That Glenn Beck has attempted to hijack Tom Paine's legacy for his own purposes in the book Glenn Beck's Common Sense -- a collection of right-wing platitudes supposedly "inspired by Thomas Paine" -- is appalling. What an arrogant son-of-a-gun.
But perhaps the publication of this absurd little book is not an entirely bad thing, after all. Glenn Beck may be cunning in his scheme to co-opt the legacy of America's most radical Founding Father, but is he smart?
A renewed curiosity about Tom Paine, even if brought about by Glenn Beck, may have an effect that Mr. Beck did not anticipate. People just might take Tom off that dusty shelf and read his own words. Or venture into Meetinghouse Books and ask if we have any secondhand copies on hand of the original Common Sense.
This could happen. I'll bet it does. Or am I just being a cock-eyed optimist?