Unelectable Blog - June 6-11

Is the Glenn Beck Summer Tour coming to a city near you?

Quick Links: June 6 | June 7 | June 8 | June 9 | June 10 | June 11

Video Blog... June 11

Glenn Learns to eat Lobster Legs

Glenn's Dessert: Not for the Timid

Frary is Running for Congress--Shares a Secret with Obama

Two Female Fans Talk Candidly About Glenn

Photo Blog... June 11

No joke, this was our midnight snack basket. This can't continue.

Okay, I was wrong. The 'Johns' do workout. But Bobey, are your shorts on backwards? Irony: Two guys working out while watching hamburger commercial????

Glenn broadcasting from 560 WGAN

A picture you thought you'd never see: Beck and Barack

Amy Doyle through the glass

Glenn looks possessed and Amy looks scared (rightfully so)

I'm happy to report I only eat the strawberries...well maybe two cookies too...

One of the Rare Moments when Rich gets to sit down

What is Glenn Looking at? After I took this photo I went over the same spot Glenn was in and looked up--there is nothing up there, absolutely nothing to look at!!!

Rich helping the local Boy Scout Troop Retire the Colors

Photo Blog... June 10

John Bobey listening to Karl Marx while sleeping

Glenn offering proof positive that Bobey's still on NY time--fast asleep before 1am

RESPONSE: Joe doesn't know that while in 'my alcoholic stupor' I snapped this photo of him apparently working hard at creating more drool.

- Signed John Bobey

Ice Cream for Glenn. But what are the rest of us going to eat?

Adam and John Carney: Keep you friends close and your...well you know the rest....

Glenn & Stu--they don't look too tired, do they?

Glenn & John looking at the Harrisburg Theater (why does Bobey keep his sunglasses on indoors?)

Glenn right before the sound check

Glenn right before the sound check

Rich works fulltime keeping the tour ontime and problem free; Rich with tour sponsor Angie's List sign

Wonder what's behind this door?

Not a good sign--Red Bull popping up in green room with more frequency as tour goes on

Stu and John Bobey reviewing the show with Glenn in the green room

Which one is John Carney's Foot? Who takes a picture of your foot anyway?

John Carney suggests we take a picture in light of our tempting fate. From left to right: Mr. Smiles, Mr. Tour, Mr. Beck, Me, Mr. Comedy and Mr. Sales.

Photo Blog... June 9

Glenn being animated while on air

"Are you really going to take this picture?" Glenn eating Burger King on the way to the show.

John Carney giving us the "we're good to go" sign in Oklahoma City.

Adam keeping a very careful watch on John Bobey while Rich looks on.

Glenn, what's up with these shoes?

How bad is the economy when Glenn has to wear shoes like this???

John Carney looking at his outdated iPhone while team prepares to go onstage.

Glenn & Stu and that INFERNAL COKE ZERO--Can't we Get Some Peach Fresca???

If John Bobey's the 'writer' why doesn't he ever have a pen or piece of paper in those soft hands? Glenn, Stu and John reviewing the show's notes.

Boy Scouts & Glenn

Stu and Rich doing a post show assessment

June 6-8

John Bobey's already complaining and Tour Manager Rich Bonn is already tuning him out

Adam never smiles, but does he have to frown???

Proof that Glenn does the creative writing (see the marker in his hand) while the 'writer' John Bobey appears to get an idea.

Glenn at work while John wonders how to get to his wine glass on the table.

Glenn's 'victory sign' really means the John Bobey is on his second bottle of wine within 10 hours of the tour having begun

Notice that the glass of water is full but that the cognac glass is...well, you can see for yourself.

Glenn talking about future tour plans as John Bobey falls asleep

John Carney letting us know it's show time!

Glenn meeting with local Boy Scouts after the show

Adam, Rich, John and John relaxing (why do the Johns bother running in the morning if they're going to enjoy a cigar at night?)

Glenn Struggles with Lobster Legs

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 11, 2008 (Wednesday)

6am     Walked down to the hotel gym to see if the ‘twins’ were working out.  I have to give credit where it’s due—both John Carney and John Bobey were working out on various aerobic machines.   Good job guys!

6:40am     We arrive at 560 WGAN.  What a friendly and engaging staff.  Jeff’s been great.  One of Glenn’s biggest fans in all of Portland works here Bridgette.  She has a great boss, Jeff.  I say that because Bridgette was too reserved to ask Glenn for a picture together so Jeff told Glenn earlier in that day about her.  I think that’s pretty impressive and doesn’t happen enough—employers actually thinking about their employees.

7am     Glenn wanted to answer blog questions so I pulled out two for his response and here’s the question followed by Glenn’s answer:

Q: Are those shoes Glenn was sportin' in the blog were they made to look all ragged like that - or are they JUST RAGGED?  i have jeans that looked like they were worn by farm workers for 6 months and i paid damn good money for them.... (sent by Scott from Texas)

A: I asked Glenn and he said “it’s a combination of the two” (why can’t there ever be any answers).  Glenn admitted, that much like you, he paid some good money for shoes that came frayed and slightly faded but that the present condition of the shoes represents normal wear-and-tear that a heavy man causes on daily trips to and from the local bakery.

Q: Why is Glenn eating junk food and soda on the tour?

A: To Glenn it isn’t junk food.  As for the soda, Glenn likes to think of Coke Zero as water, just a different color.

9am     Dan’s already emailed a generally summary of the major stories.  Glenn spent most of the morning ripping up about 5 newspapers looking for good stories and developing a ‘big picture’ of the news.  How he can do that while simultaneously reading stories on the internet is a true talent.

Glenn has Ken on from the morning show at 560 WGAN.  Ken’s a self-admitted liberal who can’t bring himself to vote for Obama because Obama doesn’t have the necessary experience and the White House is no place for on-the-job training.

10am   John Carney arrives and is gung-ho for the sales meeting.  I guess all that morning running gives him energy because he’s literally bouncing off the walls—or maybe it was those 8 cups of coffee.

Noon   Lunchtime!  Amy Doyle who works at CNN with Glenn has come up to see her family and the show and takes us out to lunch at a personal favorite seafood restaurant.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen lobsters so big!  I’m not a big fan of fighting with my food so I pass on the lobster but Glenn orders what looks like a 10 pound lobster.  The lobster’s so big Glenn can’t crack it open.  It’s just pathetic.

Amy feels pity and helps Glenn out.  She tells him how to get the food from the claws and tail—which Glenn does.  But when she tells him that some of the sweetest meat is in the legs Glenn goes sickly-green (see video).

I go sickly-green when I see Glenn’s version of dessert (see video)—french fries dipped in butter then smothered in ketchup.  It’s like a car accident scene.  I don’t want to look at Glenn eating this self-created caloric tsunami but I can’t look away.

4pm     We arrive at the theater and Rich has done another excellent job in show prep.  All the props are already up and the equipment has been calibrated.  He’s got one of the hardest jobs on tour and is always moving under the radar.

5:30pm     Glenn has been calling Tania most of the day.  Whenever a ‘Tania’ call is made or comes in I give Glenn an increased area of privacy by trying to leave the area.  He’s usually got a handful of people around him that need him to review paperwork, propositions or plans so I try to be sensitive to these moments and give him some privacy.  Glenn tells me that Tania is reading the blog (wow, is Glenn going to be in some hot water (no lobster pun intended) when Tania sees the video of Glenn’s french fry dessert—I wish I could listen to that call!).

(This reminds me—the weather here has been great—and Glenn has done everything he can to get outside just to enjoy the sun—even if that’s re-arranging the chair he sits in to be closer to a window).

7pm     I take my first video ‘interview’ for the blog.  It’s a local man running for Congress who shares one interesting nasty habit with Barack Obama (see video).  I can see that people are wondering what it is I’m doing—if I knew I’d tell them, but I’m faking the whole thing.  I take a few more video interviews.

7:30     The show starts and Glenn is on his game.  The show runs about 10 minutes longer than any prior show.  He’s just ad-libbing because of the flow of the show.  It’s the funniest show I’ve been to.  I don’t have to, but I watch each show from the same seats the audience sits in.  It really is like watching a new show each time.

