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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  February 23, 2010
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Topic category:  Government/Politics

Glenn Beck and George Wallace v. Bill Bennett and Mark Levin

The differences between Bennett and Levin and Beck should be fully appreciated, not minimized, lest the charismatic Beck become a vindictive Pied Piper who divides the Obama opposition because he rejects the two-party system. Beck said at CPAC 2010 that he despises Woodrow Wilson with all of his being and he regularly rails against McCain hero Teddy Roosevelt. Ironically, it was TR's decision to break from the Republican Party to form a Progressive Party that allowed Woodrow Wilson to be elected President in 1912. McCain would have been a much better president than Obama, and Beck may become Obama's unwitting ally.

Glenn Beck can draw a big crowd and attract a loyal following.

So could the late George Wallace, a 4-time governor of Alabama and presidential hopeful who ran as a third-party candidate in 1968.

Both famously claimed that the Republican and Democrat Parties are essentially the same.

It fit their agendas to do so.

Wallace was wrong then, and Beck is wrong now.

Wikipedia: "In 1968, when Wallace pledged to run over any demonstrators who got in front of his limousine and asserted that the only four letter words hippies did not know were w-o-r-k and s-o-a-p, his rhetoric became famous. He accused Humphrey and Nixon of wanting to radically desegregate the South. Wallace said, 'There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties.'"

Fortunately for him, Wallace experienced a conversion (years after an attempted assassination attempt left him paralyzed).

Wikipedia: "Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian in the late 1970s, and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his earlier segregationist views. He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness. In 1979, as blacks began voting in large numbers in Alabama, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: 'I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over.' His final term as Governor (1983Ė1987) saw a record number of black appointments to government positions."

Beck is a recovering alcoholic who has made a fortune telling and retelling the story of how he ruined his life and has been redeeming himself.

Redemption is wonderful and making a fortune is fine, but being oblivious to important differences is not and neither is misleading listeners and viewers.

On February 20, 2010, Beck delivered the keynote address at CPAC 2010. As usual, he told his personal story of self-ruin and redemption and (rightly) rejected progressivism. But he also seemed to channel the pre-born again Wallace by equating the Democrat and Republican Parties and that's a huge mistake.

Beck has devoted much time to exposing the radicalness of President Obama and his administration, which is nice (especially given the blatant bias of the liberal media establishment). "Radio Patriot" Andrea Shea King: "Beck is the only ďnameĒ out there whoís digging, educating his listeners/viewers about history and putting into context the lies, actions, policies and people that are destroying our Republic. Beckís team of some 20+ researchers and attorneys have lifted more rocks and uncovered more corruption in one year than [Mark] Levin has done in his career. Why knock it? Why disparage Beck for his style, which admittedly is unusual, but clever and highly effective? Checked his ratings lately?"

I don't doubt that Beck is backed by many researchers and attorneys, since his strength is entertainment, but ratings don't determine what is good or bad, or right or wrong? Was Obama right when his poll numbers were high and then suddenly wrong when they fell? No, he was wrong all along. Levin doesn't need 20+ researchers and lawyers to prepare him to do his show or to write his books.

Beck told Katie Couric that ""John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama," which is nuts.

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/21/katiecouric/main5328053.shtml: "Disclosure: Glenn Beck's book "Arguing with Idiots" is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS corporation; also Mr. Beck and Katie Couric are both represented by Hiltzik strategies."

What a small world!

On February 21, 2010, John Fund, a CPAC 2010 speaker, in "The Glenn Beck Factor" (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704454304575081672740796804.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines) reported: "...Glenn Beck...gave a tumultuous closing address at CPAC.... He was in bipartisan bashing mode on Saturday, as he called on Republican politicians to have a come-to-Jesus moment and renounce profligate spending, end bank bailouts and resist the 'progressive' agenda of the Obama Democrats. Mr. Beck even said the GOP should confess its own weakness for big government in the way golfer Tiger Woods admitted his penchant for adultery -- and show the same remorse."

On February 21, 2010, "Morning in Anerica" host Bill Bennett posted a "fair and balanced" appraisal of Beck and his keynote address very appropriately titled "Saturday Night Beck" (since Beck combines entertainment and politics, like NBC's "Saturday Night Live," and does let the facts impede him) (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YzM5OTJkYWE1ZTA5OTI1NWJiMjYwNDI4ZDg0NmQ3MGQ=).

Bennett:

"...I like Glenn a lot and I think he has something to teach us. But not what he offered last night.

"Analogizing his own struggles with alcohol to the problems of our polity and in our politics, he said, 'Hello, my name is the Republican party, and I have a problem!' 'Iím addicted to spending and big government.' 'It is still morning in America.' 'It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America. And itís shaping up to be kind of a nasty day. But it is still morning in America.' And, again, 'I believe in redemption, but the first step to getting redemption is youíve got to admit that youíve got a problem. I have not heard people in the Republican party yet admit that they have a problem.'"

