Mark Levin Vs. Powerline

By
September 12, 2010

At least in terms of grassroots blogs, I don't think it would be unfair to say that Powerline 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. That's not meant to marginalize them. But they have usually seemed to have a somewhat different audience – perhaps somewhat more aligned with the establishment?

That's been my perception, anyway. I'm disappointed to see John jump in between Paul and Mark. Let the man defend himself, John. If he can't stand by himself – and he isn't doing a very good job of it, in my opinion - then you should stay out of it, or at least start acknowledging some of the other blogs out here who very often disagree with the trio of Pawlenty fans at Powerline.

JOHN adds: Mark Levin has done some great work for the conservative cause, so it is disheartening to see him playing so fast and loose with the facts. There is an unfortunate tendency among some on the right to adopt the view that no one is a *real* conservative except for them and a handful of their friends or followers. This sort of divisive, exclusionary attitude is a sure ticket to perpetual minority status, and should be avoided by all conservatives.

It isn't that Mark can't handle himself. But to see you guys teaming up on someone who has done so much for the movement – and factually, much more than the three of you at Powerline, is disappointing, at best. Most of us fight our own battles out here. That might be a good practice for the Powerline trio to think about, as well.

Now, he coyly didn't name names when making his broad attack. And he was way out of line to condemn broadly and wrongly as he did. Markos Moulitsas is a reprehensible menace. Mirengoff knows it. When he fired that shot, Mirengoff intended to smear unnamed conservatives with whom he disagrees on the O'Donnell-Castle race. Now he whines about my reaction.

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Comments:
  1. Cubachi says:

    My father taught me to be a republican, but Mark Levin guided me to be a conservative. Levin has done a lot for our movement. I definitely agree with you Dan.

  2. Splenda says:

    Levin may have “done so much for the movement,” but he completely misstated Mirengoff’s position and his history. So service for the movement is a trump card that allows one to distort the positions of a fellow conservative with whom you disagree about a single Senate race? Good to know, I’ll put in my service so I can become the unassailable head of the conservative Politburo.
    I am a conservative. I make my decisions based on facts, not based on who has done the most service to the movement. And Mirengoff has the facts on his side.

  3. John Burke says:

    John has this right: “There is an unfortunate tendency among some on the right to adopt the view that no one is a *real* conservative except for them and a handful of their friends or followers. This sort of divisive, exclusionary attitude is a sure ticket to perpetual minority status, and should be avoided by all conservatives.”
    Through the kind of invective they’ve hurled at just about anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with them about O’Donnell (National Reviewm Powerline, a host of others), Dan Riehl and others have revealed the authoritarian streak common to ideological purists of all kinds. Dan and company aren’t so much concerned about a big tent vs. a smaller tent but want total control. If you’re not with them 100% all the time,you simply are not right at all,regardless of how long and consistently you’ve worked for conservatives and conservatism. Thus, the boys at Powerline are beltway insiders, Pawlenty lovers, aloof from the “grassroots” because they decided to stop accepting comments on the blog, RINOs and worse.
    As John says, this is a clearcut path to perpetual minority status. I’d go further: it’s a way to ensure irrelevance and impotence.

  4. Dan Riehl says:

    The way to ensure irrelevance for conservatism is to abide a GOP that has no place for it. Look at the composition of the party in DC today – then tell me conservatives are dominant. You’re full of crap. And folks like some of you who enable the GOP to keep dissing conservatism will enable its end the way you are going.

