Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beck, bin Laden and a 55-gallon drum of grape-flavored crazy

Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck's residual mental health took another two to the head as President Obama commandeered the airwaves last week to announce the death of Osama bin Laden. Beck's Sunday night was about to become only marginally better than the slain Al Qaeda leader's quiet evening at home with the wife and kids.

In recent months, Beck has suffered through the loss of his advertisers, his audience and the impending demise of his Fox News Channel television show.

And on Sunday night, Obama and a few dozen Navy SEALs needed just 40 minutes to strip Beck's propaganda portfolio of yet another asset: The most wanted and hated man in the world.

For the soon-to-be former-Fox hand puppet, the sum of all fears had come to pass. Only a few days before, Obama had masterfully played the birth certificate card. He then moved on to demolish the Birther movement's chief apostle in a humiliating hail of punch lines that knee-capped the presidential delusions of one Donald Trump.  

Beck could only helplessly watch as his Fox colleagues comically scattered to escape becoming collateral damage by invoking a collective case of birth certificate amnesia. He was soon to discover his friends had left him standing alone on the ledge.

We can, however, imagine Beck taking solace in the notion that it couldn't possibly get much worse.

"Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world ..."

It was about to get worse.

"... that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden."

When demands arose to release photos of the corpse, it wasn't clear whether they were talking bin Laden or Beck. Bin Laden saw his career brought to an end with two bullets. Beck saw his career brought to an end with 27 words. Bin Laden has, by now, likely figured out he's dead. It's taking Beck a bit longer.

While most of us heralded the news of bin Laden's demise, Beck donned the Reynold's Wrap and whipped up a 55-gallon drum of grape-flavored crazy.

Bin Laden, Beck explained to his AM radio audience, wasn't dead. Beck initially argued that bin Laden's demise was as phony as a long form Hawaiian birth certificate. Beck then questioned why Obama had bin Laden killed. The same bin Laden who was the picture of health just minutes earlier.

"Dead bin Laden" was whacked, Beck suggested, to keep him from revealing that Al Qaeda had secretly developed its own nuclear arsenal right under the noses of the hapless and tragically inept Obama administration.

Bin Laden's credibility never went beyond 12-year-old Palestinian suicide bombers and guys with explosives taped to their testicles. But it's possible that a revelation of this sort would, if you squinted really hard, prove to be politically uncomfortable. And if Beck had stopped there ...

Of course, Beck never stops there. Beck went on to claim Obama wanted bin Laden to use his nuclear menagerie in a 2012 October Surprise, a 9-11 style attack on God-fearing, tea party, red state Americans. Bin Lade was about to squeal. Beck didn't say whether bin Laden's body was tossed from the Carl Vinson with a canary clamped between its teeth.

Moments later, however, Beck had fished bin Laden's corpse from the sea and restored it to its pre-post-mortem health. Bin Laden was once again alive, secretly held in the White House basement. Or something. Why? Obama is protecting him. Come on, Glenn. The least you can do is put the guy in the Lincoln Bedroom with Michelle and the kids fiddling with the dials on the dialysis machine.

Beck avoids explaining why Obama is protecting the same guy Beck says Obama wants dead. The same guy Beck tells us Obama already made dead. The guy who refuses to stay dead. Probably best.

There are just a handful of low-wattage radio stations that, once his Fox gig fades away, will be the only thing keeping Beck from becoming a 2012 trivia question. He'll continue to have a pulpit, even if it's one sandwiched between crop reports and the static at the bottom of the dial.

The major markets, weary of advertiser boycotts and cratering ratings, are already pulling the plug. Glenn Beck's Bad Week may rapidly morph into Glenn Beck's Really Bad Year.

Just as the Republican National Committee high-fived as Obama gave The Donald a political Brazilian, the GOP wants and needs to wrestle the microphone from Beck's hands as the 2012 vote approaches. But with the "Mission Accomplished" banner now flying over the Obama White House, Beck is a clear bet to become even more unhinged.

Not good. Republicans are desperate to shed the Party of Crazy label as it searches for a moderate nominee who can actually win. A tea bagger-backlash third party candidacy with Beck as the celebrity poster child turns 2012 into a bye year for the Democrats.

It took a squad of SEALs to dispatch bin Laden. It's taking Glenn Beck, to the GOP's quiet delight, to dispatch Glenn Beck. But unlike last Sunday night, this time we all get to watch.