The left detests him, and some conservatives say he’s undermining the cause. The truth is, he must be doing something right.
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By Jonah Goldberg (USA Today)
For a self-described rodeo clown who frequently admits he isn't that bright,
But perhaps his most impressive feat is his ability to unite a broad coalition of liberals, media scolds and conservatives under the single banner of Beck-hatred.
Now, before I proceed, I should disclose the fact that I like Beck personally and that his support for my book
Still, much of the anti-Beck backlash (He's an extremist! He's paranoid! He's hate-filled!) from the left is hard to take seriously. First, this is a crowd that lets
The darling of the left
Stewart's M.O. is to launch lightning attacks as a left-wing pundit and then quickly retreat to his haven across the border in Comedystan, but Beck must be pelted from the public stage for blurring the line between theater and punditry? Really?
The conservative criticism has more bite. Many conservatives believe Beck is undermining conservatism with his often goofy style and his sometimes outlandish and paranoia-tinged diatribes. In an ode to conservatives such as William F. Buckley, my friend
There are problems with such nostalgia. First, there has always been a populist front on the right, even during the "glory days" when Buckley was saying he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phonebook than the faculty at Harvard. Moreover, whatever Beck or Limbaugh's faults, they are more cheerful — and more responsible — warriors than the populist right-wingers of yesteryear. The Tea Partiers may be rowdy and ideologically diffuse, but their goals — like Beck's — are indisputably libertarian. And from a conservative perspective, popular libertarian uprisings should be preferable to the sort of statist populism so often celebrated on the left.
Most important, popularity is what the intellectuals were fighting for: to create a conservative culture (Americans describe themselves as conservative over liberal 2-1 ). By definition, making conservatism popular means making it less stuffy and intellectual and more accessible. Not only is Beck good at that, he actually gets people to read serious books in ways Buckley never could. Why defenestrate him from the house of conservatism merely to preserve the rarefied air?
Besides, why should conservatives support an unfair double standard? Liberals never see the antics of their more flamboyant celebrities as an indictment of liberalism itself. Perhaps it's time conservatives adopted a more liberal standard. writes, "Don't tell me that we have to put up with the Glenn Becks of the world to be successful. Within living memory, the right was successful. The right changed the country for the better — through good arguments made by fine men." Murray is nostalgic for conservative leaders who were, like Murray himself, soft-spoken intellectuals.