When I heard that Glenn Beck was going to hold a "Restoring Honor" rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial, my first thought was of the Woody Allen film Love and Death, in which two travelers drop off their village’s idiot at a Village Idiots Convention. Beck may call his latest exercise in self-promotion a “Restoring Honor” rally, but make no mistake — it’s a get-together for a group that deserve designation as America's Village Idiots. In other words, the largely incoherent FoxNews addicts who have made Tea Party rallies such funfests. They know they’re vaguely pissed off about, well, something about the government, but, despite their periodic quoting of random passages from the Founding Fathers, they don’t really seem to know enough about either politics or history to even define what it is they want.
Timothy Egan of the New York Times calls these people “the flat-earth wing” of the GOP, in an excellent column on the frightful increase in willful ignorance on the right (a subject we dealt with in a previous blog post). It’s been well-publicized that nearly half of Republicans believe Pres. Obama is a Muslim; that almost a third of them don’t believe Obama is a U.S. citizen; and — this is rich — half of them believe the TARP bank bailout was enacted by Obama, when it was, in fact (“Fact: Knowledge or information based on real occurrences,” in case a Beckite reads this), put in place by George W. Bush.
Much of the outrage over Beck’s rally is that it’s being held 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech at the same place, as part of what was, until then, the largest civil rights demonstration in history. That outrage is more than justified, and expressed brilliantly in today’s column by Leonard Pitts, which I recommend.
But I want to focus on Beck’s name for his picnic: “Restoring Honor,” which shows that Beck either has no self-awareness whatsoever, or he has balls the size of a bull elephant’s. “Restoring Honor” — this from a man who made fun of a radio competitor’s wife on the air and to her face, for having a miscarriage. This is the same guy who recently had to apologize for making fun of Obama’s daughter Malia while using a racist caricature of African-American speech, and implying that both of Obama’s daughters are stupid.
“Restoring Honor” — from the guy who said, on the air, that Obama “hates white people,” and then, less than a minute later, said, “I’m not saying Obama hates white people.” Beck is a man without any honor to restore — an unbalanced goofball who has proved over and over that he will say anything to be the center of attention, who goes around with a mishmash of disconnected ideas and lies running around in his head, who uses his airtime to spread his claptrap, scare his viewers, and, most importantly, to build his books/radio/TV/appearances fortune.
As we’ve written before, Beck lives in a historical wonderland where whatever he says happened in the past really happened, and where stunning leaps of illogic, mixed with misinformation, are the norm. The fact that so many people hang on Beck’s every word and share his paranoid fantasies about Marxist presidents, impending national doom, evil, terror-spreading mosques, and so forth, isn’t just scary — it’s also proof that Beck’s big “rally” really is a Village Idiots’ Convention.