Glenn Beck says he is leaving the Republican Party.
Beck explains his decision by saying the GOP is “rotten” and has failed to deliver on its promises to repeal Obamacare and oppose President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.
But many conservatives and Tea Party activists think his decision to leave the GOP was made much too early, especially since the fight to select the party’s 2016 nominee for president has not even formally begun yet.
“I have the greatest respect for Glenn, but isn’t this a premature evacuation?” New England talk radio king Howie Carr tells Breitbart News.
“I understand his extreme skepticism about Bush, Huckabee, Trump, et al. But what if Ted Cruz wins the nomination? Does Glenn come crawling back?” Carr wonders.
Carr, who is syndicated in 20 markets around New England, recently returned to WRKO in Boston as his flagship station, after four months at nearby WMEX.
“It is premature for Glenn Beck to leave the Republican Party,” Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, tells Breitbart News.
“We have one final battle in front of us. If the GOP goes full RINO in 2016, nominates Jeb Bush and tries to crush the conservative wing, then it is time for conservatives to vote with their feet. But if we can get a conservative nominee and start replacing leadership, then all is not lost,” Phillips adds.
Dan Schultz, a conservative Republican activist in Arizona, is also unimpressed by Beck’s decision.
“He could have spent the last six years actually encouraging his listeners to get involved in the political process by becoming voting members of the Republican Party – precinct committeemen. But that would have detracted from his business model. He’s part of the ‘Conservative Grievance Industry.’ All he does is point out problems; he never once offers any ‘we the people’ real solutions,” Schultz tells Breitbart News.
Beck, the fourth most listened to talk radio host in the country, has had a significant influence on Republican primary battles in 2010, 2012, and 2014, but by his announcement seems to have removed himself as a factor in any 2016 primary contest.
Why not, critics wonder, stay and fight within the party to ensure that a conservative candidate is nominated? Since the nominee won’t be selected until June of 2016, Beck is, in effect, giving up on a fight that still has one year and three months left before the bell rings.
By leaving the playing field now, Beck increases the chances that the GOP will nominate an establishment “moderate” such as Jeb Bush, rather than a more conservative Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, or Scott Walker.
“If Glenn and those who share his views don’t like the current state of the Republican Party what have they done to change it?” George Rasley, editor of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com asked on Thursday.
“Assuming Beck is serious in his declaration, what are his alternatives? As a conservative (he self-identifies as a libertarian), what viable options does he have to throw his support and money behind?” Mike Miller at IJ Review asked.
ConservativeHQ.com’s Rasley pressed further.
“A political party is made of people – it is not a set-in-stone institution immune to change – if you change the people you can change the party,” Rasley wrote.
“We conservatives are tantalizingly close to achieving the goal Buckley, Goldwater and Reagan set before us – taking over the Republican Party,” Rasley wrote.
“Today, conservatives are like the Biblical Israelites who could not get to the Promised Land until that generation of failed/flawed leaders had passed from the scene. And, likewise, conservatives are not going to get to the political Promised Land until we get new principled leaders,” Rasley concluded.
Rasley’s boss, conservative icon Richard Viguerie, expressed the view of stay and fight conservatives best in his 2014 book, Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.
“It’s the primaries, stupid!” Viguerie wrote. The phrase has become a battle cry among Tea Party activists gearing up for yet another set of Republican battles in 2016.
But not all conservatives are criticizing Beck’s move.
“Glenn Beck’s frustration with the Republican Party is what conservatives have been feeling for some time now,” Drew Ryun of the Madison Project tells Breitbart News.
“We’re extremely disappointed in the GOP and their continual capitulation. They campaign on conservative principles yet legislate as liberals. I think we’ll see more conservatives follow Glenn’s lead,” Ryun added.
In politics, perception of power is often as important as the ability to actually exercise power.
The challenge conservatives frustrated with the steady increase of centralized power face is determining the most effective strategy to limit that advance.
Rick Moran at American Thinker is not sure what, if any, impact Beck’s decision will have. But, like Ryun, he thinks other conservatives may follow his example.
“Beck has a big influence on the Republican base and is a huge booster of the Tea Party,” Moran wrote on Thursday.
“But in practical terms,” he added, “the impact on Republican politics of Beck’s decision to leave is muted.”
“Congressional Republicans aren’t done screwing things up yet, so Beck may have some company shortly. It isn’t just immigration and Obamacare that Republicans in Congress are dropping the ball on,” Moran adds. “Budget, taxes, sequestration, defense spending – the whole gamut of issues near and dear to conservative’s hearts are being fumbled by GOP lawmakers. They have failed to translate their overwhelming victory last November into a conservative agenda. They have failed to put Obama and the Democrats on the defensive despite their advantages.”
Glenn Beck has chosen to leave the current playing field where he is perceived to exercise influence and power. It remains to be seen if his decision to leave the GOP will increase or decrease his ability to influence the political arena.
In the broader scheme of things, what Glenn Beck does or does not do may not matter much.
When it comes to returning the country to its constitutionally limited government roots, what really matters is how millions of average citizens choose to use their time and energy between now and November 2016–and beyond.