Pundit Glenn Beck on 'Common Sense,' More

Radio and TV host Glenn Beck takes your questions about his new book.
Radio and TV host Glenn Beck takes your questions about his new book.
Glenn Beck
Author and Talk Show Host
Monday, June 15, 2009; 1:00 PM

Radio and television personality Glenn Beck was online Monday, June 15 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss his new book, "Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine."


Chicago: Glenn, On June 6 you said"(I)f we don't have some common sense, we're facing the destruction of our country... it's coming"

Do you really believe that the USA is facing destruction?

Glenn Beck: Yeah, I said on Sept. 11 that we should fear no outside force, the only that would destroy America is us, from the inside. I look at what's happening in Iran, and they are arquing on who is going to be a better leader in their theocracy. Both candidates were picked buy the mullahs, neither candidate can do anything without the mullahs telling them it's okay.

I think we're in the same situation here. Bill Mahr said this weekend that Barack Obama was George Bush Lite. What are we fighting over? What is the difference between these two parties? There are reasons to speak out, but tearing ourselves apart over these scraps of freedom is odd. We've stopped melting together. Our strength was that we were a melting pot.


FBI headquarters: The comment sections on your webpage are riddled with calls for revolution and violence against our current administration, does this concern you? Do you want to hurt the President? Will you condemn such sentiment?

Glenn Beck: Not only do I condemn it, if my Web master sees anything like it, we alert Secret Service. Anyone who is making threats or thinking about violence on any side of any issue is not only foolish, they will be the ones who destroy the republic. Our forefathers fought long and hard so we didn't have to. I think we need to model ourselves after Martin Luther King and Gandhi, and that's the way to retain credibility and have lasting change.

And if you point out to us on the site where it is, we'll report it.


Bucks Co., PA: If you were the President right now, how would you handle the financial crisis inherited from the previous administration?

Glenn Beck: I would first stop going to the average person and asking them to support the big corporate entities. Common sense tells you that it's unreasonable for the little guy to carry the big guy. That's the road to serfdom. If they failed, they failed.

With that being said, I understand what the pain would be to our nation to let these guys fail, but we are creating a system that is unsustainable, and we are also creating a corporate-government partnership that we are going to regret for a very long time. And it started under George Bush, not Barack Obama.

If you inherit something that's bad, you don't continue or accelerate the same policies, and that's what we've done. The only that's changed is the speed, not the direction.


Paris: Should liberals be afraid to say what they believe about the best way forward for the U.S.?

Glenn Beck: No. During the Iraq War, for anyone who cares to know the truth, I was on the air chastising people that were saying that Hollywood should shut up or that if you have a different opinion you should shut up. I was of the opinion that there's nothing wrong with vigorous debate, what George Washington called the "battlefield of opinion."

With that being said, I also wanted Hollywood to make a clear delineation of the difference between "blacklisting" and people wanting to stop watching a show. I'm not a big believer in boycotts, but I stopped watching "The West Wing," a show I loved, because I stopped seeing Martin Sheen playing a president, and saw the protester Martin Sheen.


Glenn Beck: Also -- should conservatives be afraid to voice their opinion? I've been on the air for a very long time, and under the Bush administration, I was warning them, saying to them the same I say to this president and Congress -- stop disenfranchising people and pushing them up against the wall.

When you say you're going to drain the swamp, drain it. But when you repeatedly tell people you're going to do one thing - be it Republicans who say "i'm for small government and low spending" and then come in and be for big government and big spending, you've disenfranchised me.

We have the same thing with this government -- if you say you are for transparency and ethics reform and reasonable fiscal discipline, you have to mean it.

Why is it dangerous for me to point out that people aren't going to continue to be abused by liars on both sides. It's the ultimate case of don't blame the messenger.


Anonymous: What do you think about the current crop of likely Republican presidential contenders for 2012 (e.g. Palin, Gingrich, Romney, Pawlenty, and Sanford)? Which one(s) have common sense?

Glenn Beck: I don't know yet. I haven't seen anybody yet that I totally believe. I don't know if I will. I think America has been burned too many times.

In 2000 I wasn't for George W. Bush, and then I got wrapped up in the whole political party thing, especially after 9/11, and like a lot of people I fought about it with my friend and at parties because I thought the people in Washington really believed what they were saying.

I don't believe that anymore. I don't give them the benefit of the doubt anymore. I'm waiting for them to prove otherwise.


Eugene, Ore.: Mr. Beck, over the last 20 years we have seen deregulated free market capitalism make a mess of the energy market (Enron), the financial markets, and the planet -- unmanaged natural resource harvest, global species loss, industrial toxins in our water, all at the cost of the common man or woman. Isn't regulation really a common sense approach to containing human greed?

Glenn Beck: No. Self-regulation is the common sense approach to regulating greed. What our founders called indispensable, the application of the laws of nature's God. And we have totally abandoned those things. Corporations need to know that by screwing the other guy, be it the janitor or another company, is bad long-term for the company. Polluting the rivers and skies to make a tire cheaper is ultimately bad for the company.

I started my company 7 years ago, and we're highly successful, and I built it by paying every dollar of health care for my employees, by paying them more than anyone else would, and by working hard and playing hard together. When employers treat their employees with respect, they win.

And there's been an increase in regulators the last 10 years. When you look at the banking industry, the problem wasn't a lack of regulators, it was a lack of regulators doing their job.

The government either dropped the ball, like the SEC and Bernie Madoff, or encouraged bad behavior, like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd with Freddie and Fannie.

No government is going to be able to regulate us, unless it's an oppressive government. We must regulate ourselves.


Washington, D.C.: We have seen several domestic terrorist attacks already this year (Pittsburgh cop killings, Wichita abortion doctor murder, Holocaust Museum shooting) and Shephard Smith has acknowledged an increase in vitriolic hate-filled emails to Fox News. How do you balance providing your viewpoint with making sure not to push fringe groups over the edge towards violence?

Glenn Beck: Anybody who thinks that I'm pushing fringe groups to violence should read my e-mail. The fringe groups hate my guts. The fringe groups think I'm a government stooge.

What people need to keep in mind is that some people in the fringe groups are CRAZY. If you want to target Fox News, feel free, but it's misguided.

Again, is Frank Rich responsible for the Muslim killing the service personel in Arkansas? He's talked about how bad our soldiers are?

No, he's not.

Are the New York Times responsible for ELF? They talk all the time about how bad global warming is and how "someone has to do something" and are they responsible?


The only ones responsible are the ones who pick up a gun or a torch and act in an inhuman sort of way.


Bluffton, SC: What specific alternatives to Obama's policies do you propose?

Glenn Beck: I've already given my thoughts on the bailouts. America is built on failure -- we build our success on failure. I don't understand why so many on the left who believe in Darwinism don't let it apply to a business standpoint. Let the banks' lose their tails, they need to. It's harsh and painful, but I don't think any animal lover would be walking around trying to staple tails back on monkeys as they became humans.

As for health care, the idea that my company is going to be taxed higher because I provide coverage for my employees is an insult and should tell you what direction this country is going.

We're not striving for success, we're punishing success and headed toward a world of mediocrity.

Thanks for your questions today.


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