That suggests that Beck hears what he wants to hear and doesn't hear what he doesn't want to hear and projects instead of accurately perceiving.

Wikipedia:

"According to Sigmund Freud, projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one 'projects' one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. It is a common process that every person uses to some degree.

"To understand the process, consider a person in a couple who has thoughts of infidelity. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, they unconsciously project these feelings onto the other person, and begin to think that the other has thoughts of infidelity and may be having an affair.... Projection, like all defense mechanisms, provides a function whereby a person can protect their conscious mind from a feeling that is otherwise repulsive."

Bennett:

"Glenn is among the best talkers in the business of broadcast. I am not sure heís a very good listener.

"First, there is a good and strong tradition in alcohol and drug treatment that personal failings should not be extrapolated into the public sphere; that too often when this is done, conclusions are reached based on the wrong motives and, often, the wrong analysis. Glenn has made that mistake here and taken to our politics a cosmologizing of his own deficiencies. This is not a baseless criticism; they are his own deficiencies that he keeps publicly redounding to and analogizing to. It is wrong and he is wrong.

"Second, for him to continue to say that he does not hear the Republican party admit its failings or problems is to ignore some of the loudest and brightest lights in the party. From Jim DeMint to Tom Coburn to Mike Pence to Paul Ryan, any number of Republicans have admitted the excesses of the party and done constructive and serious work to correct them and find and promote solutions. Even John McCain has said again and again that 'the Republican party lost its way.' These leaders, and many others, have been offering real proposals, not ill-informed muttering diatribes that canít distinguish between conservative and liberal, free enterprise and controlled markets, or night and day. Does Glenn truly believe there is no difference between a Tom Coburn, for example, and a Harry Reid or a Charles Schumer or a Barbara Boxer? Between a Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann and a Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank?

"Third, to admit it is still 'morning in America' but a 'vomiting for four hours' kind of morning is to diminish, discourage, and disparage all the work of the conservative, Republican, and independent resistance of the past year. The Tea Partiers know better than this. I donít think they would describe their rallies and resistance as a bilious purging but, rather, as a very positive democratic reaction aimed at correcting the wrongs of the current political leadership. The mainstream media may describe their reactions as an unhealthy expurgation. I do not."

Neither do I (nor does Beck, although he joined his touring partner Bill O'Reilly in ridiculing "birthers" for wanting President Obama to produce his whole birth certificate instead of a short-form certification of live birth and sense that Obama's hiding SOMETHING).

Bennett:

"To say that the GOP and the Democrats are no different, to say the GOP needs to hit a recovery-program-type bottom and hang its head in remorse, is to delay our own countryís recovery from the problems the Democratic left is inflicting. The stakes are too important to go through that kind of exercise, which will ultimately go nowhere anyway ó because itís already happened.

"The first task of a serious political analyst is to see things as they are. There is a difference between morning and night. There is a difference between drunk and sober. And there is a difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. To ignore these differences, or propagate the myth that they donít exist, is not only discouraging, it is dangerous."

That's what happens when a person puts his or her agenda before the truth or is blind to reality.

Mark Levin was blunter than Bennett in appraising the Beck keynote, and they are both right.

Levin (www.facebook.com/notes/mark-levin/marks-new-note-feb-21-2010/322101900945):

"I want to commend Bill Bennett for his wise piece this morning on the Corner. http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YzM5OTJkYWE1ZTA5OTI1NWJiMjYwNDI4ZDg0NmQ3MGQ=

"I agree with him. I have no idea what philosophy Glenn Beck is promoting. And neither does he. It's incoherent. One day it's populist, the next it's libertarian bordering on anarchy, next it's conservative but not really, etc. And to what end? I believe he has announced that he is no longer going to endorse candidates because our problems are bigger than politics. Well, of course, our problems are not easily dissected into categories, but to reject politics is to reject the manner in which we try to organize ourselves. This is as old as Plato and Aristotle. Why would conservatives choose to surrender the political battlefield to our adversaries -- who are trashing this society --when we must retake it in order to preserve our society? Philosophy, politics, culture, family, etc., are all of one. Edmund Burke, among others, wrote about it extensively, and far better that I possibly can. But all elements of the civil society require our defense. Besides, why preach such a strategy when conservatism is on the rise and the GOP is acting more responsibly?"

Perhaps it's about Beck promoting Beck and trying to be an adult equivalent of the child who noticed that the Emperor actually was naked. The preacher is either very confused or most concerned with promoting and distinguishing himself.

