Is Gov. Perry Proud of Unhinged Extremism?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry really seems comfortable around some rather apocalyptic types these days. Case in point: FOX News commentator Glenn Beck.

Beck has sounded almost unhinged lately. Earlier this month, he shrieked that America is headed toward fascism. He even claims a symbol on the Mercury Dime — introduced into the U.S. currency in 1916 — is proof that our march toward fascism stretches back to the early 20th century.

Beck is also an admirer of James Dobson, who founded the religious-right group Focus on the Family. Beck brought Dobson on to his show a while back to talk about prayer in schools, declaring that some people “want to remove God from America entirely.” Across the bottom of the screen was a caption reading, “Progressives want to remove God from America.” (That surely must come as a shock to the tens of millions of people of faith in America whose political views are, in fact, progressive.)

Beck also seems to buy into the End Times theology of the fringes of the fundamentalist right. He was recently interviewed by Newsmax Magazine for a sidebar accompanying an article called “Will He Return?” The main article explores the beliefs of those who see Jesus Christ’s return and the destruction of the world as imminent. Beck tells Newsmax that he sees signs of the coming apocalypse in President Obama’s administration. (Scroll to the bottom of the Newmax page for the short interview with Beck.)

Then this past week Beck went after President Obama on immigration reform and other perceived sins, suggesting that the president might as well “just set us on fire.” He doused a colleague with liquid from a gasoline can (Beck apparently assured viewers later that it was only water) and held up a match as if he were about to set the poor fellow aflame. Entertaining, yes?

After Beck finished with that display of unhinged paranoia, Alex Koppelman notes, he brought on to his show none other than Gov. Perry. Beck asked: “Governor, you’re regretting being on this program at this point, are you not, sir?” Gov. Perry responded: “Not at all, Glenn Beck. I’m proud to be with you.”


14 thoughts on “Is Gov. Perry Proud of Unhinged Extremism?

  1. Perry re-appointed a man who thinks the universe is about 6,000 years old to chair the state board of education – it’s hard to outdo that.

  2. Hey James,

    Perry is difficult to outdo but I thought of two other examples. The pope thinks condoms spread aids in Africa and Larry keeps posting his idiocy on this site when he has his own URL where he can troll himself.

    Yeah when Texas can redistrict its constituents to keep these people in power, nothing surprises me.

  3. All right. Let me take a first stab at this one.

    1) First of all, if I remember correctly, traditional earlier 20th century fascism was a right wing phenomenon—not a left wing phenomenon. Can you say Mussolini? So, to Glenn Beck, I would say, “Physician, heal thyself.”

    2) The extreme right wing in this country—and it is extremist—is increasingly permeated by a wholehearted embracement of wild and bizarre conspiracy theories. In part, I think this is a response to their landslide loss in the recent presidential election and in the last two congressional elections. Unable to imagine that this loss was their own fault, unable to imagine that their screwy ideas were rejected by the American people, and unable to come to terms with those facts, only one self-preserving answer was available. They surely had to be the victim of grand schemes wrought in the shadows by sinister forces so powerful that their pants were pulled down without them even noticing it. In their minds, the key goal now is to identify the particular grand scheme that pulled their pants down, what shadows they were operating in, and who the sinister operatives were. How do you do that? You jabber and speculate on FOX News and conservative talk radio until you identify the one perfect conspiracy theory that gains traction with vinyl siding installers from sea to shining sea. If they buy into it en masse, then that must have been the one that it was. Never mind the truth and never mind the reality. They are just too hard to bear. You might say that they are (forgive me Ben) in Satan’s Grip. For years they held high and lorded over everyone the mantra of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

    Yet, when the chips were really down, they were completely unable to take any responsibility for themselves and any responsibility for the utter failure of their beliefs and policies—not the least of which was—free market forces should always be allowed to act freely without any regulation or other interference from government or outside forces. Somewhere this afternoon in the United States, there is a 67-year-old woman who had her retirement fund wiped out on Wall Street. Her feet hurt, and she is feeling more than a little sick. Nonetheless, in a few minutes, she is heading down to 8 hours of additional suffering in her new job as a cashier at Wal-Mart, which is what she now has to do to make ends meets. You right wing extremists and your idiot policies CAUSED THIS. Whats more THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW IT. The elderly lady at the Wal-Mart cash register IS taking personal responsiblity—while all of you sit around on your sorry butts and whine about which mysterious conspiracy must have pulled your right wing pants down. I have news for you. You pulled your own pants down without really noticing it—and its time for you to TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT.

