The Spectacle Blog

Peter Wehner: Harmful to the Conservative Movement

By on 9.21.09 | 11:16PM

Actually, I don't know Peter Wehner and have not been authorized to pronounce official anathemas on behalf of the Conservative Movement. What's the point of ex-communicating heretics if (a) nobody pays attention to you because (b) you're not actually the Pope?

However, from the Olympian heights, Wehner/Zeus hurls this thunderbolt:

Glenn Beck: Harmful to the Conservative Movement

You can actually go read Zeus's entire anti-Beck encyclical, or not. The remarkable thing is the atavistic impulse: "Hey, you know what the conservative movement needs? A purge! And I say we start with a successful talk-radio host, the most popular new personality on cable TV, the guy whose book is now No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list!" Some excerpts of the Wehnerian anti-Beck anathema:

I don't pretend to be an expert on Beck. In the past I assumed he was a typical figure in the pundit and cable-media world. Only recently have I watched portions of his television program, as well as interviews with him, and heard parts of his radio program. And what I've seen should worry the conservative movement.
I say that because he seems to be more of a populist and libertarian than a conservative, more of a Perotista than a Reaganite. . . .
[T]he role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality. My hunch is that he is a comet blazing across the media sky right now-and will soon flame out. Whether he does or not, he isn't the face or disposition that should represent modern-day conservatism.

As opposed to Peter Wehner, who is the face and disposition that should represent modern-day conservatism but who, alas, doesn't have a No. 1 book, a hit Fox News program or a successful talk-radio show.

However, Wehner is supremely qualified for leadership, on the basis of . . .? Oh, wait, I've got it! Along with Michael Gerson, Wehner co-authored a 5,000-word opus entitled "The Path to Republican Revival," which attracted widespread notice, prompting one critic to call it "a Brompton cocktail of bad writing in service of bad ideas, a surefire formula for Republican suicide."

That treatise will live in infamy for a single four-word sentence that sums up the essence of the Gerson-Wehner ideology: "Herewith, a brief primer."

Who is more "harmful to the conservative movement"? The exciting populist Beck or the boring elitist Wehner?

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