If you follow Glenn Beck carefully, you'll see that he's savvy enough to know that it's smart to temper his outsized weirdness to fit his audience. Especially since he's basically a man of many wealth-accruing gimmicks. That's why his chat today with the Washington Post is annoyingly tame by Beckian standards -- no wishing California would burn or dire warnings of X-Files plots come to life. Here's a clear example: His only criticism with regards to health care is this one:
"As for health care, the idea that my company is going to be taxed higher because I provide coverage for my employees is an insult and should tell you what direction this country is going."
See, that's a perfectly mainstream criticism (and it's one that Obama savaged McCain for proposing on the campaign trail). But this is Glenn Beck, for Pete's sake! Where's the broad fear and plainly stated warnings of TEH SOCIALISMS that we who receive his lovely newsletter have come to expect? Banished, along with the Classic Glenn Beck Persona, for the time being, because if that creature reared its head here, who would buy Beck's shiny book? Beck, to his credit, is a man of fundamental priorities!
So, I'm afraid that the best we get is a broad comparison of our own political system to Iran and a warning that America will destroy itself from within before it can be done in by outside forces:
Do you really believe that the USA is facing destruction?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, I said on Sept. 11 that we should fear no outside force, the only that would destroy America is us, from the inside. I look at what's happening in Iran, and they are arguing on who is going to be a better leader in their theocracy. Both candidates were picked by the mullahs, neither candidate can do anything without the mullahs telling them it's okay.
I think we're in the same situation here. Bill Mahr [sic] said this weekend that Barack Obama was George Bush Lite. What are we fighting over? What is the difference between these two parties? There are reasons to speak out, but tearing ourselves apart over these scraps of freedom is odd. We've stopped melting together. Our strength was that we were a melting pot.
No, the analogy doesn't make any sense. There are fundamental differences between the two parties, I'm afraid. And I wonder who Beck thinks stands in for the candidate-picking mullahs in our society. The voters? Grey aliens? Sasquatch? Who knows? I hope Sasquatch because Sasquatch is cool. Anyway, we need to "stop the world" and "melt with you," to save America, at Senior Prom, or something.
Beck also rather tepidly addressed right-wing extremism, suggesting that he himself gets hate mail from the right fringe and that his "webmaster" contacts the Secret Service when they receive hate mail (two things I'd dearly love to verify, by the way!).
Washington, D.C.: We have seen several domestic terrorist attacks already this year (Pittsburgh cop killings, Wichita abortion doctor murder, Holocaust Museum shooting) and Shephard Smith has acknowledged an increase in vitriolic hate-filled emails to Fox News. How do you balance providing your viewpoint with making sure not to push fringe groups over the edge towards violence?
Glenn Beck: Anybody who thinks that I'm pushing fringe groups to violence should read my e-mail. The fringe groups hate my guts. The fringe groups think I'm a government stooge.
What people need to keep in mind is that some people in the fringe groups are CRAZY. If you want to target Fox News, feel free, but it's misguided.
Actually this part is pretty great:
Bluffton, SC: What specific alternatives to Obama's policies do you propose?
Glenn Beck: I've already given my thoughts on the bailouts. America is built on failure -- we build our success on failure. I don't understand why so many on the left who believe in Darwinism don't let it apply to a business standpoint. Let the banks' lose their tails, they need to. It's harsh and painful, but I don't think any animal lover would be walking around trying to staple tails back on monkeys as they became humans.
But wait! Have any animal lovers tried to do this? I'd be a much better blogger if I had an awesome prehensile tail!