It's not just spending, it's not just taxes, it's not just corruption, it is progressivism, and it is in both parties. It is in the Republicans and the Democrats.
Glenn Beck, one of the nation's most listened to radio and television personality, has been busy lately. Yesterday, he and 2008 VP candidate and former Governor Sarah Palin held a rally together, telling the audience of possibly hundreds of thousands to 'restore America's honor.' He has been spearheading the "9.12 Project" in recent months, where he pleads with Americans to return to a 'simpler, more moral' time in our history. Mr. Beck has also been heavily tied to the Tea Party. Are these isolated incidents, as Beck used to say, or are they tied to a grander scheme? Is Glenn Beck running for President?
Let us examine the timeliness of Mr. Beck's recent actions and their possible connections. In his rally yesterday, the AP has reported that the radio personality was "borrowing" some of his lines from President Obama's 2008 stump speech. Mr. Beck stated, "One man can change the world. That man or woman is you. You make the difference." One could assume that Beck was referring to individuals in the audience, he just as easily could have meant himself, leaving little hints of a possible future in politics.
|Our Next President?|
Glenn Beck's disdain for John McCain was worn on his sleeve. Beck stated that he would not vote for McCain, only to change his mind after Palin was added to the ticket. Beck also said in an interview that perhaps McCain would be a worse president than Barack Obama, by leading us down a socialist road in another manner. Such discontent could be reversed should Beck decide to take up the mantle himself.
Recently, in addition to Mrs. Palin, Mr. Beck has been seen with other famous politicians and has spoken at other large, political rallies. In May, Beck and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke to the NRA. In February, Mr. Beck gave the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. Even at Mr. Beck's recent rally, baseball MVP Albert Pujols and Manager Tony LaRussa attended. These all seem to be pointing to something bigger.
This week's rally appeared to be almost completely unpolitical. Neither Palin nor Beck mentioned President Obama once and no outward signs of politics showed. The serious, calm attitude that exuded from the event appears to be the antithesis of Beck's usual verbosity. In fact, compared to what has was written earlier about Beck, this event may be intended to crystallize a different image of him in the non-conservative psyche.
Beck's 9.12 rally last year garnered over 250,000 people to come to the Capitol Mall last year and created a large amount of media coverage. It was this event, along with Beck's addition to the FoxNews lineup that made him a household name outside of the talk radio circuit. This year's Bold Fresh tour with fellow Fox host Bill O'Reilly has seen (or will soon see) Beck travel to various political battlegrounds such as Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, and Missouri. In fact, five of the eleven stops will be in states that will be in play in 2012. Beck has also done what no other conservative host has done, going on comedy tours annually. This last year he stopped in Denver and Pheonix, epicenters of demographic and political shifts.
|9.12 Rally Last Year|
The question must be asked why Beck, and not other conservative hosts like Limbaugh, Savage, and Levin, is creating a grassroots network of support mirroring the Tea Party. Presumably, the Tea Party would be difficult to sustain without a cadre of leadership and a Palin-Beck axis appears to be the most visible approximation of that.
Beck has shifted of late to go from simply a conservative host to more of an "American" figure. This seeming nonpartisanship could easily be transferred into a campaign slogan or a sound byte. Beck, rather than politcal infighters such as Obama, McCain, Bush, and Clinton, would be the one (he may say) that can rise above politics-- that the challenges we face are not Democratic or Republican, but American. In his words:
We are Americans. We've got to pull together because we are facing dark, dark times. I don't trust a single weasel in Washington; I don't care what party they're from. But unless we trust each other, we're not going to make it.
While Mr. Beck has not stated flatly that he will or will not run for President, the signs may point to yes. Speaking at conventions and creating rallies, being tied with famous politicians, and extolling a third party seem to scream that, at the very least, office may be on Glenn Beck's mind.
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