10:30   We board the plane.  It’s great—finally an opportunity to get to bed early.  The team watches the video interviews and gives lots of good pointers (I do a lot of head-nodding and ‘that sounds good’ but I won’t change anything—I mean it’s my blog, right?).

11:50   We arrive at the hotel.  Prior to our arrival we dropped off John Bobey, John Carney and Rich at a local BBQ joint everyone raves about.  My plans for an early night sleep are quickly dashed as I am experiencing ‘technical difficulties’ uploading the videos to the website.

1:15am   Still awake and only two videos uploaded.  I’m going to bite the bullet and upload the other videos—I think you guys will like them!  Let me know if it was worth the lost sleep!  (joe@glennbeck.com)

Slurpees for Breakfast, Missing Script Pages and Glenn’s Biggest Regret

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 10, 2008 (Tuesday)

Sometime in the very early hours of the morning we land in Harrisburg. Glenn tells us that he’s finished the manuscript—like that was a good thing. He should have slept on the plane. WHP was there to meet us at the airport. What a great staff. Holly was terrific! Outside of Glenn I’ve never met anyone with so much energy so early in the morning.

3:30AM On the ride over to the hotel Glenn started talking about the Insider Convention which is scheduled for Saturday in Akron, OH. He tells those who are still awake but half-asleep that he can’t wait to meet the fans as he doesn’t get to do that as often as he used to. He really wants to call Carolyn who’s heading up the Insider Convention until he’s reminded that calling Carolyn at 3:30 IN THE MORNING would be totally unfair to Carolyn and her family. I can’t believe that he was really considering giving her a call.

Finally arrived at the hotel and tried calling from my room to set my wake-up call at 6am. The phone doesn’t work, I’m so tired I really don’t feel like going downstairs to tell the front desk to manually set the wake-up call but there’s no other choice.

7am Glenn, Stu, Adam and I meet to go over to the WHP studios. No one in the car is really talking except for Glenn. Stu and Glenn start the morning with a soda while Adam drinks his morning coffee. Everyone is operating on about 3 hours sleep. I’ll be interested to see how this turns out.

I make it a point to go by the hotel gym to independently confirm if John Carney and John Bobey actually are working out at 6am like they’ve both been claiming. The gym is empty and the overhead lights are still off.

7:30 We arrive at the studio and Glenn and Stu dive into the news. It’s really something to see. They cover a lot of ground but also spend lots of time on specific stories. They spend 30 minutes talking about how Congress has a system of restaurants reserved for our Senators and House members—it captures what’s wrong with our political leadership and sends a clear message that politicians should not be put in charge of our health care system.

WHP provides breakfast and there are these really cool icy fruit flavored drinks. Glenn says since ‘fruit’ is in the title it must be healthy.

9am During the radio show Glenn was presented with a giant tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream from a local dairy. Fans are like having family in every city.

2pm Returned to the hotel exhausted. I made the mistake of telling myself I would just close my eyes for a minute or two and immediately fell asleep.

3pm We all head over to the theater which looks great; it’s part of the state capitol system and is very ornate. Glenn says this is the only ‘green room’ that is actually painted green and that no other backstage green room is green; so I guess the politicians got this one right. Glenn reminds me that by painting the green room green, which it NEVER IS, they actually got it wrong. So their perfect record remains.

3:45 Stu and John Bobey offer their advice as to how the show can be improved. Glenn’s in a joking mood and they’re making small incremental progress in getting him to settle down and listen; he wants to play. While they’re being serious Glenn asks me what it would sound like if his introduction were said in German. I can’t tell if he’s serious or not—turns out he is. I still have no idea what prompted the question but I’m getting used to that.

5pm I meet some family members for dinner. While I’m away from the theater apparently John Bobey lost two pages of the script from ‘binkey’. John Bobey blames the hotel staff for the missing pages. Just like a liberal. Blame it on the little people.

6:30 I finish up my off-site dinner and head back to the theater. I don’t realize it but Stu had called three times trying to reach me on my cell phone to have me pull some research from my computer to reconstruct the missing pages. I later learn that John Bobey tells Glenn he can re-construct the two missing pages from memory but the attempt failed miserably as John jotted down jokes that (1) weren’t funny and (2) Glenn didn’t recognize. They were the jokes John wrote for the first script that Glenn didn’t use. What makes him think that those jokes will be funnier now? At this point I almost begin to feel pity for John. He is like some Willy Lohman character except from some snotty book that only John Bobey and Dennis Miller would know.

7:20 I come back to the theater and am met by Adam who quickly breaks down the situation: Glenn goes on stage in less than 10 minutes and still needs the outline of the two missing pages. I work with John Bobey in re-writing the two missing pages. Glenn isn’t nervous or upset about the missing pages—he knows what he’s going to say already—I think he has the speech memorized—but ‘binkey’ is an onstage failsafe.

7:30 Glenn walks out on stage with all of ‘binkeys’ pages tucked inside. This is a ‘hot’ audience. They are excited and are on their feet. Glenn feeds off of that type of energy so this is going to be a great show! In football, some say that the crowd acts as the 12th man—I think it’s that way for Glenn—he pulls energy from the crowd and I think it enhances his onstage performance.

He doesn’t disappoint. He leaves the prepared remarks on several occasions. It all flows.

10pm We’re on the road to the airport. Glenn’s talking to Tania—it’s the first call he makes after every show. After the call he pulls up photos of his children on his phone and just looks at them. He really misses them and maybe that’s why he stays so busy when he’s on the road—when he slows down I think the impact of the time away hits him harder (no psychological training here—but I did promise to bring you my thoughts—and that’s all it is).

10:10 Adam advises a storm is approaching and will likely impact our flight path. When we arrive at the airport we’re told there will be a thirty-minute take off delay due to the storm. Glenn suggests we each list our ‘biggest regret’ on the blog in case we don’t make it. Most of feel it’s like tempting fate but make the list anyway:

Biggest Regrets

Glenn’s biggest regret is that he “wasn’t depressing enough on the air.”

Adam reveals that his biggest regret was that unfortunate ‘accident’ in his senior year of high school.

John Bobey announces that his biggest regret is “burning bridges at the Letterman Show from 1996-1999” which contributed to where he is today.

Rich says his biggest regret is that he won’t be able to prove the ‘nay-sayers’ wrong on the Christmas Sweater which is going to be a huge success.

John Carney tells us that his biggest regret is the thousands of dollars spent on film school.

My biggest regret, I’m not going to be around to see monkeys and possibly other livestock testify in court.

11:05 John Bobey has vomited twice and we haven’t left the ground. We board the plane and there’s a lot of nervous laughter, tacit recognition that we tempted fate. The pilot tells us it’s going to be a ‘bumpy ride’. Lots of white knuckles as we prepare to take off.

Bad Shoes, First Swearword and Stu’s Visit

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 9, 2008 (Monday)

6am I can’t believe the shoes Glenn’s wearing! No laces, beat-up and torn. He does know we’re scheduled to meet with the local program director and sales team doesn’t he? I had to take a picture. Maybe the economy really is tanking??!!?

I met Glenn and Adam in the hotel lobby and he is half way through the novel he started last night. He still won’t tell what it is but he says it’s great. It must be dark, I can see that he is “living with it”. It seems to strike a chord close to home. We drove over to the local radio station, KTOK. I used to think that Glenn probably showed-up around 8:30am for his 9am show, looked at a few stories with Stu and then went on-air. That’s not the case. Show prep really never ends because no matter what Glenn’s doing if he sees or reads something he’ll make a note to follow-up with it on air.

Glenn, Stu and Dan talk on the phone and begin prepping for the show. They compare notes and stories and the general outline of what’s going to be happening on-air in about 2 hours. During that time, he also does an on-air interview and comment with Pat Gray in Houston they focus on the border. He also does an interview with the local stations here about the show.

9am The radio show starts and even though it’s radio and you can’t see Glenn (not even the insiders today since he’s in Oklahoma City) he does get very animated when talking to callers. His facial expressions change and his arms gesticulate up, down, left, right all depending on what he’s talking about.

During the commercial breaks Glenn reads emails from people who watched the Atlanta show as well as the insider blog. He enjoys the feedback, positive and negative.

It’s also interesting to see that there are really two shows going on from 9-12. In addition to speaking on the public airwaves, during the breaks, he’s also speaking or blogging to the insiders.

12pm It’s noon and still no sign of John Bobey. I’m worried since the last time I saw him was late last night and he was still drinking. He says he doesn’t need to eat, just drinking is enough for him to get by I guess.

12:30 John Carney’s scheduled a meeting with Glenn and the KTOK sales staff. John Carney works a lot behind the scenes by meeting with local radio sales people across the country. After the meeting I see Glenn turn down a sandwich and chips. I think that’s the first offer of food he’s declined since the tour began.

1:30 Glenn has a phone conference with Liz who runs Fusion Magazine. They are going over the questions Glenn wants to ask Ramos and Compean. This will be the first interview they have given in prison. He is trying to figure out how to coordinate the schedules so Glenn can fly into Ohio and Arizona to meet with each of them. He also would like the prison to allow Glenn to see solitary confinement where they are living. I know that he always says he’s not a journalist, but it never ceases to amaze me about how many facts and sources he wants to prepare him to be ready for anything he may stumble into.

2:45 He’s reading again. It looks like he’s got about 100 pages left. Next tour, I’m going to ask Adam to make sure he doesn’t bring any other reading materials. He can’t help himself—he’s just got to read.

3:05 It’s odd, 6 guys on tour and we all think about our weight—I’m thinking about my weight gain as Glenn, Adam and I walk into Burger King for lunch. I tell Glenn I’m gaining weight on this tour—he tells me to stop eating fast food. I tell him there’s no time for anything else.

I remember John Bobey and John Carney telling me they run every morning. I still haven’t seen a pair of running shoes on either of them and I’m convinced that they haven’t seen the inside of a gym since elementary school.

5pm Glenn reads an email out loud (only portions of it) that he just got from Tania. She told Glenn that she just read my blog and that he shouldn’t be reading books or manuscripts and should be sleeping when he can. Despite his request I tell him I won’t edit my blog to make him look good or that he’s getting more sleep. (Tania thanks for reading the blog!!!).

5:25 John Carney just uttered the first swearword I have heard on tour. I mark the milestone by telling John what he’s done, it’s followed by the second swearword of the tour.

5:43 Glenn and John Bobey (first time I saw him today) are talking about the NRA and guns. Surprisingly, John tells us that he actually went hunting when he was 14 and he remembers it being a ‘visceral’ experience. He admits that he’s only 50% sure he’s used that word correctly. Glenn’s telling him about King George. John asks, “don’t guns scare you?” John confesses he’s be horrified to gut a deer but enjoys a good burger. Irony is in there somewhere. John tells us that a ‘hammer’ was the only weapon in the house.

5:51 Rich is busy getting ready with the final touches for tonight. Out of the blue he tells us that the NYPD recovered a stolen watch of his—after announcing this he gets up and walks out of the green room. I think that maybe he had an A.D.D. experience.

6:05 Glenn is juggling a visit from friends that are in the air force and two other meetings. They now are stationed here in Oklahoma. He hasn’t seen them for quite sometime. The others are with clients of the station and someone that ‘insider’ information on the border. Glenn has been waiting to meet this person for quite some time, I wonder how this will influence the Ramos and Compean meeting.

6:18 Third swearword of the show, this one uttered by John Bobey.

6:19 Rich shouts out “fudgeknucker”; team substitute swearword coined by Fusion’s manager, Liz. I’m wondering if it’s a substitute swearword if it still constitutes swearing when said.

7:20 Stu arrives from New York. It was a bit awkward to watch how giddy Glenn and Stu got when they talked about how much carbon Stu used flying out to see the show—the same show he’s going to see tomorrow in Harrisburg.

Stu’s looking refreshed and full of energy. His being here is going to be a big help for Glenn and the tour team. The audience doesn’t know it but the plan is to have Stu make a stage appearance. It’s really amazing—within minutes of having arrived there was a discussion about whether Stu or John Bobey should introduce Glenn for the second half of the show. What struck me was that Stu was ready to go if he needed to—I mean the guy literally just walked into the building—and they’re talking about having him walk out in front of thousands of people—and it would have been the easiest thing in the world for him!

During intermission I learn from Adam that one of the city’s police officers who was working security told Adam that the next time Glenn’s tour comes to town she’s not going to work but come as an audience member. That will mean a lot to Glenn.

10:54 The show was different than last night but very good. Each audience responds differently which makes each show differently. We’ve checked out of the hotel. Tomorrow we do the show in Harrisburg and it’s going to be a late night.

Tonight we all had time to watch the Boy Scouts fold the flag. All of us watched as the Scouts properly folded the flag. Even John Bobey didn’t talk as the flag was folded with respect and reverence.

11pm Rich has done a great job—he continually reminds us of that—even now. But you’ve got to give credit where it’s due: great job Glenn! Really, I don’t know how Rich pulls it all together—7 cities in 8 days, you really don’t appreciate what that takes until you do the journey.

After the show I usually head back to the green room. Tonight I walked out on stage to watch the audience leave and to see if they were excited about the show. It struck me how many people remained in their seats just talking to each other. There wasn’t a massive rush for the exits. I thought that said something about the show—and the people who came out. Thank you Oklahoma City.


June 8, 2008 (Sunday)

9am - Glenn attended church today. He found a local congregation and went. Later on I learned that somewhere between the midnight cheesecake and the 9am church service he found time to finish the last 30 pages of “The Host.” I really think it’s a sickness. The man doesn’t sleep.

1pm - It’s day three of the tour and we’re all tired. On the plane ride to Oklahoma City I looked around the plane and noticed that everyone was sleeping except for Glenn. He’ was awake reading from some local newspapers. I should add that Adam can sleep with his eyes open—so I don’t know if he was or wasn’t actually sleeping—but I’d bet he wasn’t.

When we arrived at the hotel, half of the team was picked-up by taxi and went out for another steak and wine dinner (Bobey went with that group). Glenn wanted something more low key, and in his own words, ‘something real’, so he walked with Adam to the Cracker Barrel. I thought it was really ‘cool’ that he would walk rather than hop in a taxi. I guess when a lot of your day is planned out to the minute. When you have the freedom to just walk out in the fresh air and eat where you want to, that you take advantage of that.

I noticed Glenn’s mood changed in the afternoon. He seemed a bit down. It’s day three of the tour and I think he misses Tania and the kids. Glenn doesn’t do job related work on Sunday. He tries to use this time to talk to his wife and kids and I think talking to them today reinforced how much he misses them. But that’s me just being a non-degreed psychologist.

10:30pm - I just left Glenn’s room. One of his favorite authors just sent him an unfinished manuscript to read (I can’t tell you who it is or what it is) and he’s already 40 pages into it. I have a feeling it’s going to be another long night.

11pm - I caught up with the group. They were outside relaxing. It’s the first time in three days I’ve seen them just kicking back having a nice drink.


June 7, 2007 (Saturday)

7am - I go up to Glenn’s room bright and early—Glenn’s awake but not working on tour related materials. Instead I see him reading “The Host” by Stephanie Meyers. He tells me that he stayed up until about 3:30 am reading the book and he only has 30 pages to go. I tell him he’s ‘nuts’ and that we’ve got 8 more days of being on tour and he shouldn’t be staying up that late reading anything.

Glenn pulls out his handwritten notes and begins to review them. I learn from Adam that John Bobey has been calling wanting to know when Glenn will need his help writing the final script for the show. I’m puzzled by this because I’m now looking at Glenn who is reading the final script which Glenn also wrote out by hand. I’m confused because John Bobey is on tour because he was going to help write the script that’s already been prepared. I don’t try to figure that one out.

Even after we arrive at the theater I see Glenn making changes to his prepared remarks. He’s also out on stage watching the pre-show preparations. He checks several of the props and even checks the tautness of a hanging American flag. As show time approaches Glenn gets into a zone. The backstage green room has people coming in and out. There’s a lot of talking going on but Glenn doesn’t see or hear any of it. He’s in his zone. With 10 minutes until he goes out on stage Glenn’s still making changes to the script. How will he remember all this?

The show was great. I don’t know why he spends time working on the ‘speech’ at all. There is so much he adds to it while talking and parts that he just skips over. He told me that he just gets a feel from the audience and tries to move in that direction. That’s why even on this tour I expect that each performance will be different because the audience in each city will be different.

