Via RCP, a conservative talk-radio star dumping on Palin is like the Vatican newspaper dumping on the Pope. Populists with followings of this magnitude simply do not unload on each other like this. Since McCain put her on the ticket in 2008, I doubt any of the big names have criticized her sharply even once, let alone torn into her the way Beck does here. Anyone know the backstory he alludes to near the end? He says he and Palin had a “falling out” after someone badmouthed him to her, but I don’t remember reading anything about it.
There’s more to it than just hurt feelings, though:
“Why do I say that about Sarah Palin? How can you say that about Sarah Palin? Because I don’t know who she is any more, I don’t know what she stands for. I saw a clip of her talking to Donald Trump. What the hell is that? I don’t even know who she is any more. I don’t know what she cares for. I don’t know. She doesn’t know what I stand for. We had a falling out long ago because she listened to people who were lying to her about me. Fine. Don’t care. I don’t care,” Beck said.
More from Mediaite:
Later, Beck had similarly nasty things to say about Donald Trump, who co-headlined the event with Ted Cruz. “I’m telling you, dealing with Donald Trump is like dealing with a third grader. And I’m not dealing with a third grader anymore because the world is on fire,” the host said. “You want to come on the show, great. You don’t want to come on the show, great. I don’t really care… Enough of the third grade politics. Grow up, Donald Trump. Grow up.”
The lesson of Trumpmania is that you can be a populist conservative hero even if you’re not very conservative so long as you’re very, very populist. Beck, a Trump critic since the beginning, has resisted that logic, dismissing Trump as a “progressive.” Palin, a Trump ally, hasn’t. Maybe what you’re hearing here, beyond the personal grievance, is Palin taking the brunt of Beck’s frustration with conservative populist opinion-shapers writ large. It has seemed awfully strange that a guy with many more sins against the Reaganist faith than Mitt Romney would be warmly embraced by people known for eagerly excommunicating RINOs with better records than Trump’s. Beck’s exasperation reminds me of Rand Paul’s incredulous op-ed for the IJ Review a few weeks back wondering how the tea party he knows and loves could embrace a guy like Trump. Like Beck, Paul was launched to stardom in 2009 thanks to tea-party support; like Beck, he thought he understood the essence of the movement. He was there at the beginning, after all. And like Beck, he seems genuinely stunned to see Trump, the cronyist Democrat turned Republican strongman, become the new darling. Beck’s been out there all alone in talk radio for weeks slamming away at Trump with no support. Maybe watching Palin gladhand Trump yesterday at the Iran rally finally made him snap.
Or, as I say, maybe it’s a petty personal thing. Say this for the guy, though: He’s not afraid to get on the wrong side of his audience, huh? One reason I think Trump’s gotten kid-gloves treatment from most of the rest of talk radio is because the audience has collectively decided on its own that Trump is a populist hero, and that criticizing him is de facto aid and comfort to the establishment enemy. That being so, if you’re a host looking to protect your own populist credibility, you attack Trump at your peril. Beck doesn’t seem to care about that. Not only will he hit Trump, he’ll hit Palin. Imagine what his inbox must look like right now. Exit question: If Beck’s sore at the conservative populists who are enabling Trumpmania, how come he doesn’t smack Ted Cruz too? Cruz is the guy who made Trump’s appearance at the Iran rally possible in the first place, after all.