    When I was growing up in the 1960s, some friends of mine were members of the John Birch Society. In those days, they had meetings in living rooms. Their whole worldview was driven by bizarre and ridiculous conspiracy theories. They were always on the lookout for the traitors hidden among us—rooting out the society of local grocery store meat cutters who met in secret to fluoridate their hams, thereby weakening the spines of our children, and somehow bringing about the downfall of the American way of life. Sensible people looking back on those times realize that these “Birchers” were nothing more than a bunch of local fruitcakes. Unfortunately, those fruitcakes are still among us. The clothing may look different, but they are just as fruity. About a week ago, I read an interesting and plausible statistic in an article. It said that approximately 75 percent of the past and current recognized leaders in the Dominion Theology movement are former members of the John Birch Society. In case you do not know, the new Dominion Theology is one of the primary forces driving the radical right wingnuts these days—and bizarre conspiracy theories are to be expected.

  4. Charles, I find myself skipping lengthy posts. I suspect that others might do the same. I’d like to read what you write, so you might try to shorten things a bit. Just a suggestion — feel free to ignore it.

  5. Usually Charles’s posts are worth the wade. Even if they come from a christian. 🙂 At least Charles is a science-friendly theist. Thanks, Charles.

  6. Thanks, but I don’t believe in brevity. After working in the business world for so long, I remain absolutely convinced that one of the principal problems in business and other areas of life is failure to communicate thoroughly. That means failure to fully say what you have to say and failure to read or listen to what is said to you. If I worked in a business and had employees who sent cryptic e-mail messages to me such as:

    “Report ready.”


    “Revise page 7.”


    “Here it is.”


    “Los Angeles on Tuesday”?

    Sorry to say, I do not interpret this kind of business communication as efficiency. I interpret it as laziness. Sometimes I get messages like that at work and spend an hour trying to track the sender down so I can determine what their “efficient” little message was all about. It’s really annoying. Do that to me enough times, and you might be out of a job. We all have faults. That is one of mine. As my wife says, “You’re not the type who suffers fools for long.”

    Besides, to tell you the truth, I missed my calling in life. God actually put me here on planet Earth to be a journalist. I know that now. Heck, I knew it in 9th grade—I thought. However, because the Russians sent up Sputnik in 1957, a bunch of frightened idiots in my local public school system, people like McLeroy and Leo, decided that all local school children needed to be “MAINSTREAMED” into science and math so our small southern town could do its fair share to keep the Bolsheviks off the Moon. All I am doing with my long-winded posts is making up for lost time. If you want to read them—then read them. If you do not want to read them—then do not read them. I’ll bite my tongue and love you anyway.

  7. That’s fine, Charles. I’m just saying that I’m one of those who skips long comments. In fact, when I see multiple long comments in a row, I’m inclined to quit reading comments altogether. Maybe I’m the only one like that. I’m planning to set up my own blog and this experience is inclining me to set a length limit on comments.

  8. Hey Joe. I thought about setting my own blog too at one time. Sad to say, I have never looked into the costs, limitations, positives, negatives, etc. Are the costs less if you limit the size of posts, which I guess would be related to using less server space?

  9. Charles: No, there’s no cost impact to the size of the posts. You would have to be extraordinarily popular before bandwidth or data storage costs became an issue — and if you were so popular, you’d probably find a way to pay for it.

  10. Yep, your posts are too long Charles. In part it has something to do with reading large blocks of text on a flat screen.

  11. Charles,

    As a designer, I can tell you it isn’t the length of text but how the text is formatted for web. In print, people can read about 65-70 characters per line in order to correctly jump to next line and know where you are.

    On the web, the margins for the paragraph vary from one site to another. Other factors include size of paragraphs, space between paragraphs, point size and the relationship of leading to the point size. Unfortunately, the CSS styles on each site are what controls these factors. I don’t mind your informative posts and I can understand where Joe and John are coming from as well. My suggestion is to create smaller paragraphs and group the information. Keep plugging away. I hope I was of use.

  12. I don’t have that problem. In fact, I spend most of my work days using and reviewing 1400-page documents on my flat screen—and writing major parts of them from time to time. Maybe you guys need to further develop your on-screen reading skills and your maximum attention time.

  13. Oh. One other thing. A little off subject.

    I just noticed that Obama used the U.S. Navy Seals to liquidate some of his supposed “…Islamic brothers…” and rescue the captain of the Maersk Alabama. The radical right wingers (who continue to lose on all fronts, including here at TFN) had held out some substantial hope that Obama could be nailed on what they have painted as the classic liberal hesitancy to use military force.

    Score: Obama 1 and Wingnuts 0. It must just eat on them like acid—good.