harm to the causes in which I believe. In my view, the talk-and-Fox complex marginalizes Republicans – and backs us into demagogic and unsustainable political positions. David, do you really want to abolish the Federal Reserve? Do you think the United States should have allowed Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other banks to follow Lehman into bankruptcy in October 2008? Do you think that any cuts to Medicare amount to a death panel for grandma? Do you think we can sustain an adequate military – never mind finance future tax reductions – if we allow healthcare to continue rising from its current 16% of GDP to a projected 20% of GDP a decade from now if nothing changes?

I can’t believe you do. And if you don’t believe these things, is it not dangerous to have talk-and Fox whipping a couple of million conservatives into frenzy over things that are not true?

On the other hand, maybe I’m entirely wrong. Maybe “end the Fed” and “death panels” are a sustainable future for the conservative movement. Maybe talk-and-Fox are (as their admirers claim) energizing new and previously apolitical people to join the political process. If so, that would be a real achievement.

But is it so? I don’t believe it. I believe that their ratings and advertising imperatives are pushing them in a direction fundamentally antithetical to the electoral and governance imperatives of the GOP and the conservative movement.

Of course I could be wrong in my belief. So let me finish by issuing a proposition to you. Let’s test our diverging intuitions. Let’s sit down together and hire a mutually agreed  pollster – Gallup? Whit Ayres? – to design a survey that can test whether the 9/12 protesters, the tea party attendees, the Glenn Beck audience really are new participants in politics.

If Beck is energizing new and previously apolitical people, then I will join you in saluting his achievement.

But if we discover that he is not energizing the previously apolitical – that he is instead inviting the Ron Paul contingent to take over as the new base and face of conservatism and Republicanism – then you’ll have to agree with me that we are witnessing a disaster in the making.

We don’t have to guess. We can know. Will you work with me to find out?

Horowitz: I agree with you David that this dialogue is getting more focused, and I find it much more pleasurable (and hopefully informative) as a result.

There are two issues here. One is a remarkable conservative outburst against the broadcaster Glenn Beck which includes you, Mark Levin and Pete Wehner among others, and which collectively wishes for his early self-destruction. The message from the three of you is that for the good of the conservative cause he should be silent — and the sooner the better. Wehner expresses the judgment I detect in all three of your blasts in this sentence: “The role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality.”

More than anything else, it is this is that I am reacting to. I think this attitude is wrongheaded, absurd, destructive to the conservative cause and a blatant contradiction of the “big tent” philosophy which you otherwise support.

Unfortunately, it is exactly this line of argument that you choose to open this round with, presenting three “gotchas” to convince everyone that Beck is a dangerous moron – or, as the leftwingers at TIME would prefer it “Madman.” To justify your intolerance of Beck you give three examples.

The first is that he expressed his enthusiasm for a Hillary Clinton presidency (over McCain). I seem to recall Ann Coulter doing the same – and not after the fact as an idle speculation but before it, as an incitement against McCain. Before the 2008 election, I heard many conversations among good Republicans about whether conservatism and the Republican Party could survive another George Bush, which is what McCain threatened to be. So when Beck made his remark about Hillary he could very well have had the best interests of conservatives in mind.

The second gotcha is that Beck suggested that Obama is a better president than McCain would have been. This is another speculative and therefore inconsequential opinion (particularly when Beck, along with Rush, has been the chief thorn in Obama’s side). Chris Buckley actually did vote for Obama? Did you read him out of the conservative movement as a moron and a menace when he did that?

The third gotcha is a Beck comment that he should have voted for Ron Paul (but obviously didn’t). As you know, Ron Paul makes me ill, but politics is a complicated business, and the conservative movement itself is rudderless at the moment and many of its adherents confused. On economic issues Ron Paul resonates with a lot of decent Republicans (even though I view him as a crank). And since Bush failed to defend or explain his foreign policy for four years, and reversed his opposition to terrorists in the Middle East, it’s no wonder that many conservatives are confused and want to pull back to Fortress America. I think a quarter of Republicans or more turned against the Iraq War. Do you want to read them out of the movement too? In sum, I think this comment may be an idle one of frustration, or based on one aspect of Paul’s political position. I’ll be concerned when Beck actually campaigns for Paul (i.e., when this is not an isolated gesture), but not until then.