  5. I’ve been a fan of Powerline for a long time and still am but not because of their politics which is firmly northeast establishment Republican. John is the most conservative of the three with Paul being the neocon. It’s all about Republicans winning elections with them, not advancing a conservative agenda.
    Anyway, politics is not what makes that blog compelling. It is when they latch on to something like Rathergate, of which they were central players, or dissect Supreme Court rulings or other legal issues. They also had a “forum” section that was one of the most intelligent places to discuss things until it crashed last year.
    I don’t know anything about this particular spat and I doubt it is all that important. I didn’t hear Levin’s side and after reading Mirengoff’s response, I suspect they are talking past each other. Mirengoff’s defense is nothing but an attack on Levin’s integrity based on Levin getting a few facts wrong.
    As a loyal Levin listener, I suspect Levin was singling out Mirengoff as a prime example of the elitist attitude among the establishment Republicans, elitists who won’t stoop to do any heavy lifting or get their hands dirty engaging with the unwashed masses that populate the Tea Party. I myself criticized Mirengoff for copping a detached and mildly condescending attitude in his essay reporting on his walkabout during the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” gathering a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t hostile or disrespectful but just coolly detached and missing the point about the gathering while acting bemused about the whole thing. Like a walk in the zoo.
    I’m sure Mirengoff has his facts right about Levin getting the facts wrong (the Powerline guys are sticklers for getting their facts straight and will correct errors) but it sounds to me like Mirengoff is missing the point or just doesn’t want to admit that the Powerline guys are staunch defenders of the northeast Ivy League country club Republican establishment. They consider themselves to be conservative but in a very outdated way. They are firmly entrenched in the establishment in today’s terms. Party over principle.
    Like I said, politics is not what draws me to Powerline. It’s a great blog for many other reasons.

  6. Drury says:

    What I want to know is why, lately, the Castle-backers have been highly critical and dubious of O’Donnell’s financial background, but don’t seem the least bit curious about the discrepancy of Castle’s fortune and how he obtained it given the pay of his various public-sector jobs over the years. Something doesn’t add up here and it makes me highly suspicious yet again of another incumbent possibly enriching himself in not-so-legal/immoral ways because of the public office that he holds. Have the Powerline guys ever even approached this subject? If not, why not?
    Yet another reason I am for term limits.

  7. Splenda says:

    No, what enables conservatism’s end is purity tests, demanding that every conservative politician be in ideological lock-step with the movement.
    What enables conservatism’s end is excommunicating brothers in arms (Powerline is a conservative blog. Now, maybe they aren’t part of your circlejerks, but they support conservative candidates and policies) because they are more pragmatic than you are.
    What enables conservatism’s demise is placing service to the cause above truth — cold, hard truth. Levin goes out, gets all of the facts wrong in attacking a fellow conservative, but because of his service to the cause, he wins the debate. The idea that service to the movement is the greatest credential of all comes straight out of Lenin’s playbook.
    I don’t particularly care for Mike Castle. He’s too liberal for my tastes. But he can win in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell cannot win in Delaware. Mike Castle’s flaws are ones of ideology. Christine O’Donnell’s flaws are ones of character.

  8. jcp370 says:

    I haven’t been following this particular spat but have the Powerline guys pulled the “I haven’t read Liberty & Tyranny” trope too? That seems to be a favorite of the oh-so-much-smarter-than-the-little-people RINOs. I come across it periodically. It’s usually tossed into a piece casually just to let the readers know that Mark’s book doesn’t rise to the level of a “serious” book. Rich Lowry pulled it during the epistemic closure nonsense; more recently, Dan McLaughlin used it over at RedState. Ruling class, country class.

  9. 4rc says:

    the attack on o’donnel character and finances by the castle camp were totally inappropriate. I can understand the argument that you want a candidate that could win the general election, but don’t use personal attacks on her. The castle camp were basically giving ammos to the left in the general when o-donnel win the primary

  10. Veronica says:

    Mark Levin’s a godsend for the conservative movement. It takes steely guts to be the man he is. He’s made citizen scholars out of many, many of us — more than this other person (who?). Paul probably brings attention to himself to just touch his shadow.
    I may leave political pickings to the professionals, but I’ve learned to smell a RINO from a mile away. Even better, I’ve can smell the puke-stench of progressives from even farther.
    Says Paul:
    Unfortunately, some leading conservative activists don’t see it this way. It’s disconcerting to realize that many of our activists aren’t even as astute as the likes of Markos Moulitsas.
    Mark Moulitsas comes from the dung heap from hell. His American Taliban is a cheap knock-off his kids’ rebuttal to McCartney’s Grand Jihad — and for Paul to insult our true conservative leadership this way — and the folks who follow their lead..
    Makes me angry.

