The Mark Levin Controversy: Others Weigh In

Mark Levin’s attack on Paul Mirengoff in connection with the Delaware Senate primary, which Paul ably rebutted here and here, has generated a fair amount of comment by online pundits. Patterico initially noted, but stayed out of, the fray. Then, having read the posts in question, he concluded:

You know, I finally read through Levin’s Facebook post, and Paul Mirengoff’s post that Levin distorts. I am ready to jump into the war.
Levin’s post is packed with mischaracterizations. Just chock full of them. Expressed with the dripping arrogance of someone who apparently feels that, because he is better known than Mirengoff, he is entitled to say whatever he feels like about him — and the facts be damned.
I suppose caring about the facts probably makes me an inauthentic conservative in Mark Levin’s eyes. I don’t care. I’ll go with the facts, every time.

That resulted in Levin calling Patrick an “idiot” and a “jackass,” a mode of argumentation usually associated with the left.
Dan Riehl also joined the dispute, on Levin’s side. For some reason, Dan was offended that I added my two cents’ worth to Paul’s first post on the subject. I’m not sure why; those add-ons are pretty much a daily feature with us. Dan wrote that Power Line “isn’t usually part of the conversation, or in the mainstream of the movement. They’ve never seemed to bother with other bloggers that much.” Apparently Dan has forgotten that we promoted his site as our “Blog of the Week” when he was just starting out.
Riehl seems to have taken up the cudgels with as much fervor as Levin; in particular, he has searched our archives to try to prove us wrong with respect to the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination. (You don’t see the connection? Neither do I, but Levin brought it up.) Riehl headlines his post The Fallacy Of Powerline’s Political Wisdom On Harriet Miers. I don’t recall ever having claimed any particular political wisdom in connection with that nomination, which threw me (and, I think, Paul and Scott) for a loop. Riehl quotes several posts to make us sound like Miers boosters, but somehow his research missed this one, written the day after Miers’s nomination. It is titled “A Disappointment.” Among other things, I wrote:

Bush chose a nominee who makes little sense on either substantive or political grounds: a second or third tier candidate whose choice will be, I think, a slight political minus for the President because of her perceived lack of qualifications. I really don’t get it.

So whatever support we lent to Miers was lukewarm, at best. Riehl overlooks a very obvious distinction. A Supreme Court nominee is the singular choice of the President. One makes a political decision to support, or not to support, that nomination. This decision has little to do with whether the nominee is, in our opinion, the best one for the job. A primary is completely different. The question there is which of the primary candidates is superior. If there had been a primary between Harriet Miers and Sam Alito, we obviously would have favored Alito.
Other commentators have supported Paul’s position in the Levin conflict. Jim Geraghty noted the dispute and quoted my add-on to Paul’s post, the one that so annoyed Dan Riehl. Rick Moran, writing at The Moderate Voice, said:

[R]eally, are we to believe that people serious about politics would rather have a political neophyte who believes in paranoid conspiracy theories than a candidate – even if he is supported by the “establishment” – with a solid record of political success?
Here’s the disconnect supplied by Mark Levin who lambastes Paul Miregoff for pointing out the flaws of O’Donnell and other tea party candidates:

Must be nice to sit on your ass in some law office in Washington lecturing tea party activists and others with such dripping arrogance and ignorance. We’re confronting the most radical administration certainly in my lifetime, and Mirengoff blows off the grassroots movement that is doing more to bring constitutional government back to this nation than any other. No, all candidates are not perfect. That’s not the nature of politics. And spewing the opposition research found on other sites, leaked in part by a party to a lawsuit involving the conservative candidate, is lazy and unfair. In fact, I notice nowhere in his superficial post does Mirengoff point out any establishment Republicans with defects, with temper issues, with Keating Five issues, etc., etc. Apparently there’s one test for conservative candidates and another for establishment Republican candidates. Despite all his defects, McCain was backed by National Review. How about Mirengoff? Who did he support?

Well, I don’t think it was Barack Obama. Many of us go off on intemperate screeds from time to time, but is it too much to ask that such diatribes be directed against liberals, rather than against our fellow conservatives?
Traditionally, an out-party doesn’t start fighting over the spoils until it is actually in. Divisive attacks like the one Mark Levin launched against us cause me to think that some conservatives, at least, are counting their chickens prematurely. Conservatives are more numerous than liberals, but remain a minority. We need to stick together; not on every tactical decision, about which judgments will inevitably vary, but in support of our movement against its real enemies, who are statists.
PAUL adds: What seems to have set Levin off is this statement with which I concluded my comparative analysis of competing election strategies: “It’s disconcerting to realize that many of our activists aren’t even as astute as the likes of Markos Moulitsas.” Levin responded, “Markos Moulitsas is a reprehensible menace. Mirengoff knows it.”
But one can be a reprehensible menace and still have formulated a more astute political strategy than folks who are not reprehensible menaces; in fact the more astute an adversary is, the more menacing (see Saul Alinsky). So instead of flailing about and misstating fact after fact (many of which pertain only to me, not the issue at hand), Levin would have better served by taking a serious look at the left’s successful approach to gaining political power when it was in a situation similar to the one conservatives now confront.
Unfortunately, ranting, not serious analysis, seems to Levin’s thing.

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