For someone who doesn’t like take-no-prisoner conservatives, this “gotcha” approach and the auto-da-femode of political discourse is passing strange. It seems an expression of precisely the political mentality you claim to despise but worse – because it is directed at someone who is defending this country against its ongoing rape by Obama and the Democratic Party.

Glenn Beck is daily providing a school for millions of Americans in the nature and agendas and networks of the left – something that your fine books do not do, and Mark Levin’s fine books do not do, and Pete Wehner’s volumes of blogs and speeches and position papers – all admirable in my estimation, also do not do.  How are conservatives going to meet the challenge of the left if they don’t understand what it is, how it operates and what it intends? And who else is giving courses in this subject at the moment?

Now I have to confess my own vested interest in this. Because the fact is that I have been attempting to do this from a much smaller platform than Beck’s for many years. Five years ago I put an encyclopedia of the left on the web called Discover the Networks. It details the chief groups, individuals and funders of the left and maps their agendas and networks. Since I put it up five years ago, 20 million people have visited the site, many of whom have written articles and even books from its information. So far as I can tell, this site has never been mentioned by you or Wehner or Mark Levin or National Review or the Weekly Standard or the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. But it has been read by and profoundly influenced the producers and anchors at Fox News. Among these no one has used it so systematically and relentlessly and to such great effect as Glenn Beck.

The importance of Acorn, the way Acorn is embedded in a network of Soros-connected and left-oriented foundations and 501c3’s, the level of funding, the agendas , the interconnections all carefully documented can be found in DiscovertheNetworks. Through the broadcasts of Glenn Beck they are being made intelligible to millions of Americans – voters and activists – every day.

How important is this politically? Conservatives are outraged by the fact that Acorn received $53 million in federal dollars since 1994. 1994! – the year conservative Republicans led by Newt Gingrich took over the House and the federal purse strings! What were they thinking? They weren’t. They didn’t have a clue that they were funding the largest organization of the very radical left. Now they know.

Intellectuals like us have a role to play, but if you want to influence masses and affect real politics, you need someone who has the talent to command a mass audience and the dedication to put the information on the radar. Beck has done that with the most important intelligence of all: knowledge of the enemy.

So that’s why I’m defending Glenn Beck the broadcaster. I’ve devoted twenty frustrating years to revealing who the left is and what they do, while conservatives have continued to pretend that leftists are simply confused liberals. No they’re not. They’re malicious, and calculating and devious, and smart. And Glenn Beck is helping Republicans and those conservatives who will listen to understand that.

Now to the political part of our discussion. Let me begin by saying I don’t see that part of the discussion has any relevance to Beck. He is not a politician and he’s not running for office. He’s a voice – and an important one, but he competes with other voices and has no organizational base of power.

It’s a big difference. A politician holding Beck’s views could very well present them in the moderate manner you desire. Consider Barack Obama who certainly empathized (to use his word) with a rank anti-American racist named Jeremiah Wright, with an anti-American, unrepentant terrorist and small “c” communist, Bill Ayers, and with a big C communist Van Jones. So when one is talking about political style – as it appears to me you mainly are – one is not necessarily talking about political content.

I will agree that it is a fair comment that Beck has something of a random walk in him – though not as random as you seem to be suggesting – and could wind up in places that would make me uncomfortable. Foreign policy is one such area. But by his own admission Beck is relatively new to politics and is learning. Cut him some slack. In any case – and to repeat — he’s not a politician; no one is being asked to vote for him and put power in his hands. If he veers into directions that you’re not happy with, it’s still just about ideas. Argue with him. Don’t ban him.

I couldn’t disagree with you more about the talk-and-Fox complex as you put it that Roger Ailes has created. Far from marginalizing Republicans it is the most energetic, dynamic and expansive part of the conservative movement.  Or is it your view that the decline of the leftwing network news operations has no positive impact on conservative prospects? In fact, the party identification poll numbers for Republicans are currently rising right alongside and in step with (and because of) the rising Fox ratings. Thank you Roger Ailes.

I like Norm Coleman. I supported him for Senator, showcased him at my events, and I’m unhappy that he lost. That said, he was a moderate Republican senator with whom I disagreed on several important issues but who also took courageous stands on several others. Politics is a complex business and I understand that he was elected in a liberal state and therefore cut him the same slack I would cut Mitt Romney for the same reasons. Politics is the art of the possible.

