Comparing the Republican Party's struggles with big government spending to
his own struggle with alcoholism, Fox News host Glenn Beck gave a rousing
call to arms Saturday night to conservatives gathered in Washington D.C. for
their annual convention.
In a 58-minute speech that closed the Conservative Political Action
Conference, Beck often treated Barack Obama and the Democratic Party as if they were irrelevant to the larger cause. Instead, he focused his critique
on a Republican Party he - and clearly much of his audience - believed had
betrayed their small-government, low-tax principles.
Editor's Note: See the entire Glenn Beck speech on video below
Referring to his own decade-long struggle with alcoholism, Beck told the
audience, "I have not yet heard people in the Republican Party admit they
have a problem.
"I have not seen a come-to-Jesus meeting. . . . 'Hello, my name is the
Republican Party and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big
government.' . . . They need that moment."
Using the chalkboard familiar to his afternoon Fox News audience, Beck
walked the audience through more than a century of left-leaning political
thought, dissecting how "progressivism" had inserted itself like a cancer
eating away at GOP politics.
Covering figures as wide-ranging as Karl Marx and Teddy Roosevelt (a
Republican he criticized harshly), Beck told the audience that progressivism
was merely a more peaceful means of communist revolution. While communism was revolutionary, he said, progressivism was evolutionary, making it all the more insidious.
"[Progressivism] is the disease here in America," he said. "It's in both
parties. It's eating the Constitution. It's designed to."
One figure, though, Beck repeatedly singled out for adulation was the one
politician who didn't betray his conservative principles: Ronald Reagan. The
recurring theme of his speech hearkened back to the famous Reagan campaign theme: "It's Morning in America."
"People are losing the fundamental belief that it is going to be better
tomorrow. Let me tell you now, it is still morning in America," Beck
offered. "It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hung-over,
vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America. And it's shaping up to
be kind of a nasty day, but it's still morning in America."
The problem wasn't Barack Obama, Beck stressed from the very beginning.
That's "too simple an answer," he said. The problem, Beck said, was simply
that the party's so-called conservatives were not nearly conservative
"Being conservative means having personal responsibility," Beck said. "We
have the right to fail," he continued, "without failure there is no
growth... There is no sweetness of success.
"We choose our own destiny," Beck said. "We choose. All men are created
equal. All men will not end up equal."
"But all men are created equal. In our daily choices -- that determines our
outcome. In Cuba, Venezuela, in other beloved Marxist nations that do so
well and yet I see no evidence of it, that choice is taken away from people.
To restore America we need less Marx and more Madison."
As he frequently has on his Fox and radio shows, as well as his
cross-country concert hall appearances, Beck held the audience spellbound
with riffs that seamlessly wove his personal tragedies and triumphs with his
political philosophy and strong sense of personal responsibility.
"Who can guarantee you happiness?" he asked. "Tiger Woods wasn't happy.
If you find financial success on the road to happiness, he said,
conservatives believe "you shouldn't be demonized or penalized by it."
"I'm not going to pay for your mistakes and I don't expect you to pay for my
mistakes," he said, to wild applause.
Universal health care, one-world government as exemplified by the United
Nations and the Federal Reserve were merely the symptoms of the creeping
disease, Beck said. The mention of the Federal Reserve triggered a chorus of
"We believe in the right of the individual," Beck said. But he added, "We
don't have a right to health care, housing or handouts." He said that the
government does not have the power to give individuals their rights, "God
Even without the frequent ovations, there was plenty of evidence at CPAC
that Beck's libertarian message was being preached to the choir. The runaway winner of CPAC's presidential straw poll was Ron Paul, the antiwar
libertarian who, too, is a frequent critic of GOP policies.
At 31 percent, Paul polled far better than better-known, mainstream
candidates like Mitt Romney (22 percent), Sarah Palin (7 percent) and Tim
Pawlenty (6 percent). A majority of voters said they wished the Republicans
had a better field of potential candidates.
As despairing as he seemed at times, Beck hearkened to both religion and
America's history to stress that each and every citizen had the ability to
turn the nation back on the right course with God's blessing.
"I have been saying the worst is coming. I have been saying it for a while.
But you will find the answers in history," Beck said. "It's the same story
over and over again. We just need to learn our own history; learn from our
own mistakes. Admit that we have a problem. Grow a spine and stand for the right things.
"Our future is not cast in stone. It does not have to be this way. It does
not have to be that the greatest American generation is behind us! It does
not have to be that our children will have a lower standard of living! It
will be that way if we choose to believe that! I choose not to believe
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