10pm - People are packing up. John Carney, Glenn’s sales manager has scheduled an after show meeting with some local business owners and Glenn. Glenn interrupts that meeting to shake the hands of several Boy Scouts from a local troop who volunteered their time to see that the American flag was properly folded prior to it being stored. I was impressed that plans were made to make sure that the flag was properly cared for even after the curtain came down and people left. I don’t know whose ideas this was—but I’m grateful that it was done.

11:00pm - We seem to be lost on our way back to the hotel. There’s a lot of construction and our van driver’s GPS isn’t factoring in all the detours. Glenn’s talking to Raphe who apparently is having a sleepless night. Glenn is being a long distance father tonight and I see that it weighs on him. I get the impression that no one in the Beck household sleeps well when they’re apart.

11:30pm - We come back to the hotel order cheesecake and Coke Zero and get ready to fly to Oklahoma City. Some of the group goes back to the Jazz Bar. It’s only day two and I’ve given up trying to keep track of Bobey’s drinks.


June 6, 2008 (Friday)

1pm - We met at the airport—and despite Adam telling everyone to be one time—John Bobey arrived 10 minutes late--I saw Adam make a mental note of the tardiness and I am concerned about John’s fate if he’s late again. Adam keeps things on time.

I thought the airtime was going to be spent working on the show but Glenn wanted to catch up with people that he sees and talks to everyday but is never really able to really have a discussion with given his schedule.

Within an hour of being airborne John Bobey was drinking his first glass of wine. I don’t know if he’s afraid of flying or just like’s the taste of red wine at 40,000 feet. But he gulped it down. He has at least two more glasses before our short flight is over.

We arrive in Atlanta—a great city but humid and hot like all get out. Our hotel rooms are nice, but nothing fancy—Adam’s air conditioner isn’t working—but it’s no big deal to him as he’s slept out in the woods without a tent in the summer voluntarily! To him the heat and humidity are no big deal.

We make plans for dinner and Glenn asks that I bring ‘binkey’—that’s what everyone calls the binder that holds Glenn’s notes and outline for the show. I don’t say anything to Glenn but I’m glad that binkey is coming along because I’m concerned about tomorrow’s show as we haven’t really gone over it in any detail.

Dinner is at a nice steak place. No vegetarians in this bunch and it’s steaks around the table. This is where it starts to get surreal and my first glimpse into how Glenn’s mind works. There are 5 of us sitting around the table when Glenn starts talking about the tour and his plans—except that he’s not talking about the show he’ll be doing tomorrow night—he’s talking about his Christmas 2008 Tour; Rich (tour manager) suggests that maybe we talk about THIS tour, Glenn says okay but then starts talking about possible tour ideas for 2009! I think this is his A.D.D. and I’m beginning to realize why John Bobey and Rich order a second bottle of wine.

After about an hour Glenn begins to talk about THIS tour. He also opens a file that he brought which I notice contains a bunch of papers in Glenn’s handwriting. It dawned on me then that I was the only one worried about his show prep because this was my first time on tour—he had already written it out—had already walked through it in his mind.

I wondered why it was handwritten and not typed but I’ll have to ask him later.

9pm - We’re about to order dessert and I notice that everyone’s eaten except for Glenn—he didn’t touch his plate of food and it’s going back to the kitchen the same way it came out to the table.

John Bobey had two more glasses of wine and a little short glass of cognac. I don’t know where all the alcohol goes.

10:30pm - Some of the group goes out to a small jazz club. John Bobey and John Carney go—but both say they’ll be getting up early to work out in the hotels gym—I’m betting against that.

The rest of us go back to the hotel and Glenn spreads his ‘unelectable speech’ and notes all over his bed—it looks like total chaos but he seems to know where all the important papers are. We stay up until about 1 am before Glenn tells us to go to bed.

Joe Kerry

Joe Kerry Blog: On Tour with Glenn Beck

Have you ever wondered what it must be like to travel on tour with Glenn? Or want to peak behind the curtain to see what happens offstage? Have you ever asked yourself if ‘on-air’ Glenn Beck is the same person when he’s ‘off-air’? I hope to answer these and other questions this week while I’m on tour with Glenn and his team.

I’m a recent addition to Glenn’s crew and it might sound backwards, but I knew Glenn even before I was a fan of the show. Long time fans will remember Glenn calling my cell phone and pulling me out of the courtroom with some pressing legal question which ranged from whether he would be able to sue candy cigarette makers to what the legal definition of ‘entrapment’ was. After four years of unscheduled and impromptu phone calls, Glenn was able to convince his general manager, Chris Balfe, to hire me fulltime.

Now, I see firsthand how Glenn and his team produce his radio, television, tour, magazine, newsletter, and books. With everything he does it always seemed like Glenn was given 37 hours a day while the rest of us lived on a 24 hour clock. How does he do it all?

I hope with this blog I’ll be able to provide some good behind the scene photos and insights to answer these questions—and questions that you may have. I think I have one of the best seats in the house. I’m in the plane as he travels from city to city, I’m backstage as he prepares and am in creative meetings with him and his team—so I hope this blog acts as a type of backstage pass into the tour, his team and Glenn.

(So you made it to the end. If there’s something you’d like to see discussed or have a question about the show let me know: joe@glennbeck.com).

As we move along this endless primary season, we implement our first major adjustments to our power rankings model. Because of all the changes on the model itself, we'll keep the write ups short this week so that we can get an update posted before we hit the second round of debates.

There are now 40 separate measures of candidate performance which are summarized by the 0-100 score that helps us makes sense out of this chaos.We also have a new style of graphs, where the section highlighted in blue will show the progress (or lack thereof) made by each candidate over the life of their campaign.

In this update, we have our first campaign obituary, a couple of brand new candidates (when will it ever stop) and plenty of movement up top.

Let's get to it.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes. The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground. If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

Campaign Obituary #1

The Eric Swalwell Campaign

California State Congressman

April 8, 2019 - July 8, 2019

Lifetime high: 20.2

Lifetime low: 19.5

I ended my initial profile on Eric Swalwell with this:

"There's a certain brand of presidential candidate that isn't really running for president. That's Eric Swalwell."

amp only placement

It's now more true than ever that Swalwell isn't running for president, because he has officially dropped out of the race.

To any sane observer, Swalwell never had a chance to win the nomination. This was always about raising his profile with little downside to deter him from taking money and building a list of future donors.

In one of many depressing moments in his FiveThirtyEight exit interview, he noted that one of his supporters told him he definitely thought he'd eventually be president, but it wasn't going to happen this time. (This supporter was not identified, but we can logically assume they also have the last name Swalwell.)

Swalwell did outline a series of reasons he thought his ridiculous campaign might have a chance.

  1. He was born in Iowa. After all, people from Iowa will surely vote for someone born in Iowa, even if they escaped as soon as possible.
  2. He had what he believed was a signature issue: pretending there was no such amendment as the second amendment.)
  3. He's not old.

It was on point number three where Swalwell made his last stand. In an uncomfortably obvious attempt to capture a viral moment that would launch his fundraising and polling status, Swalwell went after Joe Biden directly.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden." This pre-meditated and under-medicated attack, along with Swalwell's entire campaign future, was disassembled by a facial gesture.

Biden's response wasn't an intimidation, anger, or a laugh. It was a giant smile that somehow successfully communicated a grandfathery dismissal of "isn't that just adorable."

Of course, headlines like this didn't help either:

Eric Swalwell is going to keep comparing the Democratic field to 'The Avengers' until someone claps

The campaign of Eric Swalwell was pronounced dead at the age of 91 days.

Other headlines:

Eric Swalwell ends White House bid, citing low polling, fundraising

Republicans troll Swalwell for ending presidential campaign

Eric Swalwell Latest 'Cringe' Video Brags About Omar Holding his 'White' Baby

Eric Swalwell's message to actor Danny Glover is 'the cringiest thing I've ever seen in a hearing'

Eric Swalwell's 'I Will Be Bold Without The Bull' Bombs

25. Joe Sestak 11.0 (Debut) Former Pennsylvania State Congressman

Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who served in Congress for a couple of years in the late 2000s. Besides his military service, his most notable achievement is figuring out a way to get Pat Toomey elected in a purple state.

