The Daily Show had a pretty hilarious piece on Glenn Beck last week, which can be viewed here. Watching it for yourself will be much funnier than reading my description of it, but for those of you who love reading, here we go. Back in January of 2008 Beck underwent routine surgery for hemorrhoids (seriously), but there were dangerous complications and Beck feared for his life. He survived, and a brief home video describing his ordeal became the second most watched clip on YouTube at the time. Why did the video get so much attention? In a follow up piece for his web site entitled “Hospitals Gone Bad,” Beck said, “Maybe because I was honest in a world where most people aren’t, I guess.” He went on to say of his horrific experience, “This [. . .] is where I came to encounter our healthcare system as it stands today. [. . .] You’ll get it right away because I’m betting that you’ve had experiences just like this.”
So, Glenn Beck experienced firsthand the problems with America’s health care system, and commented publicly on those problems as recently as 2008. In 2009, surely he’s supporting health care reform, right?
Wrong. As seen in the clip from The Daily Show, Beck is now saying there’s nothing wrong with America’s health care system. So much for being honest in a dishonest world, huh? Beck, like many public conservatives, has political points to score. It’s come out that some of those railing against Obama’s supposed “death panels”, including Senator Chuck Grassley (“‘We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on grandma’”) and Newt Gingrich “‘[. . . T]here clearly are people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia’”), actually supported similar proposals for end-of-life counseling in the past.
And remember during the Bush administration when Republicans such as Representative Eric Cantor warned against opposing important policies just to score political points? Republican operatives are currently doing exactly that openly. Pundit Bill Kristol wrote, “With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. [. . .] My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.” Yes, we certainly wouldn’t want to appear responsible. And Senator Jim DeMint famously said of Obama’s health care plan, “‘“If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”’” One of the best comments on these hypocrites came from a Republican; Bruce Bartlett, who worked in both the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, said, “They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies” (link via Steve Benen via TAPPED)
“Hacks” is exactly right. It’s hard not to feel that Bill O’Reilly was serious when he said of his public persona on The Colbert Report in 2007, “This is all an act” (it’s even easier to feel that way after reading Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right). Similarly, in GQ’s recent comedy issue, Glenn Beck was asked if his on-air crying was “‘just a routine for ratings.’” Beck responded, “‘I’m not a journalist.’” Something to keep in mind the next time he tells you there’s nothing wrong with America’s health care.