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Steve Benen

Steve Benen

Posted: August 2, 2007 11:49 AM

Who Gets Inside The Bubble?


Far-right activist Hugh Hewitt acknowledged yesterday that he and some friends were invited to the White House yesterday for an Oval Office meeting with the president. The guest list, in addition to Hewitt, included, Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett, Neal Boortz, Scott Hennon, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, and Janet Parshall.

It seems to be a pretty familiar pattern: Bush obviously doesn't care to engage those who might challenge him or expose him to ideas he finds distasteful, but he's very fond of inviting groups of people who will shower him with praise and agree with his worldview.

Last October, for example, the president arranged a gathering of right-wing luminaries including Sean Hannity, Boortz, Ingraham, Medved, and Mike Gallagher. A month ago, it was time for another meeting of the conservative minds, when Bush invited pundits like David Brooks, Rich Lowry, and Kate O'Beirne over for a chat. This week, apparently, it was time for the president to get another ego boost.

It's almost as if the president is anxious to reinforce the notion that the integrity of "The Bubble" has to be maintained at all times.

Frankly, one could take a few minutes at Media Matters' site to pull together every ridiculous, intemperate, and unhinged comment Bush's friends have made of late, but a) we already know yesterday's group is pretty far out there; and b) I'd prefer to focus on just one.

CNN's Glenn Beck, just last week, praised the John Birch Society, telling one of its representatives, "You guys are starting to make more and more sense to me." Shortly before this, Beck told his audience that Al Gore is Hitler-like, and is orchestrating a massive conspiracy that will lead to one-world government under the U.N.

And yesterday, he was invited to the White House for a chat with the president. In today's conservative movement, no one seems to find this odd.

Moreover, this comes on the heels of Fox News blowhard Bill O'Reilly whining incessantly that Democratic presidential candidates should avoid YearlyKos like the plague because random anonymous commenters occasionally say rude things.

Please. The president of the United States offers a private, intimate meeting to right-wing activists, one of whom praises the John Birch Society on national television, and Dems should worry about Markos?

Once again, the right has an odd standard: intemperate allies for me, but not for thee.