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Could Glenn Beck, another morally bankrupt non-prophet of the Right max out the conservative movement's remaining capital?

"I'm too stupid to self-edit. So I tell people exactly the way I feel." Glenn Beck

"If you take what I say as the gospel, you're an idiot." Glenn Beck

I haven't a clue as to whether or not "populist" conservative patriarchs like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly are thinking that maybe it's time they move over. But it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Father Charles Coughlin -- who's Jew-baiting, conspiracy-driven populism ruled radio airwaves during the 1930's, and P.T. Barnum, originator of the phrase: "There's a sucker born every minute" -- may be somewhere rolling over.

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But regardless of the manner in which Coughlin and Barnum are spending their eternities in whatever region of the afterlife they now reside, what de facto Republican Party "boss" Limbaugh, Fox News' ever-vigilant "culture warrior," O'Reilly, and all the other big money shills of the establishment conservative movement still here on earth need to do is watch their backs. They face the growing prospect that the historical magnitude of their rabble-rousing legacies -- and perhaps more disastrous, the size of their bank accounts -- will soon be seriously diminished. What's worse, those professional legacies and that seemingly limitless earning potential could be undone by a recovering drug and alcohol addict turned garden-variety messianic, God-channeling political huckster.

In short; one of their own.

There are many reasons why the spiritually connective clarity and apocalypse now tonality to the alarm used by Glenn Beck to draw so much attention to himself should, at this point, be a source of concern, not only to Beck's detractors on the left, but also to the entire echo chamber of coin-operated right-wingers who over the years have made handsome livings as morally-disingenuous and philosophically-opportunistic "professional" conservatives.

Beck's seemingly preternatural ability to manipulate his own angst in a way simpatico with the anxiety being expressed by a large segment of a targeted political/social demographic has significantly energized the level of political activism on the Right which is expected to pay dividends in the mid-term elections. But the perhaps emotionally-unstable Beck's energy-producing formula also contains many politically explosively elements that could severely undermine what remains of the conservative movement's credibility if, along the way or at some future point, they foster significant social upheaval.

Moments of Glenn

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In his book "Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance," Alexander Zaitchik spotlights some of the more ominous red flags that should serve as harbingers of the potential consequences of the Beck "doctrine" if you will an ideology that Zaitchik likens to "fascism on a picnic blanket."

"Flags, soldiers, and oaths to God, leader and country (dominate) Beck's rallies," Zaitchik wrote. "The Rally for America (held in 2003) featured speakers who made threats against the Left, echoing the threats of violence that are routinely heard on Beck's radio show. The events were a strange U.S. hybrid that combined Nurembergian expressions of power, blind allegiance to a divinely anointed leader, and TNN schmaltz."

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League last year pegged Beck as "the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke the fires of anti-government anger" and was critical of Beck for "promoting the idea that (President Barack Obama) is dangerous." Beck has put forth a seemingly endless array of turgid conspiracy theories (for example; liberals are conspiring to kill President Obama in order to take permanent control of the government) and his claims (since disavowed) of secret "FEMA concentration camps" had been frequently augmented by portentous warnings that America heads toward "socialism (and) totalitarianism beyond your wildest imagination."

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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would represent the final nail in the coffin of se... by Anthony Barnes on Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 6:56:31 AM