The Sharks Circling Glenn Beck

Well, stop the presses: Bill Kristol and I agree on something. In his current Weekly Standard column, Kristol criticizes Glenn Beck for his “caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left,” charging that he “brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.”

Kristol is this close to Roger Ailes and the heart of Fox News, so if Kristol is criticizing Beck, then that means that the sharks, instead of being jumped over by Beck, are in the water looking for his blood. Conservative annoyance with Glenn Beck’s messianism has been growing. Sarah Posner wrote about conservatives’ discomfort with Beck in September for RD, and with Beck’s plunging ratings, perhaps the apocalyptic end is not too far away for his television show. Joe Klein reports for the Time magazine blog Swampland, that Republicans are beginning to raise concerns about the “paranoid messianic rodeo clown.” Funny, but that’s offensive to rodeo clowns: they have the most dangerous job in the rodeo.

Beck’s doomsday televangelist prophet routine jeopardizes not only his show on Fox, but any chance that he can be considered to be any sort of a king- or queen-maker in the 2012 elections. His religious shtick reminds me very much of another televangelist, Gene Scott, who drew on whiteboard constantly, and shilled for thousands of dollars from his church in downtown Los Angeles, California, once showing the rear end of one of his racehorses for three hours until he raised the money he wanted from supporters. And Scott’s show similarly included anti-government rants:

Watching Scott was entertaining. Watching Beck is maddening and painful. I’ll give it to Scott, though; he at least paid for his airtime. Beck is being paid by Fox to perpetrate an even bigger fraud, and unlike Dr. Eugene Scott, he doesn’t even have a PhD.

Anthea Butler [@AntheaButler] is a Contributing Editor to Religion Dispatches. Her forthcoming book, in’The Gospel According To Sarah: How Sarah Palinin’’s Tea Party Angels are Galvanizing the Religious Right will be out in 2013.