Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mark Levin on David Frum

There's a genuinely bitter partisan brawl going on between Mark Levin and some of his prominent faux-conservative antagonists.

You might have caught the initial attacks on Levin last week, from
Conor Friedersdorf and then Rod Dreher. I first caught wind of all this in Dan Riehl's response to Friedersdorf, "In Defense of Mark Levin." Dan has a number of other posts covering various iterations of the debate. In an earlier post, Levin suggested that "I have to lower myself to deal with the undeveloped minds of kooks like Rod Dreher." Then Dreher returned fire, calling Levin a "bumptious vulgarian."

You might have also caught David Frum piling on to Conor Friedersdorf's attack: "
No Wonder People Hate Us." I also read this last week. I didn't think much of it, since I see Frum as a marginal faux-conservative on the wrong side of the big issues of the day.

Now Levin has responded to Frum, at Riehl World View (and there's a thread at Memeorandum):

David Frum was never much of a thinker. Try as he might, he just can't seem to attract interest, let alone a following, even when stabbing his old boss, President George W. Bush, in the back with a rambling screed. Profiting from a confidential relationship with a president is about as low as it gets. But Frum, the ex-speech-writer turned self-hating blogger, isn't done descending. Now he spends his lonely days and nights at his keyboard trying to settle personal scores and demonizing those who dare to dismiss his ramblings as the work of an emotional wreck.

My interactions with Frum have been minimal, despite his past suggestions that they were something more. As best I recall, I met him first on an Amtrak train. He was sitting near the restroom feverishly working his lap top's keyboard. We exchanged pleasantries, and that was about it. I believe the next time I met him was at the Ledeen's home. He seemed harmless enough. The next thing I knew, he had a blog at NRO. I rarely read it, but when I did, I noticed he displayed a quirkiness and psuedo-intellectualism which suggested to me that something was a little off with the guy. But I didn't give it much thought. I became reacquainted with Frum after he viciously attacked Rush Limbaugh, after having attempted to spar with Rush over a period of months. And it was this unhinged, emotional outburst that caught my attention. I then realized, as did others, that Frum was a truly pathetic character subject to wild personality lurches and obsessed with drawing attention to himself.

In one truly bizarre incident, after I responded to another of Frum's hate-Rush outbursts, Frum had his own 15 year old son call my talk show. Realizing Frum had become emotionally uncontrollable, I told my producer to tell his son that it would not be appropriate for him to come on the air. If his father called in, I would put him on the show. Within minutes, Frum called, and he proceeded to make a fool of himself by interrupting, name-calling, etc. He could not gather his thoughts or make coherent, reasoned points. So, as the host, with a responsibility to my audience, I had to repeatedly lower the noise-level on his rantings. Frum made a fool of himself.
There's more at the link.

This is especially interesting to me, as I'm blog buddies with Dan Riehl.

But if you check over at Rod Dreher's blog, and click the "
conservative" tag, you'll find that he's also been attacking Robert Stacy McCain (as a side skirmish in the debate). Dreher cites Freddie de Boer for support, which is even more interesting. Freddie's the resident left-wing extremist at Ordinary Gentlemen. That blog, as I've written many times, is the home of the net's Andrew Sullivan myrmidon project. A classic essay which encapsulates the ideological foundations of this project is "Twenty-First Century Conservativsm."

And therein lies why Levin's engagement in this debate is important. The attacks on Levin by Friedersdorf, Dreher, and Frum are like the wobbly swings of a late-round boxer on the ropes. The challenger's last-breath hope is that he might land a blow on the champ, securing a fleeting chance at taking the championship belt. But Levin's takedown today has knocked Frum off his feet, and the rest of his postmodern allies aren't far behind.

These people are kind of sick, actually. But that's where such "Meghan McCain Republicans" have been taking the debate over the future of the right. These "twenty-first century conservatives" have basically pitched their tent with the likes of Andrew Sullivan. It's thus no surprise that their attacks have taken on the unhinged likeness of "trig-trutherism."

There's a principled conservative movement currently making a comeback. Levin's #1
book is the right's manifesto for the fight back to power. As folks can see from the pushback against Levin, it's not just the Democrats who are standing in the way ...


Paco said...

"Then Dreher returned fire, calling Levin a 'bumptious vulgarian.'"

No! I am a bumptious vulgarian!

Dave said...

Frum is a hopeless RINO.

I realize that at times, it looks as though he might actually be nearing "getting it."

But then he slams the toilet seat back down on his weenie and runs back tot the RINO closet.

I would love to see a wide-open one-on-one between Frum and Levin.

Frum would be rendered a pile of goo in a puddle of his own tears when it was all over.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Douglas: I'm not familiar with Levin's writings, save what I've seen at NATIONAL REVIEW'S "Corner" blog. I agreed with them much more often than not. I wasn't familiar with his radio show. So I went to his website and listened to his broadcasts of 21/22 May 09, the ones that started the Frum&Co controversy.

This was a mistake. It wasted several hours of my time. Conor Friedersdorf's strictures are correct: this isn't the way a gentleman behaves in public. Boorish, ill-tempered, much too fond of ad hominem, unoriginal, utterly conventional, yelling, cursing. No style. No class. A couple of examples will suffice:

a) The broadcasts I listened to were from the runup to this Memorial Day. Not surprisingly, Levin devoted a great deal of time to praising the military services and the men and women who serve in them. To my mind, the military services in this nation get far too much reflexive praise from the Right, compensating for the automatic bashing and contempt the Left and the press dish out. Yet mention the name "Colin Powell" who won the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for a reason, and Levin descends to frenzies. He's right to do so: Powell's tenure at State in Geo W.'s administration and his conduct afterwards, hurt this nation. I see no reason why I should grovel to Powell. Or John Murtha, another decorated military man, on how American Marines "murdered" a bunch of helpless Iraqi citizens. Or Weley Clark, another decorated soldier, and an ornament of Yet Mr. Levin' perceptual anesthesia is such that this contradiction sails right by him.

As a radio host, I consider him a flat failure. I learned nothing from his two broadcasts, and his manner, with its wholesale format borrowings from Rush Limbaugh, puts me off listening to him any more. I will read his two books, but borrow them from the library, not buy them.

Contrast Levin with Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt is unfailingly courteous, keeps his name calling to a minimum, and has guests from all across the political spectrum. He lets his callers speak and even engages them, without calling them morons. This doesn't mean that Hugh can't haul them up sharply when necessary.

I learn something every week from Hugh's program. Hugh is also an asset to conservatism and the GOP in a way that Levin never can be. Last, I've enjoyed his books. Hewitt is what a conservative radio host should be.

In the Levin-Frum war, I hope both sides lose. Frum is much too fond of his social position to be any use in the serious struggles we face today. But Levin the broadcaster is raw meat that's been out in the sun too long and is attracting the vultures.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Righty64 said...

WOW! Mark Levin is late to the Slamin' Frum Party! It is amazing that this Frum fellow takes himself so damn seriously. He can not sell a book or ideas. "SIGH"