Mark Levin On Dreher, Frum And Friedersdorf
Friend and radio host Mark Levin and I had an opportunity to discuss Rod Dreher's criticism of him a bit over the weekend. The latest chapter in that debate between Conor Friedersdorf and myself is here. The commentary below from Mark was unsolicited and he requested that I post it when he sent it along. I've not had a guest blogger in five years. I can think of few people I'd be more happy to oblige with a first guest post, of sorts.
Every now and then I have to lower myself to deal with the undeveloped minds of kooks like Rod Dreher. I don't know Dreher and as best I can tell, most nobody does. He has a column for a Dallas newspaper and created his own blog site, from where he writes love letters to himself and wonders why his brilliance is lost on the multitudes (while, of course, claiming to represent them and speak for them).
Rod learned of me, he says, from his friend Conor Friedersdorf. Honestly, who is Conor Friedersdorf? Well, after about 90 seconds of googling, I found out that Conor is (or was) a journalist and is (or was) a student and he blogs too. So, it appears that Rod and Connor are cyberspace pen pals of a sort.
Now, apparently Rod learned from Conor, who just happened upon 15 minutes of my radio show, that I said something that was so disgusting and controversial that it merited their immediate commentary. As Rod put it:
Conor Friedersdorf listened to a Levin bit the other day, in which the radio talker had the following exchange:
MARK LEVIN: Answer me this, are you a married woman? Yes or no?
MARK LEVIN: Well I don't know why your husband doesn't put a gun to his temple. Get the hell out of here.
This is the same Mark Levin whose book is a huge bestseller. A cretin who would say something like this on his radio show is a big deal among a lot of conservatives. Good grief. Having spent about 15 unpleasant minutes listening to this creep, I cannot imagine why anybody pays attention to him. Seriously, where is the pleasure in listening to this kind of trashmouth? If I were on the left, I would make sure that people thought that Mark Levin was the face of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.
Oh my. How brutish of me.
You would have thought I had spent the last 25 years befriending the likes of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, or had driven the car that ended Mary Jo Kopechne's life. But no, those are the leaders of the Democratic Party.
Anyway, back to Rod. I did a little more googling and found this on wikipedia (I know, wikipedia is unreliable, but then again, so is Rod, consider):
In 2002, Dreher wrote an essay in National Review that explored a subcategory of American conservatism he defined as "granola conservatism", whose adherents he described as "crunchy cons". He defined these individuals as traditionalist conservatives who believed in environmental conservation, frugal living, and the preservation of traditional family values. They also express skepticism about aspects of free market capitalism and they are usually religious (typically traditionalist Roman Catholics or conservative Protestants). Four years later, Dreher published a book that expanded upon the themes of this manifesto. This book was Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Home schooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party).
Dreher is working on another book with a new theme. He has said on his blog that it will center on "the Benedict Option", the idea that those who want to live with traditional morality should separate themselves to some degree from mainstream society and try to live in intentional communities or other subcultures.
I think "the Benedict Option" would be good for Rod. Will he be blogging from Drehertown? Will Drehertown segregate itself from the Internet and talk radio, so as not to be polluted by the rest of us? Now, this will have broad appeal with the American people, don't you think? This is the way back for the GOP and conservatism — "the Benedict Option." Rod is a self-deluded kook. He is also thin-skinned, like so many of the kooks with God-complexes and a keyboard.
As I study the genius that is Rod and the wisdom of his words in his post about me, I am stunned that a leader of our party and our movement such as Rod would lower himself to use such shock-jock language as "shrill crackpot," a "cretin," and a "creep." Come now, Rod, we need to raise the level of debate if we are to take back power.
In his second post on this huge subject, Rod wonders, among other things, "Think about what WFB would say about Levin's rhetoric. I bet he'd be embarrassed by the low-class schlock of it all." Well, Rod, WFB is a hero to all sound-thinking conservatives. But I do recall an exchange between Gore Vidal and Bill Buckley in which Buckley called Vidal a "queer." Maybe Rod missed it while doing his vast research for his post about me. Well, here it is. http://www.kronykronicle.com/1968/BV4.html Buckley was a brilliant and complex man, unlike Rod. He was also a fighter who knew his adversaries, unlike Rod. It was certainly wrong and offensive for Buckley to say what he did; yet Rod intones Buckley to admonish me. He wants readers to think Buckley would stand with him and against me. How cheap and pathetic.
After Rod wrote his post about me on his website, he solicited comments from the common man (who he represents, of course) asking whether they agreed with his take on me. Well, apparently they did not. But Rod wasn't about to tolerate that. So, he applied his "Benedict Option" and began selectively editing them. Eventually he cut them off altogether. Something tells me Drehertown won't be a very open and democratic place. Ah, if only Rod were a host of his own radio show. Then he could give these people what for.
And while Rod represents the future of conservatism (just ask him), he doesn't understand my appeal. I mean, he listened to 15 minutes of my radio show and he just doesn't get it. No, Rod doesn't get it and he never will. He's just not that smart or interesting. Rod says he knows I have a "huge best selling book" but he doesn't know why. Of course, he gives no indication of ever having read it. Rod is supposedly unaware that for many years we posted articles and comments on the same website (nationalreview.com). So, a geek who spends most of his days and nights on the Internet doesn't know I am a contributing editor to National Review? Oh the pain of it all.
Now, if I might, on to David Frum. What does Frum have to do with any of this, you ask? David has never recovered from my drubbing him on my radio show, or should I say the drubbing he gave himself. He immediately went crying to Newsweek, MSNBC, various broadcast networks, etc., to complain about the low state of conservatism. If only the rest of us would embrace the "true reformers" (you know, in addition to Frum, David Brooks and Ross Douthat, among others), we would be so much the better. Dare I say if they were intellectually coherent and consistent, not to mention principled, it might be easier to understand them. But they are, with a few exceptions, ineffective lightweights who shoot spitballs at conservatives from the backbenches. This is precisely why the media promote them during their little hissy fits.
Well, David happened upon Rod's post about me and, of course, he was deeply disturbed by my exchange with the caller. Now, this would be the same David Frum who hawks himself and his irrelevant books (yes, another unsuccessful author by another of our leader wanna-bes) on Bill Maher's show and the Daily Show. Somehow David has a high tolerance level for the endless vulgarity and ridicule these hosts viciously and personally unleash against prominent conservatives and Republicans. So, too, do liberals and Democrats. With Maher's and Stewart's "f" bombs falling all around him, David enjoys the attention he so craves but does not get from conservatives. And this character flaw is only part of the reason why David is so contemptible. He is a self-serving hypocrite who seeks not the advancement of conservatism but himself. Always concerned about the tone of the debate, here, in part, is what he wrote about Rush Limbaugh:
With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence.
How Bill Maher of David.
I may have more to say. If I do, at least for now I will save it for the radio.
– Mark Levin