Coleman lost by the way, because an egotistical Republican maverick split the conservative vote. If Norm had 10 or so of the 200,000 votes that the other guy siphoned off from Republicans he would have won. My remark about Franken was directed to the fact that we do not pulverize their radicals they way they do any Republican who is effective. We do not understand the art of political warfare and they do.

I am a big tent Republican and also one who believes that it takes many different role players to win political battles. Bush allowed himself and the war effort and the Republican Party to be destroyed because wouldn’t defend himself. That doesn’t mean I think Bush should have left his presidential perch and gotten down dirty with the saboteurs in the Democratic Party – Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelois, Jack Murtha etc. etc. Bill Clinton never went on the attack in defense of himself but he did send his hatchet men, Carville, Begala, Blumenthal and co. to do it for him. Where were Bush’s spear-carriers?

Your chief political argument is that Limbaugh, Palin and Beck are albatrosses around the Republican neck: “I challenge you to notice that all three of these people repel and offend many millions more Americans than they inspire and attract.” This is rodomontade David. Where is your evidence? You think the 20 million people that listen to Rush have no impact on Republican election prospects? You think there are 20 million anti-Republican voters who can’t distinguish between a broadcaster and a political candidate? In my view – speaking from reports by friends who were actually running McCain campaigns — the phones of Republican headquarters began ringing off the hook when Palin came on board and gave them something to fight for.  (And just between us, Palin didn’t leave office because she was incapable of governing – all the evidence points in the other direction – but because the Democratic attack dogs set out to kill her politically with bogus ethics charges, the way they took down Gingrich and DeLay).

Your political questions – e.g., do I think Medicare costs need to be cut? – are all policy questions. This should be a discussion about politics not policy. The battle to stop Obama from ramming through a socialist health care system is one that Sarah Palin is leading. That’s the fact. If you don’t want Obama care, she’s the most potent force standing in its way. Do I think that government rationing of health care leads to the equivalent of “death panels?” Of course they do. And calling them that – even though at this stage they’re more of a goal than a reality – was brilliant politics. The Republican Party needs more of this not less.

You want to know whether the 9/12 protesters are new to politics. I take it that this means you think that dedicated conservatives will vote for Republicans whenever there’s an election and so we need new voters and can ignore the old ones. Actually, conservatives have a tendency to stay home when a McCain is running, and that’s when we lose. We won in 2004 because of the gay marriage issue (big Democratic mistake) not in spite of it.

You know, the very arguments you make against Palin were made against Reagan, and look what happened. All the same, I don’t take the position – in case you think I did –that what we need to win in 2012 is a holly roller of the right. I’m a pragmatist when it comes to elections. I want to see the lay of the land, the way the candidate conducts himself (or herself), the climate – and after that I’ll make an educated guess.

Let me close by saying your self-doubt is endearing. I’m with you. I can’t foresee the future anymore than you or anyone else can. Consequently a little humility is in order for all of us. So, how about easing up on Beck and giving him the benefit of the doubt?

  • patagonianplato

    While I sometimes disagree with radio personalities such as Mark Levin and Glenn Beck, I understand that they are indispensable allies in the fight against the current Marxist regime in Washington so I am very supportive of the essential role that they play.

    Frum’s attacks are over the top and poison to the conservative movement. At best, they are shortsighted. At worst, they mark him as a saboteur within the conservative ranks. Personally, I consider David Frum to be a Pseudo-Con rather than a Conservative.

    However, Beck’s remark about McCain being worse for the country than Obama is utterly stupefying. I have nothing but revulsion for John McCain’s brand of Conservatism and I fought very hard against his nomination. Yet, I must wonder if Beck has not completely lost his mind to make such an absurd remark. And, I had hoped that Mr. Horowitz would make a more substantial reply than to simply refer to the prodigal son’s vote (Christopher Buckely) to make his case that Beck’s comment is simply an “inconsequential opinion.”

    Beck’s comment is shocking and it either requires greater explanation or a better defense.

    Mr Horowitz, I greatly value all that you do (I bought four of your books) but you disappoint in this regard.

    BTW, Chris Buckley is “a moron and a menace.”