With Arlen Specter finally formalizing his flip from Republican to Democrat in 2009, he was expected to cruise to reelection. However, Sestak went after him in the primary, and was able to knock him off in the by eight points. Sestak then advanced to face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He lost by two points during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Needless to say, losing to the former president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth isn't exactly an accomplishment that is going to help Sestak in the Democratic presidential primary.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the party— his distinguished service in the Navy probably isn't helpful either.

Other headlines:

Joe Sestak on the issues, in under 500 words

Joe Sestak, latest 2020 candidate, says it's not too late for him to gain traction

Sestak aims to 'heal the soul of America' with presidential bid

Joe Sestak Would Move the US Embassy 'Back Out of Jerusalem'

24. Mike Gravel: 12.5 (Previous: 24th / 15.3) Former US Senator from Alaska


Gravel was able to get celebrities and other candidates to send out pleas to raise funds in effort to get above 65,000 donations and qualify for the second debate.

We may never know if it was grift or incompetence, but Gravel probably should have known that crossing this line made no difference. He'll still be yelling at the TV when the debate starts.

Other headlines:

Gravel meets donor threshold to qualify for Democratic primary debate

Gravel spends a bit of cash to run an ad against Joe Biden in Iowa

Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature

Mike Gravel Is the Anti–Joe Biden

23. Wayne Messam: 12.7 (Previous: 23rd / 15.8) Mayor of Miramar, FL


Messam has made no impact in this race so far, and has fundraising numbers that don't even get into the six digits, let alone seven. He's not really running a campaign at this point, so there's no real downside in staying in for now.

Other headlines:

Wayne Messam: Money Kept Me Out of the First Democratic Debate. Will It Keep Me Out of the Second?

22. Seth Moulton 17.2 (Previous 20th / 21.5) US Rep. from Massachusetts 


Seth Moulton is the invisible man on the campaign trail. Most people don't even know who he is when they're talking to him. His appeal to the Democratic party is heavily flavored with his military service and appeal to patriotism.

Good luck with that Seth.

Other headlines:

Moulton: Buttigieg Was a Nerd at Harvard

Moulton: Democrats shouldn't go on 'moral crusade' against Trump

Moulton talks reclaiming patriotism from Trump, Republicans

Moulton: 'Trump is going to be harder to beat than many Democrats like to believe'

Presidential candidates hear challengers' footsteps at home

21. Tim Ryan 18.4 (Previous: 18th / 24.3) US Rep. from Ohio


Tim Ryan's first debate performance was so bad he lost about a quarter of his score with this update. He's not without a plan to get that support back though. He wants to bring hot yoga to the people.

Other headlines:

Tim Ryan on CNN: Trump 'clearly has it out for immigrants'

Ryan Falls Way Behind in Q2 Fundraising Race, New Poll

20. Marianne Williamson 20.7 (Previous: 21st / 20.6) Author, Lecturer, Activist


Williamson is not going to be the nominee for the Democrats, but if you throw a debate watch party, she might supply the most entertainment. So much so, Republicans have started to donate to her campaign to keep her in future debates.

Other headlines:

"I call her a modern-day prophet": Marianne Williamson's followers want you to give her a chance

Williamson Uses Anime to Explain 2020 Candidate's Holistic Politics

What Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump have in common

Marianne Williamson's Iowa director joins John Delaney's 2020 campaign

19. John Hickenlooper 22.5  (Previous: 11th / 32.0) Former Gov. of Colorado 


Hickenlooper has been shedding campaign advisors at a relatively furious pace as he admits "there's just a bunch of skills that don't come naturally to me" when it comes to campaigning.

Probably best to pick another line of work.

Other headlines:

Hickenlooper defends campaign fundraising to The Onion: 'The race is wide open'

WP: 'You are who?' The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper

Gary Hart Warns John Hickenlooper Against Campaigning On Bipartisanship Message

Hickenlooper refuses to condemn protesters who hoisted Mexican flag at ICE facility

18. Michael Bennet 27.4 (Previous: 14th / 28.8) US Senator from Colorado


Michael Bennet is a bit of a boring no name, but give him credit for actually trying to differentiate himself from the field. He's one of the only candidates willing to criticize his socialist opponents from the center, calling out the open borders crowd and student debt. Obviously this has no chance of success in the democratic party, but at least he's trying.

Other headlines:

George Will touts Bennet to beat Trump in 2020

Bennet: America doesn't know what the Democratic Party stands for

17. Steve Bullock 28.3 (Previous: 16th / 27.7) Gov. of  Montana 


Bullock's biggest moment of his campaign, and quite possibly his only important moment , will come in this round of debates. He missed the first round, but squeaks in for round two after Eric Swalwell decided to take his zero percent and go home.

Bullock has a theoretical argument that doesn't look half bad on paper, but it seems impossible for another "moderate*" to make noise with Biden still hanging around.

(*-None of these moderates are actually moderate.)

Other headlines:

For Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's all about the 'dark money'

Steve Bullock hates 'dark money.' But a lobbyist for 'dark money' donors is helping his campaign.

Steve Bullock looking to introduce himself as someone who won in Trump country

Bullock said he's not one to eliminate all student-loan debt

Steve Bullock raises $2 million for 2020 bid in second quarter, campaign says

Lowering of state flag at capitol draws criticism

15. John Delaney 29.5 (Previous 19th / 20.3) Former US Rep. from Maryland 


The power ranking model likes Delaney more than voters seem to like him. He continues to pour his own money into the race and at some point you have to believe someone in his life stops him from setting his cash on fire.

He did steal a key advisor from Marianne Williamson's campaign, which doesn't seem like a path to success.

Other headlines:

Delaney: "Non-Citizens Are Not Covered By My 'Better Care' Plan, But…"

Delaney says he opposes decriminalizing border crossings

Undaunted by low polling, John Delaney keeps his show on the road

Delaney presidential campaign theme: fix what's broken, keep what works

14. Andrew Yang 30.0 (Previous: 15th / 28.3) Attorney and Entrepreneur 


Before the campaign started, if you would have said Yang would be in the middle of the pack at this point, he probably would be happy with that result. His embrace of quirky issues like banning robocalls, giving everyone free cash, and spending $6 billion to fix the nations malls is enough to keep him in the news.

His fundraising was decent, and he remains an interesting and thoughtful candidate. But, Yang has a better chance of dropping out and running on a third party ticket than winning in this Democratic Party.

You do have to wonder how long it will be before the word "Math" moves from his campaign slogan to the reason he needs to drop out.

Other headlines:

Andrew Yang Is Targeting The 'Politically Disengaged' To 'Win The Whole Election'

You can't turn truck drivers into coders, Andrew Yang says of job retraining

Yang's plan to give $1000 a month to everyone is popular with young, poor Democrats

13. Jay Inslee 31.4 (Previous: 12th / 30.4) Gov. of Washington state


Expect Inslee to capture the king-czar-chancellor role of the new climate police or whatever draconian nightmare the actual Democratic nominee creates if they win.

In the meantime, he should try to avoid cringe inducing nonsense like this.

Other headlines:

Presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says Trump's immigration policies will 'end his presidency'

Crowd roars for Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee follows to tepid applause

Inslee on listening to Carole King, wanting an anchor tattoo

Inslee Says He Tried to Arrest Fleeing Republicans

12. Tulsi Gabbard 33.4 (Previous: 13th / 28.8) US Rep. for Hawaii 


Tulsi Gabbard really wants to be Joe Biden's vice president. Or, at least, she wants to hold an important role in his cabinet, like Secretary of Defense.

Gabbard has been running interference for Biden, aggressively going after Kamala Harris for her very successful but substance free bussing attack, while hammering Harris as not qualified to be President. These have been among the harshest criticisms levied by any candidate in the race so far, and there is definitely a purpose to all of it. Her presence in the same debate as Biden and Harris should be something Harris prepares herself for. Expect incoming fire.

Along with Yang, Gabbard remains among the most interesting Democratic candidates to Republicans and Libertarians, which is not helpful to her chances of actually winning the Democratic party nod.