Levin: "Moreover, when he does discuss politics, which, ironically, is often, how can he claim today that there is no difference between the two parties when, but for the Republicans in Congress, government-run health care, cap-and-trade, card check, and a long list of other disastrous policies would already be law? The GOP is becoming more conservative thanks to the grass-roots movement and a political uprising across the country, which has even reached into New Jersey and Massachusetts. Why keep pretending otherwise? My only conclusion is that he is promoting a third party or some third way, which is counter-productive to defeating Obama and the Democrat Congress. These are perilous times and this kind of an approach will keep the statists in power for decades."

There's no doubt that Levin, whom Sean Hannity calls "The Great One" with justification, is right about this. If Beck thinks Bush Supreme Court appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito are not different from Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor, he is deluded.

Levin: "Finally, Beck is fond of congratulating himself for being the only or the first host to criticize George Bush's spending. This is demonstrably false. I not only attacked his spending, but the creation of the Homeland Security Department, the prescription drug add-on for Medicare, his 'moderate' tax cuts, as well as his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, 'comprehensive immigration reform,' and so forth. And I was not alone -- Rush and Sean did the same, for example. And as someone who fought liberal Republicans in the trenches when campaigning for Reagan in 1976 and 1980, I don't need lectures from Beck, who was nowhere to be found, about big-spending Republicans. But this is not about me, or Beck, or Beck's past drunkenness (which he endlessly wears as some kind of badge of honor). It is about preserving our society for our children and grandchildren. Beck spent precious little time aiming fire at Obama-Pelosi-Reid in his speech, and it is they who are destroying our country."

The difference is that Levin is about promoting conservative principles and Beck is about promoting...Beck.

Jonah Goldberg tried to minimize the differences between Beck and Bennett in "Bennett v. Beck" (February 22, 2010) (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDY4MWU3MjVlMTA0MjkzMjI2MWZlMGM3ZjRlNWRlMjE=).

Goldberg:

"I'm proud to be a friend and fan of Bill Bennett's, but I guess I'm going to disagree with his take on Beck as well. Bill's point about Beck using his own experience with alcohol is a good one, but I think he overstates it....

"I also think Bill makes a fair point when he argues that Beck was too sweeping in his suggestion that the GOP has learned nothing and has not changed his ways. And yet, what better place than CPAC for conservatives to keep up the pressure on Republicans. Beck's overall point ó that Republicans need to come to grips with their recent failures and mistakes ó is right....

"Bill's third point, that Beck's morning-in-America-as-hangover imagery was too downbeat and sour is again fine. But it's awfully selective. Beck's speech was rousing and unbridled in its love for the American way. The bit about the hangover was a point about policies he believes are misguided and has been warning about for a very long time (for the record, I think Beck often overstates the threat of fiscal Armageddon, but I don't think he's crazy for pointing to the very serious problems we've stacked up, on a bipartisan basis).

"Also, as a strategic and tactical matter, having Beck give this sort of keynote makes a lot of sense to me because it is very important for the Tea Partiers to feel they are being heard by the broader conservative movement. If that requires the GOP taking a few more, mostly well-deserved, lumps, that's a small price to pay.

"Bill concludes: 'The first task of a serious political analyst is to see things as they are. There is a difference between morning and night. There is a difference between drunk and sober. And there is a difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. To ignore these differences, or propagate the myth that they donít exist, is not only discouraging, it is dangerous.'

"I agree with all of this. But is the keynote address at CPAC really the place for serious political analysis?....the keynoter's job is usually to fire up the troops at the end of a three-day conference.... Contrary to the impression Bill leaves in his critique, Beck's speech did exactly that for most attendees and viewers. It was just a slightly different cut of red meat. And, I should say, it had a lot more historical and policy substance than many such speeches."

It also was fundamentally flawed in that it was premised on equating the Republican and Democrat Parties.

Goldberg: "Bill Bennett is a true Reaganite. And as such, he is a true believer in a sunny, optimistic, approach to politics and life.... Constitutionally, I'm more in Bill's camp then Beck's on this score (though I'm not sure the camps are very far apart), but I don't think Bill is being fair to Beck here."

If Bennett's approach is faultable, it was that he was too gracious. The differences between Bennett and Levin and Beck should be fully appreciated, not minimized, lest the charismatic Beck become a vindictive Pied Piper who divides the Obama opposition because he rejects the two-party system. Beck said at CPAC 2010 that he despises Woodrow Wilson with all of his being and he regularly rails against McCain hero Teddy Roosevelt. Ironically, it was TR's decision to break from the Republican Party to form a Progressive Party that allowed Woodrow Wilson to be elected President in 1912. McCain would have been a much better president than Obama, and Beck may become Obama's unwitting ally.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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