Archive for the ‘mark levin’ tag
Loving news talk, but not having satellite radio, I purposefully subjected myself to about an hour or so of the Mark Levin Show on the way back tonight from covering something for work. Levin, as I’ve mentioned before, is one of the many current fear-mongering talking heads dubbing themselves “Constitutionalists,” and his show is aired on this new radio station in Northeast Georgia on the 103.7 dial. The radio station airs the usual cast of Levin, Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage. This is no surprise, given the location, but several months ago, I actually e-mailed the station and said something to the effect of that, while I appreciated the fact that we now had a talk radio station in Northeast Georgia, I find the content they’ve chosen to air to be disingenuous and destructive to any kind of constructive political conversation. An official with the station replied back that, as programming manager, he must strike a balance between the kind of content offered versus what is marketable. Basically, he was saying something along the lines of, “This is what is popular right now, and this is what sells and people in this region want to listen to.” While that may be true, that fact certainly doesn’t give the station any credibility as a real news source. Of course, in radio and many news outfits today, credibility isn’t the important thing, now is it?
But back to Levin. His usual shtick, in which he condemns Obama of having some sinister socialist mind and agenda, was very much evident tonight (Actually, a taped episode from Oct. 29), as in every other episode to which I have listened. Tonight, right in line with the theme of his book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, available in fine book stores everywhere, Levin seems to equate the Obama administration and everything certain Democrats and progressives are trying to accomplish as tyrannical efforts, efforts such as bolstering the effectiveness of government programs and, well, helping those who can’t help themselves.
Here is Levin from Oct. 29:
Conservatism is the only antidote to tyranny because conservatism is our founding principles (sic). Conservatism is a recognition of the value of the individual human being. That’s the bottom line. All these other models, all these other philosophies, political philosophies, they’re not about the individual human being. They’re about some centralized power where masterminds, whereas I decided to call them, stateists (?), decide what’s best and isn’t best, but I don’t care how they dress it up. Tyranny is tyranny.”
Might I remind Levin that some of the most important Founding Fathers, namely Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, would today probably have been Democrats for their belief in a strong centralized government. For what is the point of having a government at all if it’s not to be a strong one, and I think Hamilton and Madison understood this. Do we really want a weak or measly federal government? What would be the point of that? State governments surely can’t be expected to regulate international commerce, markets and provide for the common defense and welfare.
On Levin’s statement about the value of individual human beings, I couldn’t agree more, in circumstances where said individual is, indeed, capable of finding and keeping a job and engaging in entrepreneurial enterprises, but we well know that many people in our nation are not capable of exercising their supposed “value” within the job market because of disability or education or economic disparagement. So, while Levin’s theory may work with economically upright Americans, it doesn’t work with others, and indeed, it’s a slap in the face to the thousands who need help and have nowhere to turn but the government. Sure, some abuse exists within the system, but to assume that the majority seeking government help abuse the system is a heartless exaggeration. And this heartlessness is, I think, at the heart of the current wave of Tea Party, constitutionalist movement. We are not an open prairie, agricultural society anymore, and I’m not sure we ever have been, except under the clouds of slavery, indentured servitude and sharecropping. So, I’m not sure what Levin and others are trying to achieve, but it seems that the world they seek is an illusion, anachronistic and irrelevant from modern America.
This is like the Boston tea party for people that decided, let’s say, I don’t know, two and a half months ago, that they didn’t want to pay taxes anymore. The tea part is just a metaphor [on screen: a Fox News reporter pointing to boxes at one of the tea parties containing a million tea bags]. Let me get this straight. To protest wasteful spending, you bought a million tea bags. Are you protesting taxes or irony? — Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
A friend asked a couple days ago whether I was still writing about the Tea Party some, and I said I hadn’t in awhile, but hey I’m always happy to pop the cork now and then.
I think this pretty well sums up what is happening in conservative/libertarian/Constitutionalist circles around the country:
- 80% are white (with 8% not responding to the question)
- 60% are male
- 40% are college graduates
- Over a third make $75,000 or more
- 50% live in rural areas
- 77% label themselves conservative
- 96% are Republican-Independent
- 87% say they will vote Republican for U.S. House
What is slightly surprising, but not shockingly so, is that 40 percent of those polled were college graduates. Now, I didn’t expect them all to be illiterate yokels — I’ve debated with a number of folks over a reteaparty.com, and many aren’t dim bulbs by any stretch (They also don’t like the Tea Bagger label) — but I did think the number would be more in the 30 percent range. Still, 60 percent aren’t college graduates, so that says something.
Also not surprising is the fact that 66 percent of Tea Party supporters made more than $50,000 per year, while only 42 percent made that much across all people who were polled.
Of course, the rise of the movement itself is not surprising, as we have a progressive president who has taken drastic measures — some experts say not drastic enough — to attempt to right the economic ship. It has risen despite the fact that Obama has stated nearly until he’s blue in the face, that any tax increases would not affect people making less than $250,000. It has risen on the tailwinds of ridiculous charges of Nazism, socialism, fascism or Communism, terms often used interchangeably for some reason, to describe the same person or his policies by folks like Mark Levin, Michael Savage and others who often squelch any potentially meaningful political discourse into name-calling and arguments that break no new ground and just echo the tired arguments of all the others.
