Mark's New Note: Feb 21, 2010

February 22, 2010 at 1:49am

I was invited to be the opening speaker at Saturday's CPAC session. I had accepted but then, to my amazement, I learned that the John Birch Society would be one of many co-sponsors. This takes the big-tent idea many steps too far for me. So, I withdrew. Apparently, others were not so moved. That's fine. But it wasn't for me. Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater, among others, chased the Birchers from the movement decades ago. And they're not a part of the movement. So, to give them a booth at CPAC was boneheaded.

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?

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.

And what of his flirtations with Ron Paul's lunacy respecting America's supposed provocations with her enemies, including al-Qaeda? Why should such a fatal defect in thinking be ignored? Do we conservatives agree with this?

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.

On as a positive note, I am personally happy to see that Beck has cleaned up his public act -- as best I can tell, no more boiling fake frogs on TV or pretending to pour gasoline on someone -- and the rest of it. But I do think his speech, which contained nuggets of truth heard before and read elsewhere, including on Rush's show and in my book and many other books, may have distracted from some of the more compelling and coherent speeches at the event, including Marco Rubio's superb speech. I fear the media will see to this. I hope not.