Anyone who listens to the radio talk-show host Mark Levin knows he’s become a harsh, nightly critic of the Republican Party. To understand just how harsh, you should listen to his monologue from the other day.
Mr. Levin begins by declaring he is “one inch away” from leaving the GOP. He goes on to accuse the Republican Party not simply of being wrong or misguided on this or that matter, but of being comprised of people who have told repeated lies and of being comprised of “damn liars.” He describes them as “losers” and a “bunch of children,” of being “munchkins, backbenchers, immature,” and of being “damn fools.” They are “pathetic, impotent, passive, childish, [and] self-defeating.” They are “dissembling, corrupt crony Republicans… who won’t even take a stand, who announce defeat, who announce surrender before the battle even ensues.” These “pathetic Republican sheep” do nothing more than “rubber stamp” what President Obama wants. And while he concedes the GOP won a huge midterm victory, he informs us that “this Republican Party had nothing to do with this landslide election.” (His listeners did.) In fact, the GOP is “in the throes of destroying itself.”
“What kind of party is this?” he asks. “What does this party stand for? It stands for nothing!”
In Levin’s telling, “The overwhelming majority of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for Obamacare, voted for amnesty, voted to violate the Constitution and violated their oaths of office and undermined the last election and undermined your franchise.” And then Levin adds this:
I will not participate in this scam. I will not participate in the dissolution of this Republic. I will not participate in the propaganda machine that has become the Republic Party and its mouthpieces and cheerleaders in the pseudo-conservative media. [Just the other day Levin referred to the Wall Street Journal’s superb editorial page as being “intellectually corrupt.”]
It seems to me, then, that Mr. Levin, if he believes what he’s saying–and what he’s saying is fairly representative of his nightly commentary–not only should leave the GOP; he’s morally compelled to do so. How on earth can he justify being part of what he deems to be a thoroughly corrupt, craven, unprincipled, and unconstitutional party?
He can’t. And so for his own sake, in order to uphold his own integrity, Levin should go the extra inch and publicly declare he is no longer a Republican and that he no longer speaks for Republicans. I believe in the politics of addition rather than subtraction, but in this case the differences are too deep and irreconcilable. The threats to split are becoming tiresome. He needs to find, or create, a party that represents his views, his philosophy, his style, his tone, his approach. It may help to think of Mr. Levin as being to today’s right what the political activist Howard Phillips was to the right of an earlier generation. (“In 1974, Mr. Phillips also left the GOP, fed up with its continuing failure to carry out anything resembling policies comporting with Mr. Phillips’ understanding of philosophical conