Glenn Beck isn't supposed to be funny, but he is increasingly starting to seem like the comedian who has run out of fresh ideas. The one who has to rely on the same brand of rhetoric he has used for years, which no longer attracts the kind of audience he once commanded. Well, this is exactly what happened in Jackson, New Jersey, a week ago.
At a NJ tea party-sponsored event on October 2, the "Restoring America Rally One State at a Time," Beck returned to warning Americans that "[w]e're entering ... the most dangerous two years of our republic"; he invoked a favorite boogeyman -- unions and union leaders; said that America is up against its biggest foes; gushed of his love for NJ Gov. Chris Christie; and explained that while he doesn't mean to scare people with his doomsday rhetoric, "they're gonna kill us all if we don't stand up." He then ended the night by comparing himself to Moses.
Beck: "We're entering, I think, the most dangerous two years of our republic." For the past year, Beck has been warning that "[w]e are entering the most frightening time that I can remember in my life in America" [8/5/09, Fox News' Glenn Beck]. Over the last few weeks, however, he has pinpointed the "next two years" as being the "most dangerous in the history of the republic" and has claimed that "the republic may not survive" them.
He returned to that theme in Jackson, saying that "the seasons are changing" and that "we have to watch for the signs of the seasons' change. We have to watch for the signs of the leaves and notice what's happening." He went on to say: "We might be going into spring, but we might be going into winter. So the best thing we can do is prepare for the winter and hope for the spring." He concluded: "We're entering, I think, the most dangerous two years of our republic."
Beck: Union leaders are "shaking ... down" union workers and the American people. How many times have we heard Beck rail against unions and union leaders? Probably too many times to count -- and then some. Beck, who has referred to union leaders as "thugs" and called them "union bosses," accused them in Jackson of "not giving their union workers a fair shake," adding, "they're shaking them down. And they're shaking the American people down now." He went on to say:
BECK: In California, one fireman has to have 40 people pay into the pension to be able to pay for his one pension. How does that happen when the 40 retire? It doesn't. It doesn't work. And now they're shaking the American people down for even more. And you know what? If you're a union and you're paying taxes, you're paying for your pension two times now. You've already paid in and now you're gonna pay some more through our taxes. It's not right. It's not a fair shake. It's a shakedown by the union leaders.
But as we noted when Beck unveiled his "pension pyramid" purporting to illustrate how it takes "19 firefighters [to] pay for the one guy getting the pension," Beck's "arithmetic" is "contrived," nutty," and it distorts the issue.
Beck: "We are up against incredible and amazing foes." Beck, who sees enemies everywhere, warned again that "[w]e are up against incredible and amazing foes." He continued: "It might as well be all of the armies and navies of the world. It might as well be the biggest power in the world." While Beck didn't specifically name those "foes," he went on to attack Woodrow Wilson, saying, "I hate that guy."
He later quipped: "They say that we're -- you know, that I'm a leader of hate. When it comes to Woodrow Wilson -- guilty as charged. I read someplace, 'I hate Woodrow Wilson' is like a secret handshake for the Glenn Beck crowd. 'What's the password?' 'I hate Woodrow Wilson?' 'Yeah, you're good. Come on in.' "
Beck has relentlessly warned of violence by progressives, saying that "trouble" by the "most violent" progressives "is coming"; that "[v]iolence is part of the plan" of those on the left; and that the "army ... of the extreme left is gathering." He also regularly invokes "revolution," asserting that when "soft revolution" fails, "hard revolution" begins and that's "when they start just shooting people"; he has warned that "in the end, in revolutions, real dangerous killers show up when things start to fall apart"; and warned that the "Revolution of 1776 was a picnic compared to what the revolutionaries of today would like to do."
Beck: "I would love to meet Chris Christie; I love that guy." The "love" Beck holds for Christie is almost embarrassing in its transparency. He once lamented that Christie "avoids us like the plague" and wondered "whether he hates us," referring to himself and his co-hosts; but that hasn't stopped Beck from saying Christie "may be George Washington" or that he thinks Christie "might be the next president." He has also declared that Christie is "one of the only guys" he would "vote for, for president" and has implored Christie to "get ready" for 2012.
