Politics & Government

Glenn Beck stunner: ‘Obama made me a better man’

Radio host Glenn Beck speaks during a Tea Party rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington.
Radio host Glenn Beck speaks during a Tea Party rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington. AP archives

You might be wondering what got into Glenn Beck’s water.

The conservative talking head who lives in Westlake appears to have undergone a political conversion, if his comments to The New Yorker are to be believed.

He tells the magazine he was mesmerized by first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign speech for Hillary Clinton recently in New Hampshire, in which she denounced Donald Trump’s lewd talk about his treatment of women. “This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable,” the first lady said then. “And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, Independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way.”

Beck called it “the most effective political speech I have heard since Ronald Reagan.”

“Those words hit me where I live,” Beck told The New Yorker. “If you’re a decent human being, those words were dead on.”

What’s more, he says he regrets calling President Obama a racist with a “deep-seated hatred of white people” in 2009, adding “He made me a better man.” And he considers himself a supporter of Black Lives Matter, although a Beck staffer later told a Huffington Post editor that Beck doesn’t support the organization.

“I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama,” he says in The New Yorker piece, titled “Glenn Beck tries out decency.”

As for the Black Lives Matter group: “There are things unique to the African-American experience that I cannot relate to,” he says. “I had to listen to them.”

Wow, you might say. This from a guy who has made a career of fomenting unrest and outrage among true believers in his fervent doomsday rants and conspiracy theories.

Beck evidently felt compelled to address his seeming conversion today on Facebook with a post that has attracted more than 1,000 comments, many of them critical, and gotten more than 200 shares as of 5:30 p.m.

This story has clearly been making the rounds.

Posted by Glenn Beck on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Beck says his encounters with Donald Trump contributed to his recent change of heart. “This guy is dangerously unhinged,” he says in The New Yorker item. “And, for all the things people have said about me over the years, I should be able to spot Dangerously Unhinged.”

Which didn’t sit well with Trump supporters:

Beck posted the USA Today take on The New Yorker piece on his own website, which begins, “Glenn Beck is suffering an existential crisis — politically speaking at least.”

Of course, not everyone is buying his newfound sensitivity.

Simon Maloy of Salon notes that Beck has been doing a lot of mea culpas lately, and says it’s nothing new. He also points out that the business side of Glenn Beck Inc., has suffered lately, as S-T columnist Bud Kennedy has previously noted.

It might seem like an opportune time for a revival.

Tom Uhler: 817-390-7832, @tomuh