Ever since the Egyptian protests began two weeks ago, the conservative movement has been struggling to spread a lockstep message through its top spokespeople.
Some top neoconservatives and party elites have encouraged the developments, while radio and television performers like Frank Gaffney, Rush Limbaugh and John Bolton have warned that it could lead to a New World Order—a Muslim caliphate, specifically, under the rule of institutions like the Muslim Brotherhood, AFL-CIO, Bill Ayers, Code Pink, and various other commies or brown people. And the biggest fight has broken out between Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck. Why is Kristol only pointing out that Glenn Beck is an insane monster now?
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.
National Review editor Rich Lowry stood by Kristol, calling this a "well-deserved" shot at Beck. And Beck, of course, has spent his past few radio and television programs attacking the conservative elite as personified by Kristol and Lowry: "All they stand for is power. They'll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together, and they'll do anything to keep the Republican power entrenched."
Glenn Beck's right! If Kristol, specifically, stood for anything other than Republican "power," he would have trashed Glenn Beck a long time ago. Pretty much any time before, say, Election Day 2010. But Glenn Beck was useful to the Republican midterm strategy. He whipped up old people into an apocalyptic frenzy in response to every new and mostly moderate initiative Barack Obama proposed. But now that Republicans need to abandon this fever-pitch strategy to appeal to indepedents for a presidential election, where angry old people won't be the only ones showing up to vote, conservatives finally feel the need to denounce Glenn Beck's inane bullshit — even though it was still inane bullshit before a group of Egyptians took over a central square in Cairo.
Besides, who is Bill Kristol to criticize anyone else on Planet Earth for irresponsible fearmongering about the Muslims? Here's one ad that his "Keep America Safe" PAC ran last year, in which he accuses Eric Holder's Justice Department of being in bed with Al Qaeda. Or rather, that Eric Holder's Justice Department only has the same "values" as Al Qaeda.
So at least Glenn Beck is consistently insane. But since party leaders and Bill Kristol don't want him being the face of the Republican party heading a presidential election, Fox News will probably have to can him soon. Oh well! It was... something... while it lasted.
[Image via AP]