Glenn Beck's GOP-bashing keystone speech--the close to an already colorful CPAC--has more than a few liberals and conservatives scratching their heads. For a conference expected to jump-start 2012 ambitions for more conventional Republican candidates, Beck's address was distinctly off-message. "It's not enough just to not suck as much as the other side," he said of Republicans. Then again, his criticisms of both parties may be in keeping with the surprise straw-poll win for anti-establishment libertarian Ron Paul. But did the popular host have to trash the Republican Party quite so thoroughly?
- Republicans Should Be Worried The Washington Post's Dana Milbank was startled by Beck's loud criticisms of the Republican Party. He notes that while the "Ron Paul victory got a mixed reaction ... there was no such division [for Beck]," who appeared to trash John McCain, George Bush, and others. Milbank, thinking the final day of CPAC shows the activists didn't want to be "taken for granted," also zeroed in on another statement from Beck: "I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem."
- Beck off His Rocker "Someone please tell me," writes a bewildered C. Edmund Wright, "just what the heck happened to a convention that was off to such a wonderful conservative start?" Writing at conservative magazine American Thinker, Wright blames part of the bizarre message--between Beck and the straw-poll--on a "disproportionate share of Paul supporters" at CPAC. While admitting that Beck "had "moments of pure and coherent conservatism," Wright is at a loss regarding other elements of the address.
- Disagreeing with Beck Bill Bennett's sincere rebuttal to Beck's speech is quickly becoming the must-read dissenting conservative response. While Bennett respects Beck, he thinks the host is "ignor[ing] some of the loudest and brightest lights in the party" in his criticisms. Furthermore, he writes at National Review, "to say the GOP and the Democrats are no different, to say the GOP needs to hit a recovery-program-type bottom and hang its head in remorse, is to delay our own country’s recovery from the problems the Democratic left is inflicting." Jennifer Rubin at conservative Commentary magazine says Bennett "explains what was wrong with ... Beck's ... speech."
- Beck Right and Wrong "The GOP still does have problems," admits Erick Erickson at RedState. He doesn't think, though, that they're best solved through a third party--he's worried Beck is encouraging a split.