Despite critics, Glenn Beck has dream, too

August 27, 2010

By Jennifer Harper-The Washington Times

It’s already been dubbed Beckapalooza, the Beckoning, Beckstock.

Somewhere between heartfelt sermon and star-spangled sideshow, Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” event, to be held Saturday at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, has already attracted outsized praise and criticism. A celebration of faith, personal virtue and traditional American values, the gathering will feature prayers and a speech by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as Old Glory rolls in the summer breeze and folks get in touch with their inner patriot.

“It’s going to be overwhelming,” Mr. Beck predicted on his show Thursday evening.

But the political aftershocks of the gathering are proving harder to gauge.

Mr. Beck insists the three-hour gathering will not be a political rally, a “tea party” celebration or even a vehicle for personal aggrandizement. But defining what it is has proved to be an irresistible challenge for supporters and skeptics alike.

The event has attracted much buzzy press attention and vigorous criticism from liberals such as MSNBC‘s Keith Olbermann, who framed the event as an “end of days” extravaganza, and is questioning Mr. Beck‘s sanity. Think Progress editor Faiz Shakir simply declared, “the guy is insane,” while liberal watchdog Media Matters for America said Mr. Beck was guilty of “outrageous hyperbole.”

Democratic political organizations jumped on the bandwagon, gleefully pointing up the low-key welcome GOP establishment groups have given the rally.

“The fact that [Republicans] are trying to plead ignorance is just completely absurd,” said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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