The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Glenn Beck at CPAC: ‘Progressivism Is a Cancer in America’

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 02/21/2010 03:40
news
Elisa Mueller

Glenn Beck closed the 37th annual CPAC with a passionate, personal, ideological-but-not-partisan speech about his career and America’s values. For 45 minutes he held the crowd in the palm of his hand, veering between tales of his small-town upbringing and denunciations of the progressive movement.

“Progressivism is a cancer in America,” said Beck, “and it’s eating our Constitution — and it was meant to eat our Constitution.”

For fans of Beck’s daily TV show (less so his radio show) it was a deja vu kind of spectacle. Throughout the day, rumors had circulated through the Marriott about a “special guest” who might introduce Beck. Maybe it would be Sarah Palin; maybe it would be George W. Bush. I talked to activists who worked their sources with both of those people, coming up dry. A few minutes into Beck’s speech, the “special guest” was revealed — the chalkboard Beck uses on TV. The crowd broke into cheers as loud as anything heard all weekend.

“It’s still morning in America,’ said Beck. “It happens to be a kind of a head-pounding, vomiting, hangover kind of morning in America.”

It was a largely optimistic speech, less doom-and-gloom, and less specific in its attacks on the Obama administration than Beck’s usual fare. And coming so soon after the loud boos that greeted Ron Paul’s CPAC straw poll win, the rapturous response was sort of ironic. Nothing Beck said would have sounded strange coming from Paul — a fact that became even clearer when Beck said America “does not have to spread democracy” at gunpoint, because its values will spread themselves.

Beck scored few hits on President Obama, even apologizing (tongue planted in cheek) for a joke about the president’s Nobel prize. His targets were broader — the Democratic Party, the GOP, and anyone else touched by progressive ideas.

“My name is the Republican Party and I have a problem!” said Beck, suggesting a confession for the GOP that multiple CPAC speakers — including some party politicians — had issued over the weekend. “I’m addicted to spending and big government.”

Beck compared the party to Tiger Woods, too, paraphrasing the golf star’s mea culpa. “I knew my actions were wrong, but I thought normal rules did not apply. Kind of like economic rules.” And he made a thinly-disguised attack on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “We have a guy in the Republican Party who says his favorite president is Theodore Roosevelt. Well, I thought so too, before I read Theodore Roosevelt.”

The only Republican who came in for praise was the former vice president. “I love Dick Cheney,” said Beck. “But it’s not enough just to not suck as much as the other side.”

Echoing another theme of the conference — really, of every CPAC — Beck dismissed the idea that Republicans needed to reach out by becoming less conservative. “We need a big tent,” he said sarcastically. “What is this, a circus? America is not a clown show! America is an idea that sets people free!”

When Beck talked about facts and history, he dealt with the origins of the progressive movement up through 1938. The crowd devoured it. Woodrow Wilson’s name drew loud and knowing boos; Calvin Coolidge’s name got boisterous cheers. After praising Coolidge, Beck sniped at the press (waving his hand towards the media booth) and mimed typing on a keyboard, guessing that we’d mock him for praising the “roaring twenties.” But Beck’s attacks on Wilson were more jarring — he went after the 28th president for proposing the League of Nations and compared his fateful whistlestop tour promoting it to Obama’s campaign for health care reform.

At other times, Beck trod more familiar ground. He got his first standing ovation for saying the free enterprise system let him work from being “in the fetal position” at a low point in his career to rebuilding so “I can stand here today.” His other big applause lines, though, came after he recited patriotic boilerplate, culminating with a reading of “the New Colossus,” the Emma Lazerus poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Beck’s speech achieved a major goal — it perfectly captured the change underway in the conservative movement, the motivating worry about economic collapse and the grand appeals to history and Republican Party reform. When Beck wrapped, ACU’s David Keene walked onstage and wrote “CPAC 2010″ on the Beck chalkboard. The board, he said, would be taken to the weekly Wednesday meeting of conservatives “to remind us all of what we should be doing.”

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

Related

Exposing Domestic Intelligence “Fusion Centers” in Michigan

EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management

At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from

E-Verify Mandate Begins Today

The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm

EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules

The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann  has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.

EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’

All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of

EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’

In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work

EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant

Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think

EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill

New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com