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Do We Need Glenn Beck To Help Us Understand Political Self-Dealing?

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If I understand Matt’s defense of Reihan Salam’s “Glenn Beck is the new Malcolm X” piece correctly, he seems to be arguing that we should ignore the offensively silly framing device and instead focus on the highly banal points about America’s changing demographics.    Fair enough, I guess, but I still don’t see what’s new about demagogues appealing to reactionary white people or how this specifically illuminates Beck.   In particular, the opposition of older people to the new health care bill says very little about changing demographics or Beck, but is just straightforward “I’ve got mine *^$# you” politics that is as old as the hills and would exist even if the country’s other racial and cultural demographics weren’t changing.   If conservative older Americans were in favor of abandoning their own taxpayer-funded healthcare I might buy “nostalgia politics” as the primary motivating force, but of course they don’t.   The tendency to act in one’s political self-interest is universal, not particular, and affluent old white people being conservative isn’t exactly a new phenomenon crying out for explanations.

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