I mentioned on Monday that I’d heard Glenn Beck’s interview with Michele Bachmann from that morning. What I didn’t mention is that I turned the podcast off shortly after that interview, out of anger at Glenn himself. And so I spent yesterday cooling off by focusing on other things — there was a new Angry Birds, and the Rug Doctor needed to make a house call. (No, seriously — I’m a terrible housekeeper with a four-year-old son, and carpets in military housing hoard dirt to the point that I’m surprised they don’t have their own show on TLC.)
But I kept an eye on Twitter, to keep tabs on Beckish happenings, hoping for word of some sort of, “OH, that’s why you guys are mad.” I’ve listened Glenn’s podcasts that are clearly marked as being on this topic. And in doing so I’ve come across this, which has also been making the rounds on Twitter.
Okay, Glenn — so Gingrich does, in fact, own the footie pajamas, and has been feeding us Tea Party types a sweet, sweet line of bull-pucky. THIS IS THE CASE YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN MAKING LAST WEEK. And I know you think you were making that case, but, I’m sorry, the race card garbage is only a valid argument if it were clear that we in the Tea Party not only knew about the footie pajamas, but had also thrown principles to the wind, gotten our own set, and were now happily using them as stocking stuffers, pocket Constitutions be damned — which, as you yourself have said, is clearly not the case.
Let’s be 100% crystal clear on this: You made an argument without bothering to understand the other side of it; you yourself made a concerted effort to destroy Gingrich’s campaign rather than simply letting him destroy it himself; your tool in that effort was a deliberate use of a fun little piece of rhetoric that managed to both insult your listeners and bury your point. And then, when we got upset, your defense was, “I was just trying to wake you guys up, stop overreacting.”
Okay, fine. If you still think that your use of the race card was perfectly fine, then I move that we replace your alarm clock with a guy who will come into your room and wake you up by kicking you in the balls every morning. After all, you’re a guy who has a lot of important things to say, and we’d hate to take the chance of you sleeping in and missing opportunities to do good things.
Are you maybe starting to see where I’m coming from, here?
In the same conversation I had with my sister in which she looked at me like I was frothy-mouthed crazy for paying to listen to you, she dropped a real bombshell. After I had spent a good chunk of time letting her know, in no uncertain terms, not only that I fly the Tea Party flag but also why, I mentioned that then-current idiocy (this was back in August) about how the Congressional Black Caucus was going around talking about how Tea Party types just want to lynch black people. You know what she said? With a completely sincere nonchalance, she said, “From what I’ve seen, that wouldn’t surprise me.”
No, she did not mean the CBC.
The media has done such a good job with their Tea-Party-is-racist smear campaign that my own little sister has no problem whatsoever believing that I knowingly and willingly associate with a cadre of virulent racists.
And you, my alleged ally, who ought to know better, added fuel to that fire, when there was a myriad of other ways in which you could have better made your point. And in so doing, you managed to alienate the people who needed to hear the substance of that point the most.
I’ve seen plenty of people in the last couple of days gleefully use this whole mess as an opportunity to break out the Glenn Beck Smear Wagon. I’m not joining them. I’ve also gotten feedback from plenty of people who are now ex-GBTV subscribers. I have much more sympathy for them than the first group, but I can’t bring myself to hit the unsubscribe button. For one, my son (yes, the four-year-old) LOVES Liberty Treehouse. For another, what you have to say really is important. (Also, I don’t want Chris Balfe to be homeless, and Brian Sack is funny.)
You know what would have done a whole lot to defuse this mess? If you had come out on Monday morning and said something to this effect: “Well, as you know, I lead with my mistakes. A lot of you have heard about my interview with Judge Napalitano. While I’m not going to apologize for the point I was trying to make, I have since realized that the way in which I tried to make that point was both unnecessary and hurtful, because it only would have applied if Tea Partiers were rooting for the wolves, rather than being a group that has been fooled by well-crafted imitation fleece. I really screwed the pooch on this one, gang, and I’m sorry — again, not sorry for the point I was trying to make, but the awful way in which I tried to make it. And to make it up to you, rather than making wild accusations which I myself have admitted were unfounded, we will instead begin to build a concrete list of specific reasons why, despite his pretty talk, Newt Gingrich is not your guy.”
We’re not asking you to stop sounding the alarm, Glenn — we want you to continue to hammer away at it with the sort of gusto for which you are famous. We’d just like you to, next time, swing for the alarm rather than our heads.