Other headlines:

Gabbard says Harris used "political ploy" to "smear" Biden on raced

Which U.S. Wars Were Justifiable? Tulsi Gabbard Names Only World War II

Tulsi Gabbard Says It's A 'Good Thing' Trump Met With Kim Jong Un

Gabbard Sympathizes With Amash, Says the Two-Party System Sucks

Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp's Uses For Just About Everything

Gabbard: '14-year-old girl hacked into a replica of Florida's election system'

11. Tom Steyer 33.5 (Debut) Billionaire hedge fund manager

Tom Steyer is a Democratic billionaire that has spent millions plastering his face all over MSNBC for the past two years begging people to consider impeaching Donald Trump.

The campaign power ranking model loves Steyer's potential because of his unlimited money and theoretical ability to put together a serious campaign team.

All of this is theory at this point though, as the millions spent so far has lead to a giant pile of zilch. If he's serious enough, he should be able to buy his way into the low single digits, and squeak his way into a debate or two.

Steyer's billionaire status isn't an obvious fit as the party of inequality attempts to take down Donald Trump. But, he does have legitimate movement credibility, tons of cash to buy support, and a long developed immunity to embarrassment—so the sky is the limit.

Other headlines:

Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer announces 2020 bid, reversing course

Why We're Not Treating Tom Steyer As A 'Major' Candidate (Yet)

Steyer banks on South Carolina in 1st presidential bid stop

10. Kirsten Gillibrand 37.1 (Previous: 9th / 36.7) US Senator from New York


There is probably no candidate that enters the second round of debates more clearly in do-or-die mode than Gillibrand. With headlines like "The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand" lighting up her feed, she needs something big to happen, and fast. Her performance in the first debate wasn't actually horrible, but still went unnoticed.

She has zero percent in lots of polls, and that includes all of the benefits she says she's received from white privilege. Imagine if she didn't have that going for her.

Other headlines:

Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Gillibrand Annoyed by Question About Immigration 'Reversal'

9. Robert Francis O’Rourke 40.7 (Previous: 6th / 52.8) Former state Rep. from Texas


The free fall continues for Betomania.

When campaigns show signs of death, reporters start to write long profiles that aim to tell the story of the demise, or launch the amazing comeback.

Politico's headline (What Beto O'Rourke's Dad Taught Him About Losing) probably wasn't all that helpful.

Beto did secure Willie Nelson's vote though, meaning he can now count on 2 votes, assuming his "Republican" mother votes for him.

Other headlines:

Welcome to America—It's a Hell Hole!

A desperate Beto O'Rourke goes for broke, claims America was founded on white supremacy

Beto O'Rourke finds 'personal connection' to slavery, argues for reparations to unite 'two Americas'

Beto boldly vows not to prosecute people for 'being a human being'Rebooto O'Rourke

Fact Checker: Has Beto O'Rourke visited the most Iowa counties? No.

Beto O'Rourke: Let's Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers

8. Amy Klobuchar 42.9 (Previous: 8th / 41.9) US Senator from Minnesota 


Klobuchar has been a massive underachiever so far, but is still sticking around in that third tier of candidates. Along with Beto, Booker, and maybe Castro— they aren't exactly eliminated, but can't seem to catch fire. Or even get warm.

Klobuchar would serve herself well to focus on the fundamentals and avoiding desperate pleas for attention if she wants to remain in the Biden VP sweepstakes. Or she could totally shake things up by throwing binders at her opponents in the debate.

Other headlines:

Klobuchar: I Don't Support Open Borders Like Warren, Castro

Deportation raids are about distracting from issues: Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar hoping 'nice' finishes first

Sports bookmakers put Klobuchar as "heavy underdog" in presidential race

7. Julian Castro 43.2 (Previous: 10th / 34.5) Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development


Castro is a good example of how overblown debates can be. His first debate performance was quite solid, but did more to sink Robert Francis O'Rourke than actually help his own candidacy.

One more good debate performance should be enough to get him into the next round of debates, as he has already passed the donor threshold. Polling, however, has been elusive. Perhaps there is a swath of America that is uncomfortable voting for a Castro for president, like say, all of south Florida?

Still, in a field of a zillion candidates that have shown no potential, he stands out as a long shot with a punchers chance to make some noise. This is reflected with a nice bump in his score for this update.

Other headlines:

Julián Castro Doubles Down On Decriminalizing Migration: Repeal Felony For Reentry, Too

Julian Castro: 'Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE'

Bill Maher rips Julián Castro for remark about abortion for trans women

Julián Castro declines to hold baby

Julián Castro can't speak Spanish

Julian Castro wants to solve homelessness by 2028

A consulting firm made specifically to prevent sexual harassment is providing Castro and other 2020 campaigns advice and training

5. Pete Buttigieg 65.8 (Previous: 2nd / 68.8) Mayor of South Bend, IN


There probably isn't a campaign that has been more bizarre than Mayor Pete. He was a complete nobody to the public, though as we initially noted, he had support from a bunch of Obama era celebrinerds.

This helped him rise to a top tier candidate with all the money and momentum to make a run at the nomination. Since then we've seen a complete fizzle. He is using the cash to build the infrastructure to make himself a serious candidate, and he should last a while, but he probably must win Iowa to have a chance at the nomination.

Also, finding one African American who will vote for him would be nice.

Other headlines:

Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter.

Buttigieg, Struggling With Black Voters, Releases Plan to Address Racial Inequities

South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments

CNN's Axelrod Rips Buttigieg: Blacks Doing Worse Under His Leadership

Only Pete Buttigieg gets standing ovation from Corn Feed audience

New Republic Drops Out Of Climate Forum Over Backlash To Pete Buttigieg Op-Ed

Pete Buttigieg says it's "almost certain" we've had gay presidents

Pete Buttigieg Sets Hollywood Fundraisers With Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler and More

4. Elizabeth Warren 70.4 (Previous: 5th / 53.4) US Senator from Massachusetts 


Looking back at my initial analysis of this field, I'd say it's played out pretty closely to what I expected. Warren has surprised me though.

In an election where beating Trump is the most important characteristic for democratic voters, she seems to be grown in a lab to lose to him. She comes across as a stern elementary school principal who would make kids terrified to be called into her office, because she'd bore them to death by reading them the handbook.

Her DNA kit roll out was so catastrophic, I assumed democrats would see that her political instincts are awful. When put under the intense pressure Trump is sure to bring, she's going to collapse, and I figured democrats would recognize that.

Instead, she's in the top tier. This rise has been legitimately impressive for Warren.

It's also a dream come true for Donald Trump.

Other headlines:

The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President

Netroots Nation was the day Elizabeth Warren became president of the American left

Elizabeth Warren pledges to decriminalize border crossings

Warren plans to increase annual refugee admissions nearly 800 percent from FY2018

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren says she'll push to end Israel's 'occupation'

Warren staffer: 'I would totally be friends with Hamas'

Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure

Elizabeth Warren Wants Reparations For Same-Sex Couples

Elizabeth Warren proposes executive orders to address race and gender pay gap

This is how Elizabeth Warren plans to close the pay gap for women of color

How much would a wealth tax really raise? Dueling economists reflect new split in Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren Brings Ad Buying In-House

Elizabeth Warren says she raised $19 million in the second quarter of the year

3. Bernie Sanders 71.1 (Previous: 3rd / 67.2) US Senator from Vermont


Sanders has fallen slowly but steadily in the polls the past couple of months, and while not every metric yet reflects it, the socialist wing seems more likely represented by Warren.

That being said, Bernie holds her off for third place. Warren and Bernie have reportedly struck a truce to not attack each other, an arrangement which benefits Warren far more than Sanders.

Bernie's machine and name recognition continues to keep him near the top of the heap, but one wonders how long that lasts as name recognition for other candidates get higher, and Iowa gets closer.

No matter if he wins or loses, he's moved the Overton window of the party in a dramatic way. And don't underestimate the appeal of his Medicare-for-all-humankind dream. Bernie may be too old and cranky to see socialized health care into the end zone, but he has advanced that ball much further than he had any right to.

