A couple of years ago, when his reputation had turned so toxic that even Fox News didn’t want him anymore, I made a prediction about Glenn Beck’s future:
My prediction is this: Within two years, Glenn Beck remakes himself as a David Brock/Arianna Huffington lefty ‘disillusioned’ with the right. He’ll be so good at it that liberals will … like him. Beck’s left himself plenty of escape hatches along the way, with the “rodeo clown just trying to understand stuff” routine he does. He’ll say: “Well, I understand now! And once Fox realized I was going places that weren’t in line with GOP orthodoxy, they got rid of me!”
When I fall for this, I ask that one of you slap me. Hard.
My timing was slightly off — it’s been nearly three years now since Beck left Fox and started his own, online-only subscription-only network — but it appears he’s decided it’s time to start his penance tour. It’s not a conversion to Obama-style leftism, no, but it sure does appear to be a reinvention of sorts — as an Obama-style conservative, perhaps, promising to break down ideological barriers in favor of the things that unite us. He even had a goatee, perhaps to signal that it was a mirror-universe Glenn Beck speaking out.
Here’s what he said during an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, speaking about his time on the network:
“I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language,” Glenn said poignantly. “I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart, and it’s not who we are.”
“I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were, I thought we were kind of more in it together,” he added. “Now I look back and I realize if we could have talked about the uniting principles a little bit more instead of the problems, I think I would look back on it a little more fondly. But that’s only my role.”
Sounds thoughtful. But it’s important to remember, it was said by the same guy who used to make a living calling his opponents Nazis over and over and over again:
Why is this important? Well, you should know that Beck wasn’t on Kelly’s program to talk about old times. Instead, he’d come on Fox News to talk about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has come under fire for his (admittedly stupid) comments suggesting that his political rivals are not welcome in New York State.
Beck’s response: “We have to decide: Can we live with people with different points of view?” he said. “If we can’t, we’ve seen that road over and over again the 20th century and it doesn’t end well.”
I’m pretty sure that was a Nazi reference. They tend to head the list of “20th century cautionary tales,” after all, though Beck also referenced Jim Crow-era Alabama in his discussion, so maybe he was merely comparing Cuomo to George Wallace.
So this is Glenn Beck’s reinvention. Instead of loudly and explicitly comparing Democrats to the same people who killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, he is now soberly, thoughtfully, and quietly alluding to Democrats being history’s worst monsters. Is that really an improvement?
A nuanced, subtle Nazi-baiting huckster is, at the end of the day, still a Nazi-baiting huckster. So don’t be fooled: Glenn Beck is still Glenn Beck. Did anybody think he would turn out differently?
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