In an interview with Katie Couric, Fox News pundit Glenn Beck said John McCain would have been a worse president for this country than Barack Obama. As ThinkProgress reported, Beck’s comments generated an angry response from right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who called Beck “mindless,” “incoherent,” and “pathetic.”
Yesterday on his Fox News show, Beck responded to Levin’s criticisms. “I’m getting all kinds of heat from conservatives,” he said. “No, I shouldn’t say conservatives. I think I’m getting heat from Republicans.” After ripping Republicans and Democrats for being essentially “the same thing,” Beck justified his earlier comments about McCain by saying the country would not be witnessing tea party protests if he were president:
BECK: If John McCain were in office, you might hear some complaints about cap-and-trade here and there, but a march on Washington? I don’t think so. Fat chance! … At least now we’ve been tossed into the boiling water and we’re awake.
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin immediately fired back with another attack on Beck, whom Levin calls “the 5 pm’er” (because Beck’s Fox show airs at 5 pm). “I’m told the 5 pm’er said today that if John McCain were president, would there be marching in the street?,” Levin began. “I thought to myself, are you not aware of even recent history that the entire Reagan revolution rose up against the RINOs [Republicans in name only]?”
Levin quickly escalated the tone of his criticism against Beck. “Have you no sense of your own history?” he said, addressing Beck. “This is why you refuse to consider yourself a conservative! Still searching around in the dark, in the shadows, trying to figure out who you are and who we should be. Some of us know who we are and what we must be! And we also know where we must go!” Then Levin took a personal jab at Beck:
LEVIN: If you’re not going to be politically sensible and have a strategy and have an end-game, you’ll keep winding up on weekly magazines, you’ll keep making a lot of money, but in the end you won’t make a difference.
Many on the right are worried about Beck’s ascendancy. Peter Wehner, a former political adviser to President Bush, recently wrote that Beck is “harmful to the conservative movement” because he’s “erratic,” “bizarre,” and is too interested in “conspiracy theories.” Rush Limbaugh recently suggested to Politico that Beck’s role in promoting the 9/12 protest was “cheap and disingenuous.” And MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said conservatives need to call out Beck’s “hatred.”