The Moment

8|28|10: Washington

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The impresario of unease, Glenn Beck has flattened out in the ratings lately. But on Aug. 28, he proved he's still rising as a catalyst, a crowd pleaser, a lightning rod, a windbag. Beck drew a large number of orderly and pious folks (as ever, bloggers argued over exactly how many) to his Restoring Honor event at the Lincoln Memorial. Having gathered them, however, he appeared not to know what to do with them. This is Beck's trademark. He's a promoter--not a planner, not a politician, not a prophet. He is surfing, not steering, the wave. Beck read from the Gettysburg Address; endorsed the Biblical virtues of faith, hope and charity; paid homage to Martin Luther King Jr.; and then sent the congregation home with only the vaguest instructions. An appearance by the Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin, was equally anodyne. Pity the poor progressives who draw such vitality from being offended by Beck. They salivated for red meat; he served them a toffee.