  • Mr. GJG

    Frum couldn't be more wrong regarding Limbaugh and Beck being a net negative.
    I am absolutely convinced that if the entire country listened to them, way more would agree with them then not.
    People hear about these outrageous comments they supposedly made or hear incomplete snippets of things they do say.
    One recent example being the frog in the boiling water stunt pulled last week.
    Somebody posted it on youtube but cut out his last comment which proves the frog was fake.
    Anyone who didn't see the show but saw the youtube post thinks Beck boiled a frog alive.
    The reason Beck was doing the frog in the water stunt?
    He was showing what he meant by his comment to Katy Couric regarding McCain being worse, which even so called conservatives (Frum and patagnianplato here) seem to be unaware or are willfully ignoring.
    He was demonstrating the difference of throwing a frog in boiling water (Obama) and
    room temp. water then turning up the heat (McCain).
    The frog jumps out of the boiling water(Obama), symbolic of the people rising up ala 9/12, but the McCain frog doesn't realize he's being boiled to death so he just sits there and…well, boils to death.

  • Carterthewriter

    The very fact that the Fox network has increased its viewers is a fact whether you appove of Beck's style, most people obviously do like what he is telling them. Any other argument is moot.

  • Pamela Schieber

    Mr. Glazov is correct about .Glenn Beck He has brought the the overwhelmingly nefarious
    network of totalitarian statists directly to the American people. We have been starving for information as we've watch our country disintegrate into cultural and educational morass.
    Mr. Frum, I'm sorry but you have an elitist mentality, perhaps tinged with just a bit of jealousy caused by Beck's popularity. Remember, he has a huge audience, outranked O'Reilly's ratings and become a household name. Sorry, but few recognize the name David Frum.
    I called you an elitist because you appear to have the attitude that the middle class is a bunch of tobacco spitting red necks, uneducated Jerry Springer fans. I have news for you. We are teachers, nurses,accountants, small business people, military and any other profession that you can think of. We've been working hard and raising families while we have slowly seen our country taken over by ineptitude and corruption. We want answers.Beck provides them . Is he sometimes over the top? Maybe. Was his comment about McCain absurd or just plain wrong? I don't think so. Mc Cain has always “crossed the aisle” for bi partisan solutions. What has he really managed to accomplish? By the way, do you know how his time as a tortured POW affected his thinking? He certainly is a hero, but he is definitely no Conservative.

  • patagonianplato

    This “so called conservative” is certainly unaware of much but he ignores nothing. In no sense is McCain remotely worse than Obama and the frog in the water analogy hardly justifies Beck’s comment.

    The damage being done by Obama pales in comparison to that which would have been done by McCain. McCain would never have approved of a one year deficit of 1.5 trillion dollars nor would he have allowed national health care to be rammed down the people’s throats. If health care passes it will be with us forever and the economic damage being done by Obama’s spending is irreversible. We are headed for an economic crash far greater than that which occurred one year ago.

    While it is extremely heartening to see the groundswell of grassroots conservative opposition throughout the land, it cannot even remotely atone for the damage being done by Obama.

    President Reagan said,

    “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”

    I disagree with David Frum about 80% of the time but agree with Beck, Levin, and Horowitz 80% of the time. If this 20% difference places me in the “so called conservative” column, I happily accept the license.

  • MizPris

    Glenn Beck is dispensing information the American people need to know. No one else is performing such an in depth examination of this administration. The fact that I don't agree with Beck on his choice of President, does not dissuade me from continuing to watch his program. So we don't agree on that, it's no longer an issue, who cares?

    If the media had done it's job, Beck would not have the impact he is now enjoying. Frum is one of those defensive republicans, and not a true conservative. He approaches politics only from a tactical or strategic sense. Strategy has it's place, but if it's the only place it doesn't serve the electorate with the underlying honesty we deserve, or from which we can judge a candidate.

    Frum underestimates the public. I think perhaps he spends too much time on beltway opinion, which is out of touch with the electorate. If he wants to influence the public, perhaps he should take on the media to which he belongs. But, that takes guts, and he clearly plays both sides, not exactly gutsy I'd say. Fence sitters tend to get caught in the crossfire.


  • Estase

    People like David Frum miss the lesson of George W. Bush. George W. Bush was an unprincipled opportunist, and the reason that people like Rush Limbaugh are irrelevant right now is because they never called Bush on how liberal he was. People like Michael Savage and Glenn Beck offend people like Frum because they aren't predictable apologists for the Republican establishment

  • MizPris

    Estase, your estimate of President Bush is not accurate. To say he was an unprincipled opportunist is over the line in my estimation.

