Karl Fritsch: How does Congressman Glenn Beck sound?
In just a few weeks, Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since the 1994-midterm elections brought them to power after nearly half a century in exile.
The freshly-minted majority knew just who to thank for its 1994 victory: conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. With great fanfare the GOP bestowed upon its cheerleader the unique title of honorary member of Congress.
It was quite an honor given the right-wing talker’s long history of misogynistic, racially charged, homophobic and all-too-often patently false commentary. Though I guess it would be hard to argue that anyone other than El Rushbo did more to sweep Republicans into power 16 years ago.
So, if past is prologue, who will Republicans credit with such accolades this time around? My money is on Glenn Beck, Fox News’ resident crew-cut conspiracy theorist. He above all others embodies the mentality of the tea party crowd swept into office earlier this month.
Think about it.
When the Republican Party was in shambles after losing control of both the House and Senate in 2006 followed by the White House in 2008, it was Beck who went about building and promoting the tea party movement and his own 9/12 faction. All of which culminated in his rally at the Lincoln Memorial that hijacked the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “I have a dream” speech.
Beck’s promotion of these fringe festivals provided the ground troops needed by a depressed and lethargic Republican Party to mount the massive ground campaign necessary if there was to be any hope of success for the GOP in 2010.
Heck, the Republican majority shouldn’t just make Beck an honorary member of Congress for all of his hard work, it should elect him president of the incoming freshman class.
To cut down on costs associated with traveling back and forth from Congress to his Fox News studio, Beck could even share a Capitol Hill apartment with Alan West, who was elected to Congress from Florida on Nov. 2. West, whom Beck has described as “a man of integrity,” has quite the sordid past.
Representative-elect West assaulted a detainee in Iraq during an interrogation while he served in the U.S. Army – military officials say his actions violated the law. Worse still, West is a fan and defender of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, which, according to reports, has been “targeted by the FBI” for such things as “racketeering” and “attempted murder.”
In no time at all Beck and West could be hosting dinner parties for right-wing Beltway luminaries and concocting Venn diagrams tying the President Obama to Fidel Castro, Mao, and Satan.
For the sake of our republic, I hope that Democrats and sane Republicans won’t be yielding the floor to “the gentleman from Fox News, Mr. Beck” next year or anytime soon for that matter.
• Karl Frisch is a progressive political communications consultant based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com.