So it was no surprise that Beck would gush about the governor in his own home state. Beck stated: "I've met so many people I don't ever want to meet. I've met people that I'm like, 'Oh, I've got to go take a shower. I just shook their hand. I would love to meet Chris Christie; I love that guy." He added: "Here's what it's gonna take for the future. You want a leader? Don't worry about their waist size, don't worry about how they're dressed, don't worry about if they kind of look sloppy, if they're not the best speaker -- worry about their spine. Do they have a spine?"
Beck later stated:
BECK: Here in New Jersey, Chris Christie -- the union mob, the union bosses -- that's an ugly Soprano stereotype and I don't appreciate it. The union bosses have told Chris, [in a faux-mob voice] "So, uh, I guess -- I guess what's gonna happen then is they're gonna shut down the government, heh?" Chris Christie said: "Yep, I guess so. I'm gonna go have some pizza and beer or you can call me at the mansion if you want to get serious." Amen, brother!
Beck says he doesn't want to "scare you," but invokes situation in which "they're gonna kill us all if we don't stand up." According to Beck, we're firmly in "Weimar Republic territory," where the dollar is on the verge of collapse and massive inflation reigns. In a tirade he delivered in Jackson, Beck angrily admonished the government for not telling the people "the truth." He said the government isn't preparing people for what's coming, "because they're in the Weimar trap. If you stop spending, the economy stops dead in its tracks and we hit a side of a mountain and we collapse."
Beck claimed that if public officials were responsible:
BECK: They would say, "Batten down the hatches! You start socking your money away if you can. You start saving on everything you can with food and everything else. You start taking care of your neighbors. You just do everything you can to get out of debt. Don't buy that extra thing. Don't buy that flat-screen TV." But they can't, because they're in the Weimar trap. If you stop spending, the economy stops dead in its tracks and we hit a side of a mountain and we collapse. Let it fail.
BECK: And I don't say it to scare you. I say it for this reason. ... I say it because I believe in you. I believe in the free market. My father was the most successful in our family in generations -- the most successful. I think my father may have maybe, maybe, have made $20,000 a year. I -- nobody in my family went to college. I'm a freak of nature. All of a sudden, boom, this kid is where I am? It's insane. I'm sorry, it's America.
America, America provides the opportunity -- not the guarantee -- but the opportunity. I believe in the free market. I believe we can make it. I believe we are the inventors and the creators and the dreamers. I know it. And I also know that statism and communism and socialism do not work. They don't work.
Why in an American experiment, would we say, "OK, this didn't work. Let's go to that other thing that ends in tens of millions, if not a hundred million dead"? It doesn't, not only work, it has to kill people to cover it up until, finally, the people who haven't been killed figure out, "We're gonna -- they're gonna kill us all if we don't stand up."
Beck: "Pick up your stick." You know, for a guy who has accused progressives of having a "God complex," carrying around a wooden staff and comparing yourself to Moses might give some the wrong impression. In Jackson, Beck brought out a wooden staff he said was made of "three snakes around one snake. And the big snake says 'we the people,' this one says 'our honor, our fortune,' and this one is 'our sacred honor.' " He said someone made it for him "because, on 8-28, I said, pick up your stick."
Beck went on to say:
BECK: Pick up your stick. Moses was a guy who didn't want to do what he did, didn't think he could do it. And this was the weapon God gave him against Egypt. This. I bet it wasn't even carved nice like this. ... It wasn't even cool like this, but he picked it up. And what did he do? He left Egypt. He left Egypt, and he brought the chosen people out and he returned to the fundamentals.
Beck, who has been accused of "wrapping himself in God's cloak," has told his listeners: "I think what God is telling us is get behind him. I think that's what he's saying: Use him as a shield." He has also said, "I believe we're approaching a last call: All aboard God's train. Buckle up, because trouble is coming"; has claimed that 9-11 was a "wake-up call" from God; and has sent out the following "message": "Stand where He wants you stand, and trust in the Lord. If He tells you to do it, do it. If you can't figure it out, He will. Just do it."