This is a transcription of 4 minutes near the end of the 3rd hour of Glenn Beck’s radio program on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014. It is a great discussion of terms like “conservative” and how it means different things to different people.
Glenn Beck: That’s what they do. They just change the name and keep going. I’m looking for something else. You see, this is why I have a problem saying I’m conservative. I’m a conservative constitutionalists, I am a small-government conservative, because there could be conservatives who are big-government. And, Mike Huckabee is. He is for conservative traditional family values, and that is what people hear when they hear conservative.
Pat Gray: He is about family values, but he is not conservative politically.
Glenn Beck: I’m telling you that it is mislabeled as liberal used to be. Conservative has become this catch-all that means too many things to too many people. And so he can say, “I am a conservative.” That’s not clear enough anymore. It’s like, “I’m a liberal.” I know liberals that I can get along with. I can get along with liberals. I “can’t” get along with big-government progressive liberals. And so, he might be a conservative, he might not be a conservative, but the label means too many things to too many people. Conservatives, you can say, “I’m for family values, I’m for traditional Christian values, whatever, I’m a conservative. Well, but where do you stand on government and the size of government. And too many times we allow “conservative” to mean “small government.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that by the people saying it. So we have to go for that extra ounce of clarification. I see your point on conservatism.
Pat Gray: They can say they’re anything. It doesn’t mean they are, because to me, and I think to most people, conservatism means small government.
Glenn Beck: It does, but John McCain, Lindsey Graham, they all say that. But they say they are. And so, what I’m saying is, you’ve got the right definition of conservatism, you have that. But the American people do not have it, because they hear people like John McCain saying, “I’m a conservative”, and they’re like, “OK, I don’t want that, I don’t want that.” And so it makes your values, when they identify you as a conservative, it makes your values look like his. They’ve co-opted, that is what progressives do. They’ve co-opted the term. So I know nobody wants to abandon the term, but until you can re-brand it, like we have “liberal” and “progressive”, it is important. I’ve heard somebody on the air the other day, maybe it was Rush, I don’t remember who it was, but they stopped, they said “liberal” … uh “progressive”, this is a progressive. I thought to myself, “good!” There is a difference, and people are starting to see that. And, unless you can. . . They always shift change. Always. They’re shape-shifters. And they hide under rocks and labels, and they cloak themselves. So, expose them. And, at the same time, if you are defining yourself as something the rest of the country thinks is Haley Barbour, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, you’re going to lose. Because, people associate that term with them. And I know that’s wrong, but that’s the perception, and in the game of politics and P.R., perception is reality. And so the perception is, you’re Lindsey Graham, you’re John McCain. No, I’m not. How do you think we’re labeled as hate-mongers, bigots, “you’re just a Republican shill.” Because when you say you’re a conservative, so is John Boehner. And people don’t spend the time to listen. You’ve got to separate the labels. You got to separate the labels.