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Just Like Barrack Obama visiting Cuba or Venezuela, Glenn Beck was greeted by a crowd that loves what he does and what he believes in.
Politicsdaily writer covers the energy and power of the huge crowds Glenn Beck drew in his visit to Columbia, South Carolina this week.
“Can I just tell you guys something? Being here 10 minutes, it’s so great to be out of New York.”
Glenn Beck knows how to work a South Carolina crowd, but he really didn’t have to do anything but show up. Eight hundred people held passes that reserved a place in the line to meet Beck, to exchange a few words with him and to get his signature on his latest book, “Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government.” (A sample chapter: “Universal Health Care, Why a Paper Cut May Soon Be Fatal.”) Sarah Palin isn’t the only one who can draw a crowd. Click here for video of the appearance from The State.
Most of the 800 – along with the couple hundred other people estimated to pack the Books-A-Million store – carried several copies of “Idiots,” plus “An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems,” plus “The Christmas Sweater” and its companion picture book. The holidays are coming.
Beck — in blue jeans — showed up about 15 minutes later than scheduled on Thursday night to cheers, camera flashes and shouts of “thank you.” Parents brought children. Husband and wives came in matching “I Am the Mob!” T-shirts. Soldiers from nearby Fort Jackson Army training center waited in uniform.
Bodyguards hovered nearby. Young men in Beck-adorned black shirts handed out cards advertising “A Day in the Life of Glenn Beck” DVDs. As the room warmed up and the crowd cooled down using fans stamped with the Fox News star’s likeness, a sea of fluttering Glenn Becks gazed back at him.
He could not have picked a better state to kick off this nine-city book tour. “I’m with Joe Wilson” T-shirts honored the congressman who shouted “You lie” at President Obama, raising his profile and millions in campaign dollars. The state’s Revenue Department just sent out reminders of a 48-hour “Second Amendment Weekend” that begins just after midnight the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers will pay no state or local sales taxes on handguns, rifles and shotguns. April and July tea party rallies held Beck as an inspiration.
Veterans of those government-spending protests — and others held in cities across the state and in Washington, D.C. — gathered early at the bookstore, replaying highlights. Overheard conversations cursed government takeover of businesses and praised all things Beck. (“I love him. I listen to his show all the time. I love to hear about his family. I know them all.”) He may be over the top at times, some said, but “he speaks from the heart.”
Outside the store, representatives of the Campaign for Liberty, the Patriotic Resistance and Beck’s 9/12 Project passed out fliers announcing a South Carolina Rally for Freedom on Jan. 9 at the statehouse here to “demand government accountability and the protection of our Constitutional rights.”
Talbert Black, a 40-year-old software engineer from Lexington, S.C., who said he’s been involved politically for a while, explained the rally’s agenda: to demand a roll call on the legislature’s votes, “to help with transparency and accountability” and to urge the passage of a resolution reaffirming state sovereignty, limiting the power of the federal government. “Like health care, the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to do anything,” Black said. He said he doesn’t watch much television, but “I like what I’ve seen” on Beck’s show. “He’s learning, figuring out what’s going on.”
Those in the crowd were cheerful, in a party mood, yet agitated and fearful — of government, of illegal immigrants, of the America their children will inherit. The mood was very Beck-like. He both channels and ratchets up the anxiety and general discontent of those who want to “take America back.” From what? “From socialism, a communist leader. Well, maybe not communist, but leaning that way,” said Ted Coles, 51, of Greenville. Coles owns a machine shop and would appreciate more tax incentives for his small business. He and his wife, Jeanne, traveled to September’s tea party protest in Washington. “There were over a million people there,” Coles said, discounting the estimates that pegged the number much lower.
Nancy Matuszek of Columbia doesn’t belong to any of the protest groups or attend the rallies, but Beck, she said, “gives us hope that our country’s going to get back to where it used to be.”
Glenn Beck Loved in SC
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