All of this to make the ultimate case, as I understand it, that America should get back to the Constitution and the grand ideals of the Founders. While that’s a sexy notion and helps sell books, one problem exists with that. Readers of the Constitution or “Paradise Lost” or “War and Peace” can’t drop their authors into the 21st-century and make assumptions about what they might think on topics of the day. The Founders lived in a different America, and it’s an America that will never exist again. It was a more brutal time, a much larger country, and we were under the heel of the British. The Founders really didn’t have representation in Parliament; we have representation, whether we agree with those representing or not. The Founders were not making any claims against big government; they were fighting for the right of self-government itself.
Proponents of larger government intervention versus less did exist then as now, most notably from the Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans, and some of them would be shocked at how big our government has become, but even the most conservative among them understood that the country would change with the times, and thus they had enough foresight to know the Constitution would need amending. The claim that all the Founders, or even most of them, were ultra conservative or libertarian has no basis. They did pen the bits about separation of church and state, free speech, freedom of the press, and religion, after all.
The only argument of the Tea Party that is even halfway analogous would be arguments against upped taxes. But obviously, while taxes was one grievance against Britain in the colonies, they it wasn’t the only issue.
So, the crux of what is happening, as I see it, is that people are angry (about something, the country’s debt, bailing out corporations, etc.) and don’t know what to do, so they wail on the government, and folks like Levin, Savage, Beck and the gang are pawning their wares and playing off those frustrations like door-to-door salesmen. So, one question may be: Why don’t I share in their frustrations? Because while I am as angry that Wall Street and the corporations were bailed out as anyone else, I don’t see our government’s reaction to it as a permanent mark of things to come. We aren’t anywhere near crisis mode regarding our government. Obama will be elected, or he won’t. The talking heads will continue railing against Obama or a Republican will get elected and the vitriol will shift toward whichever progressive in Washington is trying to bring us ever out of the stone age.
But that’s enough ranting for now. Here’s something to strum your satirical lyre:
Thank goodness for fringe talk radio to keep me angry enough late at night so I’m not attempted to fall asleep at the wheel while returning from a lengthy trip Lexington, Ga., to cover a football game.
I’m not sure what radio host, Mark Levin’s, obsession is with The Washington Post (Levin calls it The Washington Compost) writer, Dana Milbank, but Milbank is linked on Levin’s Web site, and Levin, in usual form, went into a 10-minute rant about this column, appearing Friday in The Post. In it, Milbank detailed some of the more unusual features of a protest held Thursday on Capitol Hill by House Republicans and Tea Party supporters, who were rallying against the health care reform bill currently under consideration. To briefly point out some of what Milbank observed:
In the front of the protest, a sign showed President Obama in white coat, his face painted to look like the Joker. The sign, visible to the lawmakers as they looked into the cameras, carried a plea to “Stop Obamunism.” A few steps farther was the guy holding a sign announcing “Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds” [sic], accusing Obama of being part of a Jewish plot to introduce the antichrist.
According to Milbank, also being displayed was a banner which read: “National Socialist Healthcare, Dachau, Germany, 1945.”
Levin on the radio show claimed he saw none of this nonsense, and was quick to point to a 90-year-old veteran he saw in a wheel chair on the front row and the numerous American flags, etc, etc. Levin seemed to indicate that among 20,000 people (He must have had a different math teacher than Milbank, who only recorded about 5,000 in attendance), there were sure to be a few crackpot, zany signs and that you could pick out fringers anywhere, like Waffle House on any given day. But the tough news for Levin is that he is a fringer. In his long rant on the air tonight, Levin accused liberals of doing everything in their power to ridicule some of the strong, female leaders of the conservative movement, like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. He awkwardly threw in the word “attractive” in his description, but I have no idea what physical appearance has to do with anything.
But the point is this. He accused some of ridiculing the intelligence and the very being of people like Palin and others, but leveled a barrage of belittling names Milbank’s way in response to the column. In his vitriol, in which by the end, Levin was for all practical purposes, screaming into the microphone, used the following choice words to describe Milbank (I wrote some of them down as I was listening): “jerk” (three times); “moron”; “propagandis,” and a “pathetic” one at that; “liar”; “coward”; “punk”; “hack”; “ass”; and “backbencher”. The liar and coward accusations begin teetering into slander territory. Regardless, what sort of person do you have to be to, in one breath, accuse someone of belittling or mocking Palin, while not more than two minutes later, to begin such a barrage of insults I just listed against another person?
I want to address one more thing. The use of the word “patriots” to describe Tea Party attendees or Republicans or anti-Obama zealots is just plain offensive to the spirit on which this country was built. One person who called in to Levin’s show described the attendees of the aforesaid rally as “citizen patriots,” whatever that means. This type of nonsense basically throws feces over the venerable graves of John Adams, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Hancock, George Washington and the thousands who fought from Massachusetts and the other colonies against the British to help us win independence. I’m not a patriot. Obama isn’t a patriot. Levin isn’t a patriot. Neither is Milbank. The New England Patriots aren’t even patriots. The dictionary definition of the word generally means anyone who loves her country, but look deeper, and the word originates from Greek root, patēr, meaning “father,” hence, as it relates to this country, Founding Fathers. Using that word so lightly after all that this country has been through in its 200-plus year history makes a mockery of what the above men worked to accomplish, and it’s personally offensive to me, and it should be to anyone else with a brain.
I’ll probably have more to say on Levin later when it’s not 2 a.m. after having worked 12 hours. …