    Bush was asked by the Republican Party to run in 2000. He said at the time he wanted to think about it and discuss it with his family, before he accepted. I should remind you that what conservatives like me were really upset about during his Presidency, was, his immigration reform program, and spending in general.
    I should also mention Rush Limbaugh was against immigration reform as well.

    To be fair, Bush campaigned in 2000 saying he believed in a guest worker program for illegal immigrants. So we knew that when we voted for him, and when it came up during his Presidency we fought him on it, because it was more far reaching than we expected. Rush was outspoken against it himself.

    I found Bush to be a principled man. The fact that I didn't agree with everything he did, doesn't change that opinion.

    Having said all that, I'm not an apologist for the Republican Party either. I have found them to be spineless, and too willing to buckle in the face of attacks from the democrats. Right now, they seem pretty sane, in comparison to what we're stuck with.

    Frum is an elitist. People like Beck or Sarah Palin don't measure up to Frum's mistaken image of what a conservative is or what a leader is. In other words he's a snob, and too infected with the beltway cocktail crowd, and other elitists. He's a fairweather republican, not a conservative.


  • truthout

    David, did you say “the decline of the leftwing network news operations”? Are you finally admitting that the hegemony of a Left-controlled, “liberal” media are overblown? At least you're finally right on one point. SNAP!

  • Bellerophon

    “…do you really want to abolish the Federal Reserve?

    Yes, abolish it. At a minimum open it up for an audit. After the audit the cries for abolition will arise by themselves. The housing debacle was direct result of the Fed's monetary expansion. Let an audit show that.

    The Fed is an arbitrary, unaccountable force in the economy not subject to normal market forces. It is a political instrument where none should be.

    “Do you think the United States should have allowed Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other banks to follow Lehman into bankruptcy in October 2008?”

    Absolutely! Extending the lives of these vampire banks with the blood of living banks does nothing but destroy wealth and prolong the recession, or worse, create a long term depression. Do we really need more banks that are leveraged 30 to 1? Could such leveraging have ever occurred if investors knew that the government would not bail them out? Will bailing them out discourage or promote future over leveraging?

    “Do you think that any cuts to Medicare amount to a death panel for grandma?”

    The bill has nothing as clean as a “death panel”. At least with a death panel you get to face your assassin. This bill has death by faceless bureaucratic procedures. Ezekial Emanuel's paper in “The Lancet” was quite explicit about limiting care for the elderly with exceptions (of course) for “indispensable” persons.

    “Do you think we can sustain an adequate military – never mind finance future tax reductions – if we allow healthcare to continue rising from its current 16% of GDP to a projected 20% of GDP a decade from now if nothing changes?”

    The military is less than 4% of GDP. These days this is little more than a rounding error.This argument is stupid at best and disingenuous at worst.

    Every position that Frum holds is just progressivism lite. You cannot oppose the rapid expansion of government by saying “Just go slower”. It is the principles of progressivism that must be challenged, not the degree of their implementation.

    Beck's real crime was to name what Obama is doing, something that Frum seems to regard as impolite and extreme. If you call North Korea's policy “adjusting the population/food imbalance” does make starvation any more palatable?

    The magnitude of the attacks by Frum on Beck, Limbaugh and Palin is wildly out of proportion with the alleged absurdity of their ideas. If these ideas were so patently ridiculous they could be dispensed with rather easily. Instead, Frum behaves like Al Gore when challenged on man-made global warming and insists that these ideas are “settled science” and not debatable.

    The attempt to argue by intimidation, suggesting that only knuckle dragging troglodytes could possibly oppose the wondrous Federal Reserve Board, reveals a shallowness of mind and a fear of being seen as out of the mainstream of American thought. Unfortunately, the mainstream is the monolithic liberalism that we are trying so very desperately to change.

    You cannot win by accepting the enemy's principles, terminology and goals. What is needed to give no intellectual quarter, to force the argument to be fought on our terms, not theirs. Beck took on the challenge of cleaning out the Augean stables of Progressive ideas. If you don't like his cleaning methods then show us someone doing a better job.

  • John C. Davidson

    Why do these people denegrate a man (Beck) who has done so much to make common folk and the elderly aware of what is going on in Washington. If the Republican party hadn't become, well, snobbish, we would not be having this discussion.