Other headlines:

Bernie Sanders has 'deep sense of satisfaction' his positions are now 'centrist' among Dems

Bernie Sanders: I Will Cancel All $1.6 Trillion Of Your Student Loan Debt

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sanders: Nancy Pelosi shouldn't 'alienate' freshmen House Democrats

Why Sanders Wanted His Meeting With a Rabbi Kept Secret

Bernie Sanders Says Being the First Jewish President Would Be 'Another Barrier Broken Down'

Liberal billionaire calls Bernie Sanders a 'Communist' and 'a disaster zone'

Blackstone's Byron Wien: Markets are terrified of far-left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Antiwar candidate Bernie Sanders faces backlash over the $1.2 trillion war machine he brought to Vermont

The time Bernie Sanders ranted about baseball in a low-budget film

Bernie Sanders shows off sword Ross Perot gave him

Bernie Sanders Raises $18 Million in 3 Months, Trailing Buttigieg

2. Kamala Harris 79.2 (Previous: 4th / 65.9) US Senator from California 


Harris has given back a good chunk of her post debate bounce, which is to be expected. While she rockets to number two in the power rankings, there are a few things to worry about.

The difference between Warren and Harris is notable. The candidates are nearly tied in most polls, but much of the strength of Harris is based on one spectacular moment. Warren alternatively seems to have a lower ceiling, but a stronger foundation.

The good news for Harris is she does incredibly well among voters that are actually paying attention, while her weakness lies with those who haven't really tuned in yet.

At some point, Harris has to clean up her mess of a policy package, which includes supporting a Bernie style Medicare for All without the Bernie style middle class tax hikes-- a combination that even the left admits makes no sense.

Quotes like this still feel way too accurate, "She's the easy-to-listen-to, poorly defined identity candidate." This needs to be sorted out eventually if she's actually going to win.

Other headlines:

It's Hard To Have A Conversation With Kamala Harris When She Doesn't Even Know What She's Talking About

Kamala Harris: Immigration Raids Are 'A Crime Against Humanity', there are 'babies in cages'

Harris doubles down on criticism of Biden's busing comments on The View

Mother Jones: Kamala Harris Wants to Bring Back Busing? Really?

Kamala Harris's Call for a Return to Busing Is Bold and Politically Risky

Race is 'America's Achilles' heel,' Harris tells African-American group

Kamala Harris claims her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots, also says she's not a plan factory

Harris proposes $100 billion plan to increase minority homeownership

What's Kamala Harris's record on Israel?

Kamala Harris Called Young People "Stupid" in 2015

Kamala Harris lags behind top-tier candidates in Q2 fundraising

Utah man arrested after alleged scheme to plan fake Kamala Harris fundraiser

1. Joe Biden 80.8 (Previous: 1st / 82.3) Former US Senator from Delaware and Former Vice President


Biden's polling has mostly rebounded to his pre-debate status and he remains the favorite to be the nominee.

He can't survive too many more performances like his first debate however, and he needs to show voters that he can stand up to the heat President Trump is going to bring. In other words, don't get smoked again, fall over on your walker, or look like your dentures are going to fall out in the middle of a debate.

This is a real test for Biden's candidacy. He's had time to prepare, and he's had time to stretch the old muscles. No more excuses.

If Joe can get spry, he probably wins the nomination. But, that is far from a sure thing.

Other headlines:

NBC/WSJ poll: Biden tops 2020 Democratic field...

Joe Biden Decides He Doesn't Need to Stay Above the Fray After All

Biden campaigns as Obamacare's top defender

Biden says Democrats haven't been straightforward about 'Medicare for All'

Biden under fire for mass deportations under Obama

Biden refuses to apologize for high deportation numbers during Obama years

Joe Biden's campaign office opens in Philly with a protest, not a party

AOC: Segregationist controversy and debate performance raised question Biden could be too old for office

Are Biden's Apologies Killing His Electability Argument?

Liberal activists at Netroots Nation bet Joe Biden drops out of race

Joe and Jill Biden have made $15M since leaving White House

How Joe Biden, who called himself 'the poorest man in Congress,' became a multimillionaire

Penn Paid Joe Biden $775,000 to Expand Its "Global Outreach" … and Give Some Speeches

Biden: 'Occupation is a real problem'Joe Biden raised $21.5 million in second quarter, campaign announces

Joe Biden: I Promise To 'End The Forever Wars In Afghanistan And Middle East'

Joe Biden promises to 'cure cancer' if elected president

No, stealth Obamacare won’t fix the failed status-quo

Online Marketing/Unsplash

Another day, another proposed fix to a pressing national problem by a Democratic presidential hopeful. Former Vice President Joe Biden has positioned himself as the "moderate" leader of the Democratic Party, putting pressure on him to come up with a "sensible" alternative to Sen. Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan. But Biden's healthcare proposal, released July 15, doubles down on flawed, top-down solutions without offering any new ideas. Presidential hopefuls should instead pledge to unleash market innovation and lower healthcare prices for all.

Of course, a former vice president will inevitably find it difficult to make a clean policy break from the administration he has repeatedly hailed and defended. Biden's tenure as vice president made him into a second-tier political rockstar, and it makes sense that he's reluctant to separate himself from former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). It's also no surprise that "Bidencare" preserves Obamacare's disastrous expansion of Medicaid, the federal government's insurance program for low-income Americans. His plan even provides a public option for residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid. Perhaps more surprising, or just disappointing, is how thoroughly the Democratic orthodoxy has embraced government medical insurance even at gargantuan cost, despite little evidence that it'll work.

RELATED: Medicare for all: Obamacare was only the first step

Back when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden vigorously defended Obamacare, criticizing Republican governors for failing to expand Medicaid and predicting that all states would eventually see the light. That never quite happened (as of now, 17 states wisely refuse to expand health insurance targeted at low-income Americans). But the Obama administration tried to cajole red and purple states into expanding the Medicaid eligibility threshold "up to 138 percent of the poverty level." Nevertheless, states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina wisely considered the evidence that Medicaid was breaking the bank — without helping the poor get access to the care they needed.

This evidence isn't just based on one or two stray studies produced by the "right" think-tank. In June 2018, Health Affairs published a blockbuster analysis of 77 studies on Medicaid's effectiveness, and the results may be disappointing for fans of government-provided insurance. Around 60 percent of the studies included in the meta-analysis found that health status and quality of care failed to improve for low-income patients after Medicaid expansion. The analysis also finds that a majority (56 percent of studies) found no improvement in the financial performance of hospitals post-Medicaid expansion. This finding contradicts claims by Obama, Biden and co. that Medicaid expansion would shift patients from the emergency room to doctor's offices, lowering system-wide costs.

These findings are scandalous for an expansion program that costs federal taxpayers at least $70 billion per year. How could all of this money be failing to improve outcomes? Plausibly, the types of institutions that accept Medicaid are larger facilities that aren't as great at delivering quality health-care as smaller offices? The copious paperwork and documentation required by the program don't really allow smaller facilities the bandwidth to deal with Medicaid in an efficient manner. Yet this documentation is necessary to curb rampant fraud in the program that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment. Instead of pushing for ever-higher government spending, a President Biden could push for a streamlined Food and Drug Administration approval process for drugs and medical devices, which would keep medical costs down and give a green light to innovators everywhere. The cost to develop a single medication is now more than $2 billion, and an onerous FDA approval process costs lives by being too risk-averse.

Presidential hopefuls such as Biden should also pledge to work with states to roll-back "certificate of need" laws, which force medical institutions to jump through countless barriers to expand their facilities and invest in new services. It's not just hospitals and their patients that suffer from these needless laws; Harvard medical scholar David Grabowski sums up the evidence that these laws make nursing homes far worse and costlier than they need to be. Getting rid of these laws nationwide would give patients and consumers far more options when shopping around for the care and facilities they need.

The price problem gripping the American healthcare system simply won't go away while regulatory barriers and onerous approval processes continue to stifle the sector. Presidential hopefuls such as Biden can make a dent in this problem by supporting market reforms, instead of doubling-down on failed government healthcare.

Ross Marchand is a Young Voices contributor and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both fulfilled their goal of living to see the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, both died later that day — July 4, 1826. Adams was 90. Jefferson was 83.

