Quotes of the day

“As melodrama, it’s thumping good stuff. But as politics, it’s sort of a train wreck — at once powerful, spellbinding and uncontrolled. Like William Jennings Bryan whipping up populist Democrats over moneyed interests or the John Birch Society brooding over fluoride, Beck mines the timeless theme of the corrupt Them thwarting a virtuous Us. This flexible narrative often contains genuinely uncomfortable truths. Some days ‘they’ are the unconfirmed policy ‘czars’ whom Beck fears Obama is using to subvert constitutional government — and he has some radical-sounding sound bites to back it up. Some days ‘they’ are the network of leftist community organizers known as ACORN — and his indictment of the group is looking stronger every day. But he also spins yarns of less substance. He tells his viewers that Obama’s volunteerism efforts are really an attempt to create a ‘civilian national-security force that is just as strong, just as powerful as the military.’ While scourging Obama and the Democratic Congress, Beck takes pains to say that the ranks of the nation’s would-be oppressors know no party. In his recent instabook — Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, a huge best seller, with more than 1 million copies moved in less than four months — he wrote, ‘Most Americans remain convinced that the country is on the wrong track. They know that SOMETHING JUST DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT but they don’t know how to describe it or, more importantly, how to stop it.’ The book’s pox-on-both-parties populism evokes the quixotic campaigns of Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, but with an eerie sound track.”

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“In an e-mail to POLITICO, Limbaugh said any attempt to compare him with Beck in terms of Washington influence rests on a ‘flawed premise.’

‘I do not, and never have, measured my success in ways you describe, such as ‘impact’ in Washington,’ Limbaugh said. ‘I am a broadcaster and judge my success by those standards.’…

Radio host Mark Levin, whose book ‘Liberty & Tyranny’ just surpassed 1 million sales this week, laughed off the suggestion that Beck may be eclipsing Limbaugh as the voice of the right.

‘Are you kidding?’ Levin said in an e-mail. ‘Comparing Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck is like comparing George Washington to George Jefferson. Beck can be very entertaining and even informative, but he is neither the face nor the voice of the conservative movement. He is one of many.'”