Glenn Beck expects 300,000 people in Washington, D.C., tomorrow for BeckStock. Really. Those are his own words. Calling it both the "Woodstock of the next generation" and "the anti-Woodstock," Beck expects "a miracle." It would take a miracle to get half so many people to ride a bus to D.C. and watch a three-hour Goldline ad.
Did you know that Goldline sponsored both the Wright Brothers and the moon landing? I didn't. Much more -- including an original video -- after the jump.
When Paul Krugman declared the dividing line "between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased," I wondered what "line" he was talking about. There has been no right-wing talk-radio listener guide to the segues from G. Gordon Liddy to Rush Limbaugh to Alex Jones to Art Bell.
Beck's transition to television is not unusual. What is new is the way he brings the content of late-night talk radio onto a mainstream, prime time "news" channel. Thanks to the Color Of Change boycott, Beck's show features the same sort of "apocalypse-readiness" sponsors you hear on late-night AM; gold and seeds may yet share time with freeze-dried food supplies and shortwave radios. And really, if you were a respectable brick-and-mortar company, would you want to advertise on such an apocalyptic program?
If his shtick came between demon-possessed toasters and Elvis sightings, we wouldn't mind. But that isn't what Beck does: start the FOX News evening opinion lineup with Teh Crazy™ so that everything and everyone after him seems sane by comparison. Are there actually 300,000 people in a day's bus ride from DC both crazy enough to show and functional enough to get there? Of course, Sarah Palin is guest-starring tomorrow; and he has those lobbyist-provided FreedomWorks buses (Koch's coaches?) to bring Beckerheads in bunches. But FOX News Channel is letting him do all the coverage himself, his audience is shrinking, most conservatives think his rally is dumb, and he's lost his cachet with the cool kids of teabaggery:
“They wouldn’t even give us a booth,” said a leader of a tea party-related group that rejected Beck’s entreaties. “I resented their presumption that a relatively small organization like ours would use our connections to promote an event where Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks are featured, and we get no recognition at all. No thanks.”
But some conservatives — and even some Beck fans — say they’re concerned with what they view as a series of unfulfilled promises by Beck to engage more directly in the populist conservative politics he espouses on his syndicated radio show and Fox News television program. They point to his decisions to step away from a political group he founded, The 9.12 Project, and also to abandon plans for voter registration efforts and a political manifesto that was to have been launched at Saturday’s rally.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it will be a defibrillator the the heart of America. Maybe a hundred years from now or two hundred years from now, Beckapalooza will be seen as historic. Maybe we'll all see something Saturday that has not happened in America for 228 years. Maybe it will be remembered as the moment America turned the corner. This rally might grow the next George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and be remembered in American history by picking up Martin Luther King's dream that has been distorted. Perhaps a shockwave will reclaim the civil rights movement -- after all, the timing is divinely-ordained. Your children might remember it, be indelibly marked, and have their feet put on a path. You might never forget it; it could change your life. This is why the president is organizing New Black Panthers and enemies are coming from out of the woodwork in an unbelievable campaign to suppress turnout at this turning-point event.
Or so Beck would have us believe, as the previous paragraph is made up of his own words that he can no longer take back. But he will probably not draw near so many, which is why I've asked everyone I know in the Washington, DC area to help as I set aside my usual off-day from blogging to crowdsource a liveblog. If you live in the DC area, please send pictures, video, or even estimates of the crowd at the bus drop-off or the Lincoln Memorial to the email address at my website. Call it "amateur crowd science." I'd especially like a count of the buses and wide shots showing the size of the crowd; it shouldn't be too hard to get them all in frame, because Beck's organizing "dream" might be another Christmas Sweater in terms of attendance:
In New York, Beck sold 17 tickets. In Boston, another 17. And in Washington, D.C., the hotbed of political activism, his tearful film drew only 30, Raw Story has found.