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Glenn Beck's Decision To Scratch Plan To Promote His Book May Have Been Wise

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Over at the Salon War Room, Justin Elliot has a post up about the way in which this weekend's "Beckapalooza" is being financed by a charity called the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and who the material beneficiaries are (the same charity, directly; Glenn Beck, indirectly). This parenthetical statement caught my eye:

(The event was originally billed as the unveiling of a new Beck book called "The Plan," which would outline steps to take over the next 100 years to "restore our great country." That was later scrapped for a vague focus on restoring honor.)

I've no idea if these plans were scrapped because they were, in terms of self-promotion, deemed to be a bridge too far. But whether Beck knows it or not, this was a shrewd decision. See, here in Washington, DC, "The Plan" has something of a sinister connotation.

From the October 6, 1985 Washington Post, "Does The White Return To D.C. Mean 'The Plan' Is Coming True?" by Eric Pianin and Courtland Milloy:

Almost as soon as blacks won real political power in the District of Columbia a decade ago, some began worrying that whites who had fled the city for the suburbs eventually would return to reclaim control. In this view, it was beside the point that Washington was "Chocolate City," with seven out of every 10 residents black. This theory held that whites -- particularly the Board of Trade set and the news media -- had a secret agenda for wresting control. It was known as "The Plan," and many felt it was only a matter of time before a white politician would be elected mayor and undermine much of the progress made by blacks.

In the ensuing years, the city's electorate has grown more sophisticated and discerning, yet the suspicion still lingers. Local politicians, labor leaders, academics and average residents insist that many people take "The Plan" seriously.

In their 1981 book "Perspectives of Political Power in the District of Columbia," Charles W. Harris and Alvin Thornton write that many blacks believe that at some point around the mid-1970s, whites made a decision to return to the District. "Some blacks refer to the situation as 'The Plan' -- a strategy by whites to 'repossess the city,'" they wrote. "Again, whether or not any such overt decision was made by whites in this regard, the result was the same -- a gradual uprooting of blacks, circumstantially forcing them out of the District."

"I don't think the fear of The Plan has changed a bit," says City Council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), a black who represents the ward that ranges from Dupont Circle to the Southwest redevelopment district and is the city's most racially mixed. "It's an undercurrent that flows through the city. I think a lot of people fear that."

And that undercurrent may have ebbed, but it's never fully gone away. Twenty-five years on, talk of this ancient conspiracy still bubbles up in the local news. So if Beck had come to town pimping something called "The Plan" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the March On Washington, it probably wouldn't have gone over too well.

(It would also have been rather irksome if Beck had called his rally "Revolution Summer.")

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