Glenn Beck's Idiot History for Idiot America:
Glenn Beck's insane rant at the close of the Conservative Political Action Conference (motto: "The sad part is that Ron Paul really is the best candidate we have") would be comical just for the combination of mock self-effacement and delusional visions of grandiosity that has become Beck's stock in trade. But it reaches farce because Beck presents himself as this self-taught historian, the kind of asshole who read a book yesterday and think he's an expert on shit from that book. The Rude Pundit's read a couple of hundred detective novels and police procedurals, and he doesn't feel he is prepared to put on his houndstooth hat and start tracking down murderers. Not Beck. Motherfucker thinks he's Will Durant 'cause he stays up until 2 a.m. with his spectacles on some damn book or other.
Like every great huckster in history, Beck's got his patter down, to where he confidently states shit that is simply, demonstrably false or, at best, exaggerated to the point of absurdity. To fact check the entire speech would be like asking a crack whore what diseases she's carrying. But, like sores on an upper lip, some things are more obvious than others. Like this: "Warren Harding gets in, he starts for a little bit – he has a – he has a heart attack." Harding was president for over two years from 1921-1923. He signed into law the act creating the GAO and the OMB, and he lowered taxes. His campaign motto was, "Less government in business and more business in government." So sorry, Republicans, that he had to have the Teapot Dome Scandal lay waste to his legacy. He oughta be a hero to the right, except they have to deny him, like they have to deny Nixon, like they have to deny Bush (notice that they talk more about Cheney).
But to gloss over Harding on the way to Calvin Coolidge, who was really just following Harding's policies, is simply history for the dunderheaded. Which must be why Beck said of Harding's death, "I think that may be through divine providence, maybe a little bit, because Calvin Coolidge comes in." How did he come to his Coolidge worship? Through long study? Fuck you, you arugula-eating, elitist pigfucker. Beck read a book about Coolidge. Have you? "Now I’m reading about him, I don’t know, six months ago," Beck hyped, "and I’m like, I seem to remember – wasn’t that one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite presidents? For a reason."
Beck attacked progressivism as if he just saw Joseph McCarthy get raped by Lenin. And, again, his history is just fucked. He said of Woodrow Wilson trying to get the country on board about the League of Nations, "The American people rejected it, and they were so freaked out about the whole progressive movement that progressives decided to change their name – we’re liberals – ta ha, I hate those progressive things. We’re liberals, that’s what we are."
Umm, no. Actually, Wilson's failed whistle stop tour of the Western United States was not the death knell of Progressivism. Indeed, the Progressive Party would run candidates in elections through the 1920s. What caused the shift from "progressive" to "liberal" was FDR's embrace of the "l" word and the successful rhetorical alignment of "progressive" with "communist."
But you know what? Fuck this. It's useless. His followers will get their history diluted through Beck's stupidity. Ultimately, real history has nothing to do with the imagined history that Beck spouts like the obsessive, ignorant dry drunk that he is. His fantasy America stopped advancing, progressing, if you will, in the mid-1920s. He wants to go back to the cruelties of that era, the social Darwinism of a new Gilded Age. Welfare and safety nets? Those are for the weak.
It's a goddamned insult that people listen to this man, that he was cheered by anyone. Here's what he said about the painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware": "George Washington – that big gigantic painting that’s now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art – that’s not the original. That was the second. The first one – it was destroyed in World War II in a museum in Germany. Why was it in Germany? Because an American German painted it for his fellow countrymen. Because they were looking at – where are we going to go, what are we going to do? Remember Nietzsche, Marx – coming from Germany. People were struggling for answers. He painted an enormous painting of our founders, not for us – for them: look at this example."
Emanuel Leutze did indeed paint it to inspire Germans in the wake of the Revolutions of 1848, revolutions that were inspired in part by Marx and Engels, who thought it would lead to proletarian rule. He wanted to encourage revolutionaries in his native land. He was a liberal. The original painting was indeed destroyed in World War II by British bombing raids on Bremen. However, the copy was done by Leutze in 1851. Idiots fall for this shit.
Reality is complicated. Glenn Beck is simple.