  11. barfo says:

    “our true conservative leadership?”
    Was there a coronation and I missed it?

  12. Demosthenes9 says:

    Pasadena Phil,
    Mirengoff’s first piece and Levin’s response to it are rather easy to find. Perhaps you should read both and form an objective opinion on the matter before commenting on it.
    Dan, You said “The way to ensure irrelevance for conservatism is to abide a GOP that has no place for it.”
    Reading Mirengoff’s piece that Levin attacked, I can’t find any single portion of it that comes close to this thought.
    heck, the posting can be summed up very easily. Castle can win the General election. O’Donnell CAN’T. Therefore, Republicans AND Conservatives would be wise to swallow the bitter pill and nominate Castle.
    In Mirengoff’s view, Republican control of the Senate is more important that Conservative purity at this time.
    Now, it’s fine of course if Conservatives disagree with that strategy.
    BUT, Levin did more than just disagree. He went after Mirengoff’s integrity on the matter.
    Now, as far as Levin goes, after he posted that FB note, I replied in a very courteous way saying that I disagreed with him and that the guys are Powerline were right in my opinion.
    Mark Levin responded to my comments and we went back and forth a bit.
    Then, my ability to comment on his Facebook note was blocked and subsequently, all my comments were deleted.
    If you go check his Note page now, not so strangely, you will see that every single comment is in agreement with him.
    That’s not the case here on this issue. Nor is it the case at Hot Air or at just about any other “major” Right wing blog.
    Anyone with an ounce of integrity will admit that Republicans and even some Conservatives are somewhat divided on this issue. But, you couldn’t tell that from reading the censored comments at Mark Levin’s page.
    Again, I have no qualms with anyone who tells me that they disagree with my beliefs or “strategic” notions on this matter.
    What I do have a problem with is people like Mark Levin questioning MY Conservative credentials or those of anyone else who doesn’t think exactly like he does.

  13. Demosthenes9 says:

    BTW, wrt this:
    “I’m disappointed to see John jump in between Paul and Mark. Let the man defend himself, John.”
    By my reading, the piece you linked to has 15 paragraphs written by Paul with just a single, lone paragraph “added” by John.
    Perhaps I misread or mistook your statement, but it looked like you were at least implying that Paul didn’t respond much and that John stepped in to do the heavy lifting. Quite honestly, I got the notion that the piece you linked to was actually written by John. That is, until I read the byline.

  14. zf says:

    Why is Patterico acting like an idiot? He won’t vote for O-Donnell because the Weekly Standard hit piece finally completely convinced him not to? C’mon, I’ve seen Patterico defend conservatives who faced far more serious accusations and that had better evidence for them. Heck, Castles own lobbyist problems are far more substantial and damaging for crying out loud. But now the ‘facts’ of the WS piece are so overwhelming that he is going to side with Mike Castle? Really? Side with a liberal (calling Castle a RINO is actually being too generous) because the conservative candidate reacted at worst too overemotionally to being fired years ago and may have told a white lie about taking classes at Princetown? In our lifetimes we’ve all lied about worse things than that. This is just piddling nonsense.
    And yeah, Patterico, when you side with an ObamaCare supporting, Cap and Trade loving, pro-abortion dino over a genuine conservative it is absolutely valid to label you an inauthentic conservative. Patterico has set off an internal conflict right when we don’t need one and why? To protect a left of center incumbent. Unbelievable. The only ones being divisive are him and his ilk.

