To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Dr. Beck’s Diagnosis



I caught snippets of Dr. Glenn Beck’s chalk-talk at the CPAC convention on The Daily Show. I can stomach just so much Beck at a time and, besides that, I suffer from what he calls the disease of the nation, progressivism.

He asked the attendees if they wanted to know where he was educated and I don’t know that anyone did, but he said he educated himself at the public library, where books are free. John Stewart pointed out that public libraries were begun for the common good of the people and that most library books aren’t free, they are bought with tax money.

Beck said that the argument is that they call us Marxists and Communists, but we reply that we are not, “we are progressives.” He said the difference between the two is either “Revolution” or “Evolution” and he crossed the “L” in evolution, but that is beside the point. He said the only difference between revolution and evolution is that one is accomplished with a gun and the other is done slowly, so he prefers gunpoint.

Then he said, “After the war, after the progressives got into office with Woodrow Wilson and [then] he gives us the income tax. Roosevelt was the first to suggest universal health care. Then they decided to limit some of their choices, prohibition, so he took away the alcohol.”

Now I want to know the public library where Dr. Beck got this information because they could use a better history book. Woodrow Wilson came in after which war, Glenn? He took the oath in 1913 and the Spanish-American War was in 1898 when William McKinley was in office and then came Teddy Roosevelt and then William Howard Taft? All three were Republicans.

Alrighty, then, Wilson’s second inauguration was before we entered World War I so Glenn what war are you talking about? Wilson gave us the income tax?

In 1909, President Taft [Republian] suggested a 2% income tax. The 16th Amendment creating the income tax passed the Congress on July 12, 1909 while Taft [R] was still in office. On top of that the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress – 58-32 in the Senate and 219-172 in the House.

The 16th Amendment was ratified February 3, 1913 and Woodrow Wilson wasn’t inaugurated until March 4, 1913.

Then the progressives decided they needed to limit our choices, according to Glenn. Both candidates in the 1916 election ignored the prohibition issue. However, the make-up of both parties in Congress favored “Dry” – Democrats 140-64 and Republicans 138-62.

From what I have found the Volstead Act which put the enforcement teeth into the 18th Amendment was introduced by Sen. Andrew Volstead, R-MN. He was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. At the time of the passing the Republicans barely controlled the Senate by 48–74 and they had a 237-191 majority in the House. On July 22, 1919 the House passed the bill on a 281-100 vote and on Sept. 4 the Senate did not have a roll call vote on their version. The conference bill was passed by the Senate on Oct. 8, again without a roll call vote. The House passed it on Oct. 10, 321-70.

Strange that Glenn Beck blames Woodrow Wilson for it because he vetoed both the amendment and the Volstead Act. On Oct. 27, the House did an override by a vote of 176-55 the same day as the veto and the next day the Senate did the same thing by a 65-20 vote.

Of course, Prohibition was repealed during the Roosevelt Administration and that choice limitation was restored while Democrats were in control.

I still can’t figure out why thinking everyone should have at least a minimum of affordable health care is such an awful thing.

I have no idea when progress or moving forward became a disease, nor do I know why everyone having equal access to basic health care is communism.

If progressivism is the disease and its eradication is the goal of the GOP, then what is it that they are in favor of, the opposite of progress? I can only think of two things that fit the bill:

1. Retrogression or regression is moving backwards to what is in most cases a worse or more primitive state. In medical terms it means you should consider one of those pre-planned funerals. Webster defines it as “the act of reasoning backward.” I tend to agree there are few people more backward in the reasoning department than Glenn Beck.

2. Stagnation or standing still is the other alternative. We all know what happens when water is prevented from flowing or allowed to absorb into the ground. It gets covered with yucky stuff and then mosquitoes start hatching.

I have become very tired of hearing about all of the wonderful ideas that the GOP has to improve health care and make it more affordable and available and I wonder if they have such wonderful ideas why was it that we only heard one during the entire George W. Bush Administration.

One of my senators, Tom Coburn,  just happens to answer his congressional phone with Dr. Coburn, like I am calling for a pap smear, heaven forbid. I have nightmares about Coburn even touching me.

Isn’t it ironic that the only one of the supposed-to-be 58 bills to improve health care that was ever brought up during the entire Bush years was tort reform and my senator is a doctor? It is, in fact, the only suggestion they have bothered with for decades upon decades. Protection for doctors, but not us.

I guess if the GOP wants a retrogressive, backward reasoning troglodyte who is completely ignorant of history doing their keynote conventional chalk-talks, I guess it is their business. But until someone, anyone in the GOP explains why there are millions of U.S. citizens without affordable health insurance, then I won’t be voting for them.

By the way, I also think is it really hypocritical that all of last year House Minority Leader John Boehner was suggesting we needed a debate on health care and we needed it televised, but now giving him what he asked for is a trick or a trap. Could be because the president cleaned their clocks the last time they televised a debate with him.

Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer


  1. Though I liked Karen’s story on Beck, I was a little confused by some of her stats. For example, at present there are 100 Senators (two for each state) and 435 Congressmen (steady number with rep’s districts reapportioned every 10 years based on new census data). So when she says Republicans controlled both houses of Congress: 58-32 in the Senate; 219-172 (total 391) in the House. I guess the 44 members who were not Republican or Democrat could’ve been independents or Bull Moose Party or empty seats (doubt it) but for the purposes of committee chairmenships would the non-Republican/non-Dems have been at least aligned with one party or the other? And shouldn’t that be addressed in some way in the story? Also, in discussing the time of the Volstead Act passage, she states the Republicans barely controlled the Senate by 48-74 (122 Senators?) and 237-191 (428) in the House. I did not think territories had proportional representation before statehood, much less even two senators each. I’m not a subscriber yet though I am a reader and admirer of The Oklahoma Observer and its editors … I’ll try to find a satisfactory answer on my own and let you know when I do, so you can spend your time on something else … just don’t want to give the Beck followers anything to hang their hat on, they’re so loose with “facts” and free with hate.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.