Frank Luntz on Beck's show: The White House's language on astroturfers is 'pure hate'
Glenn Beck, of all people, is shocked, shocked we tell you, at the kind of langugage that's being used to describe the ginned-up teabaggers who are invading health-care forums with the intent of disrupting them and destroying the discourse these events are intended to engender.
Yesterday on his Fox News show, he brought on Republican pollster Frank Luntz to shake his head:
Luntz: And for the comments of people like actress Janeane Garofalo ... it's hateful. And it's awful to use that word, Glenn. But what's coming out of the White House, the language that they are using, and that you see also occasionally from L.A., is pure hate.
This, on the Glenn Beck show.
At least Beck had some vague awareness of this irony, and mentioned it a little earlier in the exchange, though without having thought through its implications:
Beck: I'm looking at the words you used here: "right-wing extremists," "desperate Republicans," "angry mobs," "the mob", "manufactured anger," "Brooks Brothers brigade." I don't remember hearing these words coming from the Bush White House. And I'm not a defender of the Bush White House by any stretch of the imagination. But I don't remember anyone saying anything like that coming out of George Bush's ... realm. There are political hacks that said some awful things, um, but this? Really? Did we call Democrats "mobs"?
Luntz: It's character assassination is what it is. And it's something that was learned under the Clinton administration. They began this in '94, '95, we saw this with the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, when anyone said, 'Hey, what happened here?', if you challenged the Clinton administration, they went after you, they went after your family, they went after your business. It's a viciousness that you see on the left.
Beck: Look, there is -- there was -- I'm a political, um, um, talk-show host and anchor. I have said vicious things. That's different than the administration coming out and saying these kinds of things. You have an official endorsement of this kind of talk is dangerous in this country, is it not, Frank?
Actually, Glenn, vicious talk gets "officially endorsed" when it is not only permitted and condoned but celebrated on television and radio shows like yours. And when it's you doing the talking, we hear that President Obama is a racist who hates white people and white culture; that he's leading the country down the path to fascism, or to socialism, or whatever flavor of totalitarianism you're flinging about this week; that his policies will enslave us.
But it's good of you to notice that this kind of talk is indeed "dangerous" -- no matter who's using it.
However, if you'll notice, the only provocative talk coming out of the White House is actually more derisive and decidedly not hateful. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the protests "manufactured" and suggested they were like the "Brooks Brothers" protests in Florida in 2000: "I hope people will take a jaundiced eye to what is clearly the Astroturf nature of grass-roots lobbying," he said.
The language that most upsets Beck actually comes from Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse:
"Republicans and their allied groups -- desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill -- are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country."
Woodhouse said: "The right wing extremists’ use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the president's citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are. This type of anger and discord did not serve Republicans well in 2008 -- and it is bound to backfire again."
This again is more highly partisan than hateful, and not terribly different in that regard from what you might find at the Republican National Committee's website (where, among other things, you'll find they've already declared Obama's presidency "a failed experiment after 200 days") -- though less so now, it seems, than in former years.
But commentary doesn't have to come from the halls of officialdom to receive an official imprimatur, especially when it comes to movement conservatism, for whom the true seal of official approval is stamped "Rush Limbaugh" and "Glenn Beck." And from those two alone, the bile has been a deluge of Biblical proportions.
Funny that they should be the first to clutch their pearls and hit the fainting couch over the comparatively mild remarks coming from the DNC and the White House. But then, that's what we've come to expect from these losers.