Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Democracy?

In another display of hysterical dementia, Glenn Beck spent much of his program yesterday mangling American history and redefining the meaning of progressive. As usual, his interpretation of current events is rife with Apocalyptic gloom:

Beck: What we’re talking about is an ideological movement that has set its sights on the destruction of the Constitution and the fundamental transformation of the republic.

Beck’s proof for this prophesy of despair was a series of videos wherein Democrats described themselves as progressive, or promised to make progress on matters of interest to the nation. Progress, of course, is something that Beck and other conservatives deeply despise. That is why there has never been much of it during conservative administrations. As for progressives, Beck is recasting them as Satan’s minions who are “sucking the blood” out of the Democratic Party (Republicans too). He insists that there are no more Democrats, that they have all become infected and are now Marxists. To illustrate his point, Beck quoted Michael Moore issuing a warning to Democrats.

Moore: To the Democrats in Congress who don’t quite get it: I want to offer you a personal pledge. I, and a lot of other people have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want. That is not a hollow or idle threat. We will come to your district and we will work against you. You think that we’re just going to go along with you because you’re Democrats? You should think again. Because we’ll find Republicans who are smart enough to realize that the majority of Americans want universal health care.

To which Beck replied: “Got it? They don’t care about the parties. They never have.”

You see? Moore articulated a pointedly non-partisan challenge to the people’s representatives, exhorting them to align themselves with the public will or face payback at the polls. It’s called democracy. Yet Beck construes this expression of democratic engagement as hostility to party politics. What’s funny about this, aside from Beck’s daft analysis, is that he himself has made a career of being hostile to party politics. In fact, if you remove some of the identifying words in Moore’s statement it could easily be mistaken for Beck himself.

Last August Beck embarked on a major project that he called “In or Out 2010.” It’s whole purpose, he said, was to hold elected representatives accountable to the people and to a 5-point pledge he proposed. In the program introducing the project Beck said:

“If your politician doesn’t believe, support or reflect these beliefs, in their actions, not what they say in cute little speeches, then they aren’t supporting you. You bring these words to them. They’re not supporting or protecting or defending the Constitution of the United States…It’s time to throw those bums out…You tell these politicians that you’re either in, or next election season, you are out.”

How is this different from what Moore said? The only difference is that it’s OK for Glenn Beck to say it, but not Michael Moore. It is the result of the entitlement Beck feels to threaten whoever he wishes, a right not afforded to anyone else. It is a decidedly anti-democratic attitude that pervades Beck’s philosophy. Yesterday’s blackboard sermon was an extended assault on democracy that focused on how corrupt it must be because Americans voted to send more Democrats to Washington than Republicans.

Beck: I could erase the Republicans. We could take them all outside and send them to the zoo all day long and it doesn’t matter. The Democrats could still pass all their legislation.

First of all, that would only be true if there were no diversity of opinion in the Democrat’s caucus, which we all saw last year is far from the case. Secondly, so what if were true? Isn’t that what democracy is all about? If you persuade more citizens to vote for your party/platform then you get to implement it (pay attention Democrats). But Beck gets even more squirrelly as he continues bashing democratic principles.

Beck: That’s why the Democrats need these phantom villains because who’s resisting them? There’s no debate, right? Except the debate inside their own party. Inside the 256 Democrats and the 58 Democrats. You see debate…debate…that’s a needed ingredient for a recipe. One that doesn’t end up in tyranny. Debate. That’s not what we have now in the house and the senate.

In Beck’s world, which is overrun with phantoms and villains, there is no debate amongst Democrats. Of course, in the real world, getting Democrats to agree on anything is a Herculean undertaking. That’s why they have failed to invoke cloture on the record number of Republican filibusters. And it’s why so many judges and other White House appointees are still awaiting confirmation. And it’s why there still isn’t a health care bill.

On the other side of the aisle, however, the GOP marches in lockstep, holding together their homogeneous caucus without debate. It is a strictly disciplined organism that will not countenance dissent. It is the epitome of the recipe for tyranny that Beck assails. But somehow Beck recites this quotation from John F. Kennedy with no irony whatsoever:

JFK: Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can survive.

Unless they are Republicans, in which case they get a free pass from Beck who simply finds democracy distasteful. If the people speak out in favor of candidates or policies that Beck dislikes they are misguided and the system is broken. If Beck approves of the people’s decisions then those in the minority should shut up and stop trying to peddle their socialist propaganda. That’s what passes for debate in Beck’s cartoon brain. After all, how do you argue with someone who believes that God is the grantor of rights?

Last year, Beck announced that “the whole approach changes” for his show starting this month. I haven’t seen any evidence of that, but the month isn’t over yet. His announcement coincided with the disclosure of yet another Beck initiative (following the 912 Project, Re-Founders, In or Out 2010, etc.), the ominously christened “The Plan,” a one hundred year blueprint for the restoration of an America that exists only in his mangled mentality. Speculation circulated that this would be a voter registration/community organizing project. In other words, Beck may be starting his own ACORN. So we’re still waiting to see if the democracy-hating Beck will emulate an organization that he regards as anti-democratic.