Republican commentator and former presidential speechwriter David Frum has offered the most serious and most introspective take on the destructive role played by the twin talking heads who now become the national voice of Republicanism: Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
The ultimate happy ending of the story should not however close the page on this appalling episode of broadcast recklessness and political cowardice. We conservatives are submitting our movement to some of the most unscrupulous people in American life. This submission disgraces conservatism, discredits Republicans, and damages the country. It’s beyond time for conservatives who know better to join us at NewMajority in emancipating ourselves from leadership by the most stupid, the most cynical, and the most truthless.
Indeed, the fact that America’s Republicans have no Disraeli and no Churchill to lead them, but instead two figures who could be dismissed as clowns if they were not so powerful and far-reaching in their influence, is a threat to the entire country, not just to the party of Lincoln.
The take-off point for Frum’s piece was Beck’s effort to kill the nomination of Cass Sunstein. But here are two recent performances from Limbaugh and Beck that give a good sense of who they are and what they’re up to. Rush Limbaugh, who has spent two days ranting about and completely mischaracterizing an incident that occurred on a school bus in Saint Louis, Missouri, now calls openly for the resurrection of a segregated America:
Meanwhile, Glenn Beck delivers a typically disoriented rant in which he speaks of his bouts with alcoholism and his conviction that his views are America’s. Katherine van Wormer’s Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective summarizes the professional literature with respect to dry drunks by identifying a number of recurrent traits, including an exaggerated self-importance or pomposity; grandiose behavior; a rigid, judgmental outlook; impatience; regressive infantile behavior; irresponsible behavior; irrational rationalization; projection; and overreaction. Do you see any of these traits in Beck’s performance?