Glenn Beck goes home to face - what else? - controversy
His hometown is giving Beck the key to the city. Before that, his fans paid up to $500 to see and hear the conservative commentator at Safeco Field in Seattle. Did we mention that he has a new book out?
All he has to do is pretend to drop a frog in a pot of boiling water (something about contrasting the dangers of John McCain versus President Obama), and the blogosphere goes nuts. Just ask the Monitor’s resident political humorist Jimmy Orr. The response to his Beck/frog blog this week had Jimmy hopping all day.
Today, conservative commentator and Fox News wunderkind Beck is going home to Mt. Vernon, Washington, for “Glenn Beck Day.” Before that, he’s speaking at Safeco Field in nearby Seattle at an event sponsored by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a private non-profit whose mission is “to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.”
It may be about freedom, but the “Take the Field” event is not free: $500 to attend a private reception and have your photo taken with The Man; private reception without a photo for $250; seats with a catered lunch on the field for $100. Those are all sold out, but some of the cheap seats were still available Saturday morning for $10-$25.
Naturally, the arrival of Beck is stirring up people in the normally laid-back Pacific Northwest -- the country’s largely-liberal quadrant known by those of a more conservative stripe as the “Upper Left Coast.”
Writing at seattlepi.com, longtime Seattle columnist Joel Connelly observes: “The Emerald City is hosting a man who calls Barack Obama a ‘racist,’ sees a back-to-school presidential speech as ‘indoctrinating’ children and defends an obscure 18th Century constitutional provision that set in place the slave trade and capped taxes at $10 a slave.” That was one of Connelly’s more polite comments.
Anti-Beck protesters claim to have gathered 16,000 signatures in opposition to Beck’s being given the key to his hometown. His fans fought back with signatures and radio call-ins of their own.
Mt. Vernon Mayor Bud Norris thought it was a good idea to honor a wildly successful hometown boy who got his start in radio there when he was still in high school.
City Council members disagreed. They passed a resolution stating: "Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the Mayor's event on Sept. 26, 2009, and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner."
Beck gets challenged all the time by what his fans deride as the “mainstream media.”
Writing in the New York Times this week, Nobel economist Paul Krugman observed that Beck “informed his audience of a ‘buried’ Obama administration study showing that Waxman-Markey [the House-passed cap-and-trade climate bill] would actually cost the average family $1,787 per year.”
“Needless to say, no such study exists,” Krugman wrote.
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