A question about Beck’s Rube-A-Paloser

Is it me, or did the focus of today’s shindig seem ... to not exist?

Off the top of my head, here’s a list of things Beck crammed into his lengthy and very public wank session*:

1. The Troops.
2. Honor
3. God & Son, Inc.
4. Teabaggin’.
5. Abraham Lincoln.
6. The Sarah Palin Starburst Experience.

In my experience rallies are about one thing, one topic. This was just a mess.* The lack of focus likely contributed to the large number of people milling about aimlessly. The poor souls had no fucking idea why they were there.

A cynical person would think Beck couldn’t decide what one thing would get masses of suckers to D.C. so he picked all of them. It got 80K of them to D.C. this time. I suspect his adoring fans will be less adoring if he pulls a stunt like this again.

[Edit: BJ’s Dennis G. decodes the “H” word. I think D.G. put more thought into his post than G.B. put into his entire Restore America’s Virginity rally, but it’s a good read.]

*And way back when he first announced this, wasn’t he going to reveal some sort of master plan that would make everything perfect forever? Maybe I missed that part. Maybe I was supposed to buy the book.

Posted by Hunger Tallest Palin on 08/28/10 at 08:30 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBedwettersNuttersTeabaggery

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Actually, the confusion was predictable, in my opinion. The Tea Party thing is a movement only in the loosest sense of the word. The ‘baggers hold innumerable grievances, theories and crackpot notions. The only unifying factor is that they all blame Obama for everything that’s wrong in their lives. They’re the Anti-Jacksonians of the 21st century, and just about as successful. They love platitudes but hate policy, respect the Founding Fathers but disdain history, pay homage to the Constitution without being aware of what’s actually in it.

This was an excuse for a bunch of angry white people to be angry together. Ideas are for people who actually want to change things.

It could be giving these folks too much credit, but in comments to KevinK’s earlier thread, roshan said the following:

Now that I think about it, it struck me, this is about legitimizing their movement in the face of national media other than the corrupt FOX News. This is about overriding the accusations of racism, xenophobia, muslim hatred etc. By having a rather plain rally at a historical site on the anniversary of the civil rights march of MLK, they are really co-opting the glory off of it by not carrying any signs or such. I guess even Beck and the other folks on the stage didn’t make political comments just to hide their intentions in plain view. Now any further accusations about them would be waived off. Someone is really pulling out some great scripts out there among the wingnut consultants.
The democrats better counter this, otherwise it’s not going to look good.

This could be.  Beck apparently had a bunch of people of color up on the stage with him, in far greater proportion than was represented in the crowd.  These media personalities in the authoritarian conservative vanguard do this a lot.  But it’s not in hopes of winning over large numbers of people of color, but to provide cover to, and reassurance for, their core constituencies.  It’s basically to say, hey, you guys - both here and watching at home - couldn’t be racist, otherwise these folks of color wouldn’t have joined us. [Just don’t call them names or point weapons at them, m’kay?]

Comment by meepmeep09 on 08/28/10 at 09:38 PM

It truly was a half-assed effort—a trio of wounded veterans, Fake Medals for two people nobody ever heard of and one guy who didn’t even bother to show up, a couple of “One Moment in Time”-style motivational hymns and a long, disjointed lecture from Beck that pretty much boiled down to Chevy Chase’s admonition to “Be the ball, Danny.”

Basically, it was Covered-Dish Night at the VFW, minus the door-prize.

It got 80K of them to D.C. this time. I suspect his adoring fans will be less adoring if he pulls a stunt like this again.

Bingo. And their problem isn’t just mobilizing for another Beckathon, but any other activities they may organize.

I know what it’s like trying to mobilize people to turn out for demos when there is an immediate focus to react to, and it can be like pulling teeth (the major exception was the Glasgow anti-Iraq War demo, which basically took over the whole city center and featured just about the most motivated crowd I’ve ever seen—larger than Beck’s today, in fact, at about 130,000 people!).

The reason this wasn’t an overtly political rally wasn’t a grand strategic masterstroke, it was because of the charity tie-in—it’s a no-no legally. Jason Linkins at HuffPo reckoned the rally was originally intended as a big launch for Beck’s book, The Plan, but for whatever reason that didn’t happen, so they were stuck with a time slot and a vacuum to fill.

As for this:

The democrats better counter this, otherwise it’s not going to look good.

I don’t really see what’s to counter. In any case, Organizing for America was going all-out with GOV preparations today, trying to capitalize on those who voted in 2008 but might not in a midterm. Tell me which was the best use of resources?

This was an excuse for a bunch of angry white people to be angry together. Ideas are for people who actually want to change things.

Right, but at the organizational level this was a one man show and it was still highly unfocused as advertised. I don’t know, it just weirded me out.

But you raise something else that’s been nagging at me: Did Beck just run in and wrest the TeaBagger Tiara from Dick Armey’s head?

Especially if the fReichtards are claiming millions of people turned up for Beck. That must mean people like him best.

A friend of mine from NYC took the bus down to check it out. Here’s his take:

What I will say, for now, is this: It was absolutely nothing short of—and was expressly designed to be—an Evangelical Christian Revival, the purpose of which is to get Jesus—not just some nebulous notion of God—inextricably linked to government. Forget about small gov’t.Ultimately they won’t give a shit as long as Jesus has a chair in the WH.

I was sorely disappointed that Bugs Bunny didn’t rush the dais to rescue all those little old ladies playing Amazing Grace on their bagpipes, screaming, “Don’t worry, Granny. I’ll save ya from that horrible monster!”

Did Beck just run in and wrest the TeaBagger Tiara from Dick Armey’s head?

Well, nobody “likes” Dick Armey, and the fact that Palin and Beck have thrown in with Armey’s GOP Teabagger Absorption Machine makes more than a few Freepers rather queasy. In that triangle, it’s hard to tell who’s hurting whose credibility more.

Beck walked away from his own Nine-Twelver movement, and doesn’t really identify with the Tea Party because he wants to be a Supra-Political Moral Force for Good—an aspiration common to particularly guilt-ridden AA graduates and jailed Republicans.

I don’t think his Tea Party stock went up yesterday. He promised an orgasmic, life-changing experience that he didn’t deliver, in a grandly-staged but crappily-executed program that was vastly less magical and inspiring than the average Celtic Woman concert on PBS. Teabaggers want blood and torchlight, but what they got was a star-spangled version of The Christmas Sweater—the Beckian equivalent of the Four-Foot-Tall Stonehenge from Spinal Tap.

I’ll be interested to see whether Beck drained money or motivation from folks who might otherwise have attended the upcoming 9/12 Rally, which promises to be heavier on the hate for Libs and Muslims—i.e., the Ozfest of ‘Baggery, as opposed to Glenn’s Stryper Revolution

the Beckian equivalent of the Four-Foot-Tall Stonehenge from Spinal Tap.

Love it.

I’ll be interested to see whether Beck drained money or motivation from folks who might otherwise have attended the upcoming 9/12 Rally

That’s the trade-off in this sort of activism, and it’s long been a bone of contention.

It takes a LOT of time, energy, money etc. to get together a rally or demo of any size. Smart organizers will do things like use the organizing phase to build mailing lists for future use, pass around petitions that’ll never go anywhere but can be used for future mailshots etc.

The thing is, this was part of an astroturf program, so those contacts were largely already harvested and used to mobilize in the first place.

So the major gains are:

(a) media exposure (whose impact will be unpredictable and mixed, especially because Beck and Palin aren’t untainted brands for the majority of the population, let alone some who are less than enthusiastic about the takeover of their movement, and the overblown religious rhetoric may not play well universally even among the religiously inclined);

(b) people-to-people networking (going to an event together gives you an opportunity to meet others from within and outside your neighborhood who you may decide to keep in touch with), and

(c) affirmation of existing beliefs and the feeling you can do something about them.

The problem with top-down cooption of TP activities such as via Tea Party Express is that b and c tend to be less important factors. And as pointed out above, the TP movement is even less monolithic than your run-of-the-mill campaigns.

And anyway, the fact is that turnout at all these events isn’t growing, despite the absurd guesstimates being spouted in the rightisphere today. And if people had a less than stellar experience and some even felt alienated by the event, it could backfire quite significantly in the comedown phase.

And anyway, the fact is that turnout at all these events isn’t growing, despite the absurd guesstimates being spouted in the rightisphere today.

Speaking of backfires: I’m willing to bet the gross overestimates are directly linked to smaller turnouts. The numbers these idiots are pushing are far bigger than the population of an entire city. They’re making it really easy for a potential attendee to think “Since a million people go to these things, it won’t matter if I don’t go.”

Plus, screaming “NINE BILLION PEOPLE SHOWED UP!” means people can’t be guilt tripped/frightened into coming. (“If you don’t personally come, the gubbermint won’t know how many ReaLAMEricans are angry and force more soshulism down our throats.”)

So here’s to the shrieking fReichtards and their innate dishonesty, eh?

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