  15. zf says:

    Why would you believe John wrote the article? The excerpt clear says, “JOHN adds.” And saying that someone has jumped into the middle of something does not imply that the other two parties said or did little themselves. It means only what it states, that John jumped into the middle of a dispute between Mark and Paul. Nothing more or less. If you read some other implication in such a plain and simple sentence, that is your fault.

  16. zf says:

    Paul shouldn’t need John to make a remark of any length, especially a paragraph. Like the man said, let Paul speak for himself. No need to jump into the article with unneeded commentary.

  17. Whining isn’t always the answer. Solution can only be formulated when the truths are accepted. Powerline was built from facts and they should be always aware of that.

  18. Dave in dallas says:

    The whole thing centers around her ‘electability” which depends on the frickin’ SUPPORT we give her… Instead of saying she is unelectable, lets roll up our sleeves and get in there and tell the people the truth about obamacare, debt, stimumus failure, the future of our kids under 80% tax rates, the deaths of our parents by panel decisions, etc,
    Lets just do whst it takes to win, instead of settling for another liberal repub. It ain’t rocket science!

  19. Moobs says:

    of course if o’donnell had ties to lobbyists the castlebots would be screeching about them being right about her corruption but since it is castle he can do no wrong

  20. Ed Brown says:

    Disagreements are good for the movement. With the eye on prize of rolling back the progresives. We need the give and take of ideas for true conservatism to rise to the top. If we all agreed on something then we can become the tyranny to the masses.

  21. Amphipolis says:

    Your suggestion of the label establishment for powerline is the type of Levin-style phony debate that compromises your argument and brings on the wrath of Patterico.
    Please cut the namecalling spin. It only makes me suspect that your point must be weak if you have to resort to such garbage.

  22. Amphipolis says:

    I’ll not take a stand on the senate race in PA’s former southern counties, wishing there was a third option, but I will say that Powerline and Patterico are right to call out Levin’s attack rhetoric.
    Patterico: Levin’s post is packed with mischaracterizations. Just chock full of them.
    We should not have to screen out the garbage to find his point. He is not writing to the NYC radio market.

  23. ThomasD says:

    Oh no! They’ve called in the California hall monitor, beware his wrath. Better clam up Dan.

  24. syn says:

    Paul Mirengoff is taking his Ruling Class position far to seriously; such self-idolatry is so very unbecoming of the Ruling Class’ 30% ‘highly educated whites’ whom George Will basically stated controls the Republican Party.
    Have to wonder if Ruling Class member Paul Mirengoff understands-or even acknowledges- the word HUMILITY?
    OR, is such concept away above his Ruling Class mentality?

  25. ktaven says:

    So John cannot aid fellow blogger Paul but you can aid Mark? It’s amazing to me how the democrats can take race, labor, abortion, and liberalism and combine it into a winning coalition for decades. Conservative conservatives, conservatives, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, compassionate conservatives, and others (not even mentioning moderates or those bad “establishment Republicans.”) can barely work together long enough to win a single election and many times don’t.

  26. Amphipolis says:

    If Levin mischaracterizes a post, he should be called on it regardless of what good he has done in the past. He is not the Pope.
    The ends do not justify the means.

  27. Eileen says:

    Levin specializes in the phony ad hominem attack disguised as debate. It is about time someone called this idiot out.

  28. Demosthenes9 says:

    ZF,
    Here are Riehl’s words:
    “I’m disappointed to see John jump in between Paul and Mark. Let the man defend himself, John.”
    The implication is that Paul didn’t defend himself but yet there are 15 paragraphs in that piece that do indeed defend what Paul said.
    Riehl didn’t say “Here is Paul’s rebuttal, though I’m disappointed John jumped in at the end” or anything like that.
    Instead, he implys that Paul didn’t defend himself at all, but that John had written a post in defense.

