Sarah PosnerSep 21, 2009
Dave Weigel points out the hypocrisy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's professed admiration for W. Cleon Skousen , the Glenn Beck ideological godfather and anti-Communist oddball, at this weekend's Values Voters Summit. While many in the Christian right sidelined Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism, now Mormons like Skousen and Beck are all the rage. But it's not that surprising -- because it's not that new. The conservative movement has long admired Skousen, and he has a long list of Republican and movement insider admirers. Mark Skousen , a frequent contributor to Human Events , is Skousen's nephew. When Beck started promoting his uncle's book, The 5,000 Year Leap, on his television program, Skousen wrote a paean to his uncle and Beck in Human Events , "Glenn Beck Re-Energizes the Conservative Movement." Skousen did not overestimate his uncle's influence, even though Beck's discovery of him was recent. (Skousen called that "hope we can believe in.") When the elder Skousen died in 2006,...
Sarah PosnerSep 16, 2009
I highly recommend Alexander Zaitchik's feature in Salon today, "Meet the Man Who Changed Glenn Beck's Life." In it, he profiles not just Beck and his band of aggrieved, paranoid disciples, but the man who inspired him, W. Cleon Skousen , whom Zaitchik describes as "too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era." Beck has resuscitated Skousen's book, The 5,000 Year Leap , catapulting it to the top of Amazon bestsellers and waiting lists at public libraries. Zaitchik, who is at work on a book about Beck, writes: Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous...
Sarah PosnerSep 13, 2009
Don't mind Sarah Posner -- She's just "part of the government-controlled press." From sarahposner on Vimeo . As I rode the Metro down to the Mall yesterday, the size rumors had already begun. (Yes, even the anti-government cranks -- who said things like "when the government takes over, everything goes downhill" -- extolled the virtues of the, ahem, government-run public transportation system in D.C.) Blackberries abuzz, the first rumor I heard was that the estimated crowd was not the anticipated 100,000, but closer to 300,000. The day wore on, indeed the crowd grew, but the size rumor grew exponentially larger. So large that the march organizer, FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe , claimed onstage that ABC (which many participants accused, along with all the other networks and cable stations save Fox, of being controlled by the government) had estimated the crowd at between one and one and half million people. Problem was, ABC never said any such thing. It had reported 70,000, based on D.C...
Sarah PosnerSep 13, 2009
From yesterday's Tea Party rally on the National Mall, sponsored by Dick Armey 's FreedomWorks and other right-wing groups, and inspired by Glenn Beck , participants' posters -- both handmade and professional -- capture the prevailing theme: that America is being destroyed by a foreign leader and his cadre of socialists, communists, fascists, and Nazis. I'll have more thoughts later in the day about the rally, but for now here are some of the snapshots I took. The American Life League, one of the most extreme anti-abortion groups, distributed signs that read, "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy:" Obama is out to destroy America, what with his foreignness and all his "czars:" And he might even be the Antichrist -- although we're not sure why: "Obama is the Antichrist" from sarahposner on Vimeo . --Sarah Posner