    President Bush turned the other cheek, rather than stand by his convictions.While we fight amongst ourselves continuing to castrate one of the best messengers to benefit the cause for all Americans.

    As David H. pointed out regarding the Coleman loss, we fractionalized our own candidates. It points out how splintered the Republican party has become.
    The Democrats stood by their candidate even though many didn't fully realize how socialist he was, but they push him anyway. (Many now regret that now, I think.)

    I drew my sword in another blog and was chastized for it. Why should I join a cause if someone on my team allows the knife to pierce my heart.

    In football, do you bench the quarterback for one interception forgetting the three touchdowns he made earlier.

  • antioli

    If Beck is so bad for conservatives then why do the liberals try so hard to shut him up. Actually Beck is bad for the liberals.

  • Wayne101

    Well said, Bellerophon. I agree that central banks are a sophisticated and subtle way for a group to gets its hands on the most vital part of a free society — the so-called coin of the realm and manipulate that society to the benefit of those with their hands on the levers to control interest rates and the currency. Their actions can only be understood well after the actions have occurred and the consequences are being dealt with. Longer term look at the results of the creation of the Federal Reserve over the past century of its existence. The currency has been devalued from them to now by about 95% and hold this in the context of the financial crises that have occurred over this time from the Roaring Twenties through the Great Depression and the ensuing financial crises from hen to the one we are dealing with today … they all should be investigated to the point of discovering the ways that central banking itself lies at the center of the problems, IMO.Your "death panels" insights is also right on, IMO. Even though the smoking gun of that exact phrase cannot be reproduced the described effect of the concept of death panels does logically exist. If there is to be an inclusive public health care program it will be administered by a government bureaucracy. Public health care is funded by the government and not by revenues generated by those providing the service as it properly would be in a free market type of system. All those using the public system are a cost to the system. As a cost or expense to any system, it is only logical to ask how costs can be controlled, and as this type of system evolves (or devolves) it is only logical that those costing the system the most would be considered as candidates for reducing those costs. The chronically ill and elderly use the health care system the most because they need it the most. Bureaucrats crunching numbers could logically see those costs and begin offering ways to eliminate them — so "death panels" are surely one way to eliminate those costing the system the most.

  • USMCSniper

    Glen Beck comsiders RINOs like John McCain to be more dangerous as their catering to Democrats and Liberalism tends to be a death by a thousand cuts that by the time we realize what has happened, it is too late. Now Obama has come in with meatcleaver and woke us all up so it is easier to throw the Democrats out in 2010 and him out in 2012 – unless of course, the Republicans remani asleep at the switch and don't go after it Piranah om a blood carcass.

  • Sapwolf

    Beck marches back from the fight and tosses the head of Van Jones at the feet of the GOP leaders back at camp.

    David Frum shrieks “That will hurt their feelings!.”

    Beck fights and does it so effectively that Axelrod & Co. have to now expend resources to fight him rather than others.

    Beck is a huge plus to libertarians and conservatives.

    Frum is a nobody and it really really irritates him that he is a nobody.

    Post counts on “New Majority” anybody? Go take a look.

    Post counts on C4P? Go take a look.

    Frum is the most insider of insiders. While Beck uncovers the vermin under the log, Frum should just crawl under it before Beck lowers it back down.

    Frum is Scum! Oooo that's catchy.

  • Jacob168

    Is Glenn Beck good for conservatives? The answer should be a resounding yes, for anyone attacking the Neo-Progressive Left must be supported. This has been one of the primary reasons for so many losses by the conservative movement, attacking each other for minor variations of opinions.
    Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian soldier who turned military historian, described politics as war by other means and the left lives up to those realities. If freedom is to remain then there must be an opposition party willing to destroy the enemy. Should one desire to be loved by all then a career of another nature should be chosen.

  • shootinggames

    Do I think that government rationing of health care leads to the equivalent of “death panels?”
    Shooting Games

  • oldjarhead

    I liked “Frum is Scum”! It fits–along with many other denigrating titles not meant to be expressed in these fora. An elite “RINO” he is someone who actually does more harm than good by having no guts with which to call the lib community on its path to total destruction of liberty as we have known it for 233 years. It is NOT the likes of Beck, Ingram, Hannity, Levin, Limbaugh, Boortz, etc. creating the problem. Thank God these folks are around to wake up the sleeping giant majority of America's population of all stripes who do NOT want their values thrown away as so much garbage. The garbage bags of Frum, Parker, and others abandoning their conservative roots, can, and will, disappear from any meaningful public acceptance beginning as soon as 2010, when the American citizenry will have their golden opportunity to sack the Huns undermining our Constitution and our way of life that it protects.

