The Litmus Test Moves On

Having spent considerable amounts of time in San Francisco, Montreal, The Laurentians, Portland Maine, Boston, Rhode Island, suburban New York and Connecticut; you want to talk about real life political litmus test questions?  I’m you’re guy, usually see them coming, left or right.  On the other side of the ledger we have time in Huntsville Alabama, Virginia, Augusta, Atlanta and Thomasville Ga.; decidedly Conservative, sometimes thoughtfully so, sometimes not.    

The current trend should concern Republicans because there is a spotlight out there and in the words of Gary Moore “you forgot to learn your lines.” 

Used to be; “did you vote for Bush?”  Simple, to the point not difficult to interpret the tone of the question!  A “yes” answer in the aforementioned bastions of Liberalism earned immediate distain.

Canada was especially confused.  Canadians see hundreds of thousands of Americans visit and they visit us as well.  But, they could not find a single person who voted for Bush.  They simply could not process their personal experience with the two time result.  “How did he get elected, no one voted for him, everyone says no, not me?”  At least they were holding you accountable to the President.  : I admitted my vote  at a dinner in Montreal and the air came out of the room, they were so excited; “One, we have found one!” 

There was a time for many of us when we were not conservative, really; well maybe part time on some stuff.  Or you were a “non-political” Republican, meaning at the time, that you were fundamentally conservative but disagreed with how Republicans behaved.  You held them in distain just like the Democrats did joining them of the perceived ledge of the moral high ground.  You likely tried to find a comfortable middle but there was always one or another of the litmus test questions that exposed you.  Or you got through it unscathed and felt like a wimp!  

The current litmus test question is a bit different than most that came before.  It’s not a question about a politician.  It’s not the yes or no to an issue like abortion.  Recently, of course its “do you think Sarah Palin is equipped to be President?”   

Now its:

“You don’t watch/listen to Glenn Beck do you?”

“Yes, I do, sometimes; I listen to a lot of people”


“Yea, by the way, have YOU watched Glenn Beck.”

“Oh no not me, but my: husband /wife /son / daughter / grandmother / grandfather / babysitter / proctologist / next door neighbor, watches it every day.” 

“But not you?”

“No, not me; he’s crazy!”

Welcome to the latest litmus test; Glenn Beck.  (Unscientific study, based on random sampling; meaning,  people I encounter along the way)

I Knew Glenn back in the day. The man did some of the best radio I’d heard in years; “theater of the mind radio”, amazing stuff on occasion.  First day on the radio, there’s Glenn talking about making the jump to a significant number of station.  Glenn says; “now hang in there because the first week or two you listen to this show you’re going to hate it, it takes a little while to figure out what we’re doing!”  “But, if you hang in there, we’ll grow on you.” (Years ago, I paraphrase.)  Said to myself, I like that; comes on tells me it’s going to suck at first but then it will get better.  He was, I would say, humbly confident.  I’m a radio fan, I was hooked enough to give it a try.

Glenn is now the most hated Conservative in America according to a Conservative magazine.  More hated than Rush, or Sean or Michelle or even Ann?  Whoa, they hate Glenn more than, wait for it, …………….Darth Cheney? If Glenn, the most hated Conservative in America, is the question, what’s the answer?   Have we entered an alternate universe?  No not at all!  That alternate universe thing, it’s just a theory, you can only do the math based on a set of assumptions; truths assumed for the sake of thinking it through, but not proven.  You know like modern Keynesian economics.  They hate Glenn because  he’s dangerous, he’s a threat, he’s deconstructing their gig.         

The litmus test question does not for the moment focus on: Newt, DeMint, McConnell, Romney, Ryan, or Daniels; even Gov. Palin is running a long distant second as a litmus test question.  No Governors, candidates in waiting, Congresspersons or Senators.  Flavor of the day,the dangerous Glenn Beck!

Why?  How about this?

People who watch him believe he’s done his homework.  No one, to the best of my knowledge has factually debunked Glenn when he connects the dots. (I stand to be corrected, send me the link) There’s a lot of clever research and cross analysis, lot of books, lots of opinion, attempting to check it all out.  I couldn’t do it.  Do you have time to do that?  Does your news channel do that, your newspaper?  Individuals can absorb the connections of intent and attitude from their readings, but seriously connecting the hard facts is another thing altogether and that is where a large part of a story should be.  Glenn, at his best walks us through demonstrable facts, writings, quotes, associations, audio and video.  Individuals of interest are hung on their own Petard.    

People who watch think the chalkboards fit the permanently style challenged Mr. Beck to perfection; “what’s the big deal” they ask?  Back to the people assuring me that they don’t watch; how do you know so much about the chalkboards? Someone told you; ah, got it!

Glenn scares people but not to death, mostly.  He clearly wants to scare them to awareness and action.  He’s actually done a pretty good job of that if you go by the numbers Mr. Olberman, just saying.   Glenn has big numbers: listeners, viewers, web subscriptions, search hits, comedy shows, a magazine, Christmas shows; tours with O’Reilly, book sales, public demonstrations start up organizations.  Agree or disagree the numbers are the numbers.  Millions of people every week, millions!  Call them what you will, millions!

Message to the political class, Glenn is the anti-political class.  He does not care about your party.  It’s not just the issues, history and information.  Listeners and viewers believe Glenn is telling them what he actually believes, right or wrong.  He’s willing to walk us through his logic.  Big numbers guys 

Glenn’s history lessons are predicated on the idea that the truth is more interesting than historical fiction.  History tainted by political orientation is boring, the real deal is fascinating.  You peel back the historical onion and you see you’re way to a better understanding of how we got here.  There was evil in our history, best face it for the purpose of rejecting it.  There was glory and courage as well, best face it and embrace it.  The message is also “for God’s sake can we not make these mistakes again!”          

Oh, man!  Those poor Canadians!  They’ll be back this winter and they won’t be able to find a single person who watches Glenn Beck!