Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Understanding the Kristol Attack on Beck

Noting that Bill Kristol has been on the offensive against Glenn Beck's delusions Adam Serwer asks,

I'm actually a little confused as to where the substantive daylight is between Beck, Kristol and Lowry on the connections between "caliphate-promoters and the American left." After all, Kristol's group Keep America Safe employed arguments developed by Andrew McCarthy that the Obama Justice Department was filled with terrorist sympathizers for an entire ad campaign, and Lowry's magazine employs McCarthy, who literally wrote an entire book explaining how the American left and "radical Islamists" both have a leader in the current president. Is Beck's incoherent rant really any less crazy than McCarthy's theory that Obama's relatively hawkish foreign policy is actually meant to serve Islamists who think that "al-Qaeda has outlived its usefulness?"...

Anyway I don't get it. Conservatives have spent the last two years espousing the links between "caliphate-promoters and the American left." Why turn on Beck? Because he's just doing it wrong?

Yes. I think that's exactly it. Glenn Beck is widely viewed as a buffoon by the American public and the American media. Bill Kristol meanwhile is a respected member of the political and media elite. If your Bill Kristol your biggest fear is that people outside of movement conservatives will start to explicitly connect the dots between you and Glenn Beck's Crazy Train. You can't afford to be viewed as just another Rodeo Clown. It hurts your personal brand, it damages your magazine and it jeopardizes your influence inside and outside the Republican Party.

How better to establish your Very Serious bona-fide's than to call out Glenn Beck? It doesn't matter if substantively there is a wit of difference between the two of you. All that matters is the style.

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