Who Are You Calling Crazy?

Over at Slate, tea party maven David Weigel wonders, “What if Glenn Beck’s really isn’t very crazy?” That’s not to say that Beck’s speech — or the whole idea of the Fox-evangelist being the second coming of Martin Luther King — isn’t utterly nutty. Weigel’s reacting to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent’s reporting that “Dems say they hope they can wrest some political advantage from what they hope will amount to a massive show of Tea Party force that’s rife with ugly Obama-bashing.”

Now Weigel thinks that the “crazy” — like the homemade, handwritten signs superimposing Obama on, variously, Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, and the grim reaper — will be toned down. Beck has instructed his minions to leave their signs at home (possibly because he’d rather them devote their energies to worshipfully imbibing his direct line from God).

Weigel writes:

Reporters will come looking for color and slideshow fodder and Beck wants to prevent any photos of 300-pound men in short pants waving “Where’s the Birth Certificate” signs. I’m betting this will be more partisan than Beck says it will be, but not as “crazy” looking as 9/12/09.

I covered 9/12/09. It was pretty “crazy” looking, but at the same time, I talked to plenty of people who weren’t carrying Obama-is-the-Antichrist signs and were, it seemed to me, looking for someone to give them some easy answers about why the economy was in the crapper. (See here and here for my perspective on the events.) They were looking in the wrong place, obviously, but the Democrats won’t win by telling these people they’re crazy or cavort with crazy people. But that always seems like the easiest way to go. 

That’s not to say that nativism, racism, and other ugliness shouldn’t be reported and reviled. But Democrats shouldn’t be “gleefully noting to reporters” anything about Beck. Until they have their own brilliant plan to rally the faithful, glee shouldn’t be part of their vocabulary or their talking points.

In any case, I won’t be at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow. It’s my sister’s 50th birthday, and I’d be crazy to miss it.