Glenn Beck announced his departure from Fox News this week. It was no surprise. His ratings have been tanking, his shtick has gotten old and he has become a clownish figure, each “gag” more extreme than the last.
It is entirely fitting that he should leave this week. This week belonged to the grownups in the conservative movement. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) emerged as the most serious lawmaker on the national stage and as a symbol of an innovative, brainy conservative resurgence. He put out a budget that was, unlike hysterical critics, principled and serious.
This was also House Speaker John Boehner’s week. He consolidated his caucus, came up with an unassailable short-term budget-extension proposal, kept his powder dry when President Obama fumbled (by issuing a veto threat with no backup plan) and outfoxed Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid. He will emerge with a substantive win for his party and the respect of his caucus.
And there were other serious conservatives on top of their game this week. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) kept the pressure up on the budget, showed some daring on Libya (calling on the president to come out firmly for regime change) and was entitled to take some credit for the Colombia Free Trade deal (after bird-dogging the White House on the issue).
You will notice that all of these conservatives maintained measured rhetoric and focused on real, not imaginary, issues. They never made the policy issues about them.
In short, Beck is out of fashion in a time of increasingly mature conservative leadership. Yes, there are entertaining talk show hosts who educate and encourage the conservative base (Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and Bill Bennett come to mind). They make positive contributions to the conservative movement. Beck isn’t one of these. Now is not the time for rants and conspiracy theories.
Beck gone; Ryan, Boehner and Rubio in? Now, that’s undiluted good news for the conservative movement.