Because of their failing health, Jefferson and Adams each declined many invitations to attend July 4th celebrations. Adams sent a letter to be read aloud at the 50th Independence Day celebration in his local town of Quincy, Massachusetts. He wrote that the Declaration is:

... a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

It's remarkable how well the Founders understood human nature and what could happen to the United States. It's the postmodern mindset that increasingly rules the U.S. now. It has infected our institutions and untethered us from the bedrock principles of the Declaration. In its place? Hypocritical and vitriolic partisan righteous indignation.

Less than a century after Adams' and Jefferson's deaths, the most serious attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came from America's 28th president — Woodrow Wilson. He wrote:

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence.

As if that's a bad thing.

During Wilson's career as a college professor, he thought deeply and wrote extensively of his contempt for our founding documents. His issue with them formed the core beliefs of Progressivism that are still alive today.

In 1911, before he was elected President, Wilson said in a speech:

I do not find the problems of 1911 solved in the Declaration of Independence ... It is the object of Government to make those adjustments of life which will put every man in a position to claim his normal rights as a living human being.

See what he does there? He completely inverts the Declaration — he's saying, you don't have inherent rights until government puts you in a position to claim them. That's the heart of Progressivism.

In a later speech, Wilson said:

If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface.

Wilson did not think the equality, natural rights, and consent-of-the-governed parts of the Declaration defined the proper role of government. He preferred the Declaration's list of grievances because they addressed specific problems. That's what he thought government existed to do — solve problems for people. And since people's problems change over time, so should the Constitution and government to keep up with the times.

Wilson said:

No doubt we are meant to have liberty; but each generation must form its own conception of what liberty is.

We hear this sentiment echoed all the time today: follow your heart, find your truth, etc.

Another key to Wilson's Progressive theory of government was human evolution. He thought that because humans were now more enlightened, they could be trusted not to abuse government power. The Declaration's committee of five (Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson) would've laughed Wilson out of the room.

It's hard to believe that less than 150 years after the signing of the Declaration, the U.S. president — Wilson — was saying this:

We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence: we are as free as they were to make and unmake governments. We are not here to worship men or a document. Every Fourth of July should be a time for examining our standards, our purposes, for determining afresh what principles, what forms of power we think most likely to effect our safety and happiness. That and that alone is the obligation the Declaration lays upon us.

Wilson was so effective at imposing his philosophy on government that he forever diverted the U.S. presidency away from the Constitution. Progressives have kept Wilson's torch alive ever since.

Progressives are still hostile to the Declaration of Independence because of this idea of “historical contingency" which holds that truths change over time. Progressives think the “self-evident" truths of the Declaration are outdated and may no longer apply. And that means the Constitution based on those truths may no longer apply either. Wilson and Progressives especially don't like the whole separation of powers thing, because it hinders the fast action they want out of government. They want a justice warrior president who will bring swift change by fiat.

The current trend in attacking the Declaration and Constitution is to tear down the men who wrote them. In late 2015, students at the University of Missouri and the College of William & Mary, placed notes all over the statues of Thomas Jefferson on their respective campuses. The handwritten notes labeled Jefferson things like, “racist," “rapist," “pedophile" (not sure what that one's supposed to mean), “How dare you glorify him," “I wouldn't be here if it was up to him," and “Black Lives Matter."

That is the handiwork of students who are blinded by self-righteous victimhood and can't see the value and merit that the Declaration still holds for us today. After these incidents, Annette Gordon-Reed offered a reasoned defense of Jefferson. Reed is a respected history professor at Harvard Law School, who also happens to be a black woman. She wrote:

I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal. I think Jefferson's contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story to pretend that he was not there ... The best of his ideals continue to influence and move people. The statues should be a stimulus for considering all these matters at William & Mary and the University of Missouri.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Woodrow Wilson's disdain for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln loved it. If there is one overarching theme in Lincoln's speeches, it is the Declaration. Lincoln pointed the nation back to the Declaration as a mission statement, which ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Unlike Wilson, who recommended leaving out the Preamble, Lincoln considered it the most vital part. To Lincoln, the self-evident truths were universal, timeless, and more important than the list of grievances. Lincoln wrote that these truths were:

... applicable to all men and all times ... that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

In a speech Lincoln gave in 1861, shortly after he was first elected president, he said:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence… I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.

Lincoln went on to say that he would rather be assassinated than see the nation forfeit the principles of the Declaration. His Gettysburg Address is a brilliant, concise renewal of the Declaration:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot assume that this radical idea of freedom will always be embraced by Americans. It has found hostility on our shores every step of the way. The Declaration's principles must be continually defended. Because while humans do have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, there is darkness in the world, and for some strange reason humans, while valuing freedom, also seem to have a natural bent toward tyranny. That's why we must understand and discuss the Declaration. It's not alarmist. It's not a quaint history lesson. It's a reality, right now, that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are under attack. The Founders would have undoubtedly shuddered at most of the rhetoric from last week's Democratic presidential debates. Left to its own mob devices, even America would turn its back on freedom.

Shortly before his death in 1826, 90-year-old John Adams was asked to recommend a toast that could be given in his honor on July 4th. Adams didn't hesitate. He suggested, “Independence Forever." The small group of visitors silently glanced at each other for a moment, before someone asked Adams if he'd like to add anything else. Adams shifted forward in his chair, leaned on his cane, stared intently at the men, and replied, “Not a word."

China is having its Boston Tea Party moment

Unknown Wong / Unsplash

Freedom. It usually begins as a whisper. A secret passed on between patrons at a secluded bar or private meeting. And no matter how hard the tyrants may try and stop it, no matter how many dams they throw up to try and contain it, the whispers eventually become a flood. Sometimes it takes longer to break through, but it's the same EVERY TIME. Liberty and freedom always wins. It's an unstoppable force that knows no immovable object.

For us it was exactly 243 years ago to this month that those whispers became a flood. A group of ragtag colonists took on the world's only superpower —and won. Our forefathers proved it — freedom refuses to recognize tyranny as an immovable object. The world was forever changed.

And I can't help but see the poetic justice as more whispers became a flood, defying their own immovable object, just three days before all of us were buying fireworks to celebrate our Independence Day. But this time it was just off the coast of mainland China.

Last week over a MILLION protesters filled the streets in Hong Kong. Literally a FLOOD of humans looking for one thing — freedom. They stormed the government building that is the equivalent of their Congress. They smashed windows, broke down doors, and a photo was taken that I think just might be the picture of the year.

A British colonial flag, a symbol thrown out when Hong Kong was given back to China, was draped — BY THE PROTESTORS — over the chair of their head of government. I can't restate how historic this actually is. The people of Hong Kong, with a population that is over 90 percent ethnic Han Chinese, are saying to the mainland that they prefer colonial rule over the tyranny of the Chinese government. Leftists would tell you that communism is the remedy for colonialism, but for those living in the dark shadow of communism, they actually prefer colonial rule over what they now face.

The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

When Hong Kong was given back to the mainland, China agreed to allow them a few freedoms that the rest of the Chinese don't enjoy. They're free to engage in protest against the government and they maintain a legislative body — both of which are outlawed on the mainland. But, as every tyrannical oppressor always does, China has been looking to reel that in. Most recently, China attempted to make it possible to extradite dissenters back to Beijing. The result? The quiet whispers of freedom, the secrets told in private at clandestine meetings, became a flood of millions in the streets.

On July 3rd, police began a crackdown. More than 13 people have been arrested so far. If China eventually gets their way, those 13 people will no doubt be the first of many to be extradited over to the mainland. Their crime? The dream of freedom. As of right now, the extradition law has been temporarily delayed. The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

History has shown who will win in the end. Yesterday, over 200,000 protestors gathered at the high speed train station that links mainland China to Hong Kong. The message was just as clear as the British colonial flag hung inside their legislative building. For our forefathers it was symbolized with the Gadsden Flag and the phrase “Death To Tyranny." The message is simple: “we will not be ruled. Freedom knows no immovable object."

News of the protest movement has been censored in mainland China, but how long will they be able to contain THEIR OWN whispers with over two hundred thousand freedom lovers camped out at the bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China? How long before those whispers spread to secret meeting locations in Beijing or Shanghai? How long before that cascades to the Christian and Muslim minorities that are tired of being rounded up and thrown into camps?

We might have just witnessed the Chinese version of the Boston Tea Party. July 4th is still a long way away for them, but — as it does time and time again — freedom and liberty always win in the end.