  29. John Burke says:

    Dan writes, I think in reply to me: “The way to ensure irrelevance for conservatism is to abide a GOP that has no place for it. Look at the composition of the party in DC today – then tell me conservatives are dominant. You’re full of crap. And folks like some of you who enable the GOP to keep dissing conservatism will enable its end the way you are going.”
    Way to go, Dan. In today’s posts (9/13), you’re all touchy feely about coming together after weeks of this sort of nasty “You’re full of crap” stuff aimed at anyone who disagrees with you. Don’t be surprised if all those conservatives out there you’ve dissed don’t respond warmly to your peace gestures.
    Is there anyway to get you to stop your shrill way of vastly overstating your case? If I look at “the composition of the party in dc today,” I see that of the 41 sitting GOP Senators, 33 have an ACU lifetime rating of 80% or higher, and most of the other eight are above the two-thirds mark. Only Snowe and Collins are at about 50%. How is that composition not conservative — by anyone’s definition of the word. Maybe not conservative enough for you, but you don’t get to make up your own facts by glossing over the reality.
    Yes, Castle IS a RINO by anyone’s definition, so the issue to argue about is whether it’s better to elect him anyway to gain control of the Senate. Anyone with a brain can have that argument in a civil way. But you’ve broadened the issue out into an all-out assault on everyone who doesn’t see that question the same way as you do. So who is full of crap?

  30. SM says:

    “they have usually seemed to have a somewhat different audience – perhaps somewhat more aligned with the establishment?”
    They are very much in the neo-con camp. That is, foreign policy issues are their first concern. And their second and third concerns as well. To the extent that they are interested in other conservative issues it seems to be mostly because they want the GOP in power to take care of their foreign policy issues.
    Even at the peak of the amnesty wars back in 2006-07, they stayed hands off that matter. I suspect that among their heavily Jewish readership open borders are considered a good thing.

  31. SM says:

    >>”John has this right: “There is an unfortunate tendency among some on the right to adopt the view that no one is a *real* conservative except for them and a handful of their friends or followers.”
    There is a tendency among people like John to tack the “conservative” label on every last member of the Republican Party, no matter how little it’s deserved or even if they don’t WANT the label.
    The Republican party is a coalition of several different factions. Not all of these are properly described as “conservative”. The guys at Powerline are not particularly conservative. Neither are Rudy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee. I’d estimate that about half of the people who support the GOP are conservatives.

  32. SM says:

    “Mike Castle’s flaws are ones of ideology. Christine O’Donnell’s flaws are ones of character.”
    And the reason the GOP is such a ineffectual joke is so many of its members will cheerfully support a person with a flawed ideology over a person with flawed character.
    When it comes to time to vote in DC, a persons ideology is vastly more important than their character. I don’t know or care what sort of character Jim DeMint has – the only thing that matters in a politician is his ideology.

  33. SM says:

    Demosthenes9, have you commented over at Powerline? What about at National Review? Instapundit?

  34. SM says:

    “Dan Riehl and others have revealed the authoritarian streak common to ideological purists of all kinds.”
    Burke, you are an ideological purist also. You don’t get to call yourself a pragmatist just because your ideology is non-conservative.

  35. Demosthenes9 says:

    SM,
    IIRC, Powerline doesn’t have a comments section. I haven’t been to National Review or Instapundit.
    I have commented here on this issue, @Patterico (from the piece linked here), and on Levin’s FB page until I was banned.
    Why do you ask ?

  36. Demosthenes said:
    Pasadena Phil,
    Mirengoff’s first piece and Levin’s response to it are rather easy to find. Perhaps you should read both and form an objective opinion on the matter before commenting on it.
    Demo, I did. Maybe you ought to read what I said, COMPREHEND MY POINT, and then comment on what I said. Your swipe at me makes no sense.

