For several years, Beck has actively promoted "The 5000 Year Leap," by the late Cleon Skousen, on his radio and TV shows, and he recently wrote the foreword for a newly-released edition of the book, which was first published in 1981.The Salon article describes Skousen as the man who changed Glenn Beck's life. They also described him as too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era.
Who is Skousen? From the Salon article:
W. Cleon Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous editions of "The 5,000 Year Leap."Skousen was admired by leaders of the John Birch Society and spoke at their events. He also authored "more than a dozen books and pamphlets on the Red Menace, New World Order conspiracy, Christian child rearing, and Mormon end-times prophecy."
It is a body of work that does much to explain Glenn Beck's bizarre conspiratorial mash-up of recent months, which decries a new darkness at noon and finds strange symbols carefully coded in the retired lobby art of Rockefeller Center. It also suggests that the modern base of the Republican Party is headed to a very strange place.TPM added one other interesting note about Cleon Skousen: "As reader J.S. notes, Beck isn't the only conservative leader with a taste for Skousen. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed his affinity for his fellow Mormon."
Republicans and organizations like the MICOC may want to reconsider their courting of these extremists and the people who promote them. They just may come to the same decision conservatives did in 1963, when they decided Skousen's extremism was too much. "No conservative organization with any mainstream credibility wanted anything to do with him."
(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)