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Glenn Beck rally: A warning to Obama and Democrats?

There may have been some Democrats at the Glenn Beck rally Saturday, but even many of them aren't happy with the country's direction. Does the large turnout portend trouble for Democrats?

By Staff writer / August 29, 2010

One hundred to two hundred thousand people attended a rally organized by Fox TV commentator, Glenn Beck, at the foot of the Lincoln memorial. Although it was avowedly "non-political," Sarah Palin was one of the main speakers and the crowd resembled very much the Tea Party crowd.

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Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington Saturday could not have been an encouraging sign for Democrats and the Obama administration.

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The crowd was huge by any count – likely at least a couple hundred thousand people judging by aerial photos and the reported comments of some police officers – stretching from the Lincoln Memorial back to the Washington Monument.

And far from being a gathering of self-proclaimed rabble rousers carrying offensive signs insulting of President Obama, as has often been the case with “tea party” rallies spurred on by Mr. Beck, it was mostly a heartfelt and largely nonpartisan expression of civic concern, patriotism, and religious faith.

In other words, there may have been some Democrats in the crowd, but even they are likely not happy with the direction the country’s taking, according to recent polls – including the policies and programs pushed by the majority party in Congress and the White House.

The irony regarding Beck – a brilliant communicator whose talents earned him $32 million last year – is that much of what he told the crowd flies in the face of what he espouses in his Fox News broadcasts.

Beck's rhetoric more mellow

“We must get the poison of hatred out of us,” he told the crowd. “We must look to God and look to love. We must defend those we disagree with.”

This from a man who has called Obama “a racist” and likened Al Gore’s campaign against global climate change to “what Hitler did” in having scientists use eugenics to justify the Holocaust.

Which drives Beck’s critics nuts.

“You can’t profit from fear and division all week and then denounce them one Saturday on the National Mall in Washington and hope nobody notices,” complains John Avlon on the Daily Beast website.

Beck “knows how to manipulate an audience’s emotions,” writes Avlon, author of “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.” “He uses conflict, tension, fear and resentment to keep their attention day after day, buying his books, attending his rallies.”

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