  • Scottie

    I come down on the side of Horowitz in this debate, but I wish both he and Frum would check a little further than the leftist propaganda spewed on the internet that Sarah is some sort of “holy roller” religious fanatic. I have been a resident of Wasilla since 1978 and with this being a very small town, yes, we all know each other and one thing I do know is the last thing anyone who really knows this woman would describe her as, is a “holy roller.” No doubt the YouTube video of her on stage with the Kenyan minister praying over her led many to conclude this. Though I’ve never asked her, my bet is it was an awkward moment and she allowed this out of politeness, but had she known it would haunt her in a future election, she would probably have found a graceful out, just as Barack Obama probably would have done when he, no doubt in a effort to be polite, allowed himself to be photographed in Somali warrior garb during his travel to Africa.

    But if this doesn’t convince you, then please explain how Alaskans found to be among the top five least religious states in the Union by a Pew Forum study would elect an overtly religious “holy roller?” It makes no more sense than most of the other idiocy disseminated by the loony left about her.

    Believe it or not, Alaska's one of nation's least religious states

  • bubba4

    Barney Frank put forth legislation to force an audit of the FED…do you what's going on with this…or is Frank a communist demon who is trying to destroy America?

  • DEG426

    great piece. Thanks David for defending Beck and his intent. Keep fighting the good fight. I know I will.
    ps- I became familar with you BECAUSE of Glenn Beck.

  • DEG426

    I may be able to shed some light on Beck's remark about McCain. As usual the statement was taken out of the context in which it was said. He was saying that had McCain been elected, his being conservative-light, that many of the same bills and ideas would have been brought to vote. Beck pointed out that with McCain in office we probably would not be aware today of Acorn,Tides Foundation, Van Jones, the really radical black left. etc. Beck theorized that with McCain in control the outrage, the attention we are now paying to all the weasels in washington, would not be happening. Does that help ?

  • gigi0102

    Interesting discussion. Personally, I think without Glenn Beck and Fox, the Republicans would be so disheartened and rudderless that both cap-and-tax AND socialized medicine would have simply zoomed through congress — like the Stimulus fiasco.

    And I do believe David H. is correct about politics. I too was an activist for a time. You can flawlessly logical and brilliant ideas, but unless you can convey them in a sound byte, you'll have very little impact. Most people don't have the time or the inclination to go through textbooks and plod through history. But almost everyone seems to know what's “right” — even if they're wrong (!) A candidate has to resonate with voters on a personal level, beyond — or below — the intellectual.

    Reagan was a brilliant politician because he was also an actor. To this day, it's much easier for me to visualize Reagan in a cowboy hat and on a horse than leading a Cabinet meeting. Yet he was one of the most conservatively pure Presidents we've ever had. Amazing.

    You need a bit of the showman, the marketing package. You also need some level of rage — whipping up that rage is a key factor in securing Obama's election.

    And, as David H. also pointed out — look who we're fighting. You can bring a knife to a gun fight if you want, if you believe it's more ethical and civil, but you probably won't win.

  • Johnny Canuck

    "Intellectuals like us have a role to play, but if you want to influence masses and affect real politics, you need someone who has the talent to command a mass audience and the dedication to put the information on the radar. Beck has done that with the most important intelligence of all: knowledge of the enemy."
    So did Goebbels

  • Guest Canuck

    "Intellectuals like us have a role to play, but if you want to influence masses and affect real politics, you need someone who has the talent to command a mass audience and the dedication to put the information on the radar. Beck has done that with the most important intelligence of all: knowledge of the enemy."
    So did Goebbels.
    Political fanatics just love a good propagandist and resident intellectual and Fanatic in Chief, Horrowitz, has found one in Beck, the current whizz at spinning paranoid conspiracy fantasies for the fearful. He has also discovered, from his days at Ramparts, that fanaticism of the Right pays a hell of a lot better than fanaticism of the Left.