It’s one thing when the Obama administration takes on Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck – it may be surprising in some ways, but it certainly isn’t in others. But when conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and conservative NYT pundit David Brooks do so, it’s something else entirely.
Brooks titles his column 10/2/09 “The Wizard of Beck,” but spent most of his time going after Limbaugh. He noted how Limbaugh vociferously backed Romney over McCain during the Republican presidential primary battle in South Carolina, where you’d think Limbaugh would be particularly strong, and McCain thoroughly whipped Romney anyway. How much of a Republican leader could Limbaugh possibly be, if he can’t deliver South Carolina, Brooks wondered.
He said that both Limbaugh and Beck claim to speak for millions, and perhaps they do, but they do not have enough millions at their beck and call to influence elections or much of anything else. Except the behavior of Republican politcians, who seem to have come to believe their “myths” and act as if their blessing is the most important thing they can have. “They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.”
He concluded, “The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.”
At an event at Washington’s Newseum, Graham mentioned that conservative talk radio was one of his side’s “less constructive tones.” Asked about Beck, he said, “”Only in America can you make that much money crying…I mean, you know, what [do] I think about Rush Limbaugh? Well, I think he makes hundreds of millions of dollars being able to talk on the radio.” He wondered, “how many people in my business are going to be controlled by what’s said on the radio or in a TV commercial…Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party as far as I can tell. He’s aligned with cynicism, and there’s always been a market for cynicism.”
RBR-TVBR observation: A number of Republican politicians took on Limbaugh earlier in the year, some very mildly, and all wound up publicly apologizing after their phones lit up and email boxes filled up. We are unaware of a track record on this for Beck. We’ll be interested if there are any repercussions from the duo’s many fans this time around.