"To sit there and go, ‘You, sir, are a dirtbag!’ I mean, who does that?"

After the broadcast, a clutch of young, blonde producers gathers to praise Beck’s handling of Blumenthal as the host wipes off makeup; bits of towelette cling to his astringent-reddened cheeks. Then we’re off to the basement garage, where his hulking black Escalade idles. Every day, Beck’s driver-bodyguard delivers him from his lakefront mansion in Connecticut (his PR reps beg me not to reveal the exact town, as if Glenn Beck were a military installation) to Manhattan, where he tapes his radio and TV shows, and back. He bought the mansion in 2005, “right at the top [of the market],” he guffaws. “Look, if I lose my home because I bought too much of a home—it was my choice. My wife said to me at the time, ‘Maybe we should buy a smaller house.’ I said, ‘No, let’s buy one we can grow into.’ ” (The couple has four children.) “I’ve lost everything before. In 2000, I could barely afford my $695 rent, and I was happy.”