  37. Demosthenes9 says:

    Pasadena Phil,
    I did read what you wrote and I also managed to comprehend your point WHICH is why I said that perhaps you should have read up on the issue before commenting on it.
    Here, let me highlight the pertinent passages from your post:
    I don’t know anything about this particular spat and I doubt it is all that important. I didn’t hear Levin’s side and after reading Mirengoff’s response, I suspect they are talking past each other. Mirengoff’s defense is nothing but an attack on Levin’s integrity based on Levin getting a few facts wrong. ”
    Ah yes, MIrengoff is the only one attacking a person’s integrity. Oh, but you didn’t bother to read Levin’s initial piece which might explain why you give Levin a pass here.
    “As a loyal Levin listener, I suspect Levin was singling out Mirengoff as a prime example of the elitist attitude among the establishment Republicans, elitists who won’t stoop to do any heavy lifting or get their hands dirty engaging with the unwashed masses that populate the Tea Party. I myself criticized Mirengoff for copping a detached and mildly condescending attitude in his essay reporting on his walkabout during the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” gathering a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t hostile or disrespectful but just coolly detached and missing the point about the gathering while acting bemused about the whole thing. Like a walk in the zoo.”
    Ah, you “suspect” this to be the case >? Levin didn’t single Mirengoff out as a prime example. To do that, you know, you say something like “Here is an example” or “for illustration”.
    What Levin did was call out Mirengoff, attack his integrity and question his “Conservative” credentials.
    But again, you give Levin a pass even though you didn’t read the article in quesion.
    “I’m sure Mirengoff has his facts right about Levin getting the facts wrong (the Powerline guys are sticklers for getting their facts straight and will correct errors) but it sounds to me like Mirengoff is missing the point or just doesn’t want to admit that the Powerline guys are staunch defenders of the northeast Ivy League country club Republican establishment. They consider themselves to be conservative but in a very outdated way. They are firmly entrenched in the establishment in today’s terms. Party over principle.”
    Oh, so it “sounds to you like Mirengoff is missing the point” when you didn’t even bother to read Mirengoff’s original piece OR Levin’s initial critique of it ?
    Instead of jumping on here and GUESSING as to what Mirengoff’s piece “sounds” like, as I stated, you would be better served to take two minutes to actually read what he wrote.
    Here’s the link: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/09/027175.php
    I mean, if you are going to comment on what Mirengoff said, it kind of makes a whole bunch of sense to actually read what he said.

  38. SM says:

    Why do you ask ?
    Posted by: Demosthenes9
    I ask because you’re complaining that you cannot post your opinion at Levin’s place.

  39. BD57 says:

    This whole “debate” is sad.
    There’s a good argument against Castle – he’s a RINO and a Republican Senate majority dependent upon him will be operationally Democrat in many respects, making it harder for conservatives to lead in a coherent fashion.
    There’s a good argument against O’Donnell – polls indicate the people of Delaware won’t accept her, nominating her makes it far more likely the Democrat wins in the end & electing Democrats makes it harder for conservatives to lead than electing the odd Castle.
    Rather than sniping at NRO, et al., I’d love to read something thoughtful which explains why conservatives should prefer nominating O’Donnell and losing than nominating Castle and winning.

  40. Tim McDonald says:

    I would just as soon have a Democrat as Castle. If the Republican Party plans to go back to 2006, they can go without me. I would rather remain out of power so that the coming disaster is laid squarely at the feet of the Democrats than to have 56% republicans who will just spread the blame around.
    The Republican Party needs to become the small government, stay out of my business, constitutional limit party again. And Castle AIN’T IT.

  41. Mike S says:

    Dan – the issue isn’t Levin’s contributions, but his flat out misstatement of the Powerline’s posts! Is it that damn hard to understand? And Levin was a total jerk about it, too. Come on Dan. Wise up.

  42. Moobs says:

    thanks Tim i expct the libtarded jerkoffs to accuse you of purity Tim

  43. Sol says:

    Levin’s Butt Boy Defends His Master’s Attack of Powerline