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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Beck’s Ego-Trip Not Likely to Affect Midterms

As might be expected The Washington Post is leading the print rags with insightful opinion writing concerning Glenn Beck’s “Restore Honor” rally, a poorly-disguised attempt to exploit the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in service to the wingnut agenda. On Wednesday, King’s son, Martin Luther King III had a widely-read op-ed and today, the Post’s Eugene Robinson leads with “Even Beck Can’t Mar King’s Legacy,” which offers some astute observations, including:

…Glenn Beck has every right to hold his absurdly titled “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday…But the rest of us have every right to call the event what it is: an exercise in self-aggrandizement on a Napoleonic scale. I half-expect Beck to appear before the crowd in a bicorn hat, with one hand tucked into the front of his jacket.
That Beck is staging his all-about-me event at the very spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech — and on the 47th anniversary of that historic address — is obviously intended to be a provocation. There’s no need to feel provoked, however; the appropriate response is to ignore him. No puffed-up blabbermouth could ever diminish the importance of the 1963 March on Washington or the impact of King’s unforgettable words.

Robinson goes on to expose Beck’s distortion that the Civil Rights Movement was about equal justice, as opposed to “social justice,” and adds,

…Beck’s version of history is flat-out wrong. The full name of the event at which King spoke 47 years ago was the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Among its organizers was labor leader A. Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and a vice president of the AFL-CIO, who gave a speech describing the injustice of “a society in which 6 million black and white people are unemployed and millions more live in poverty.”
…From the beginning, King’s activism and leadership were aimed at securing not just equal justice but equal opportunity as well. When he was assassinated in 1968, King was in the midst of a Poor People’s Campaign aimed at bettering the economic condition of all underprivileged Americans, regardless of race.

Robinson notes that the rally is likely to draw some racists, along with some people with legitimate discontents, whose “concerns deserve to be heard. Instead, their anxieties are exploited by hucksters who see fear and anger as marketing tools.”
No doubt the Republicans are hoping the Beck rally will provide more fodder for their Democrat-bashing. Not too worry, as Robinson concludes,

Saturday night, when the event is done, the Lincoln Memorial will still be the place where King gave one of the most memorable speeches of the 20th century. People who came to the rally in search of answers will still be looking. And Glenn Beck will still be a legend in his own mind.

Beck’s ego-trip may end up fattening his bank account. But it’s not likely to do much to return the keys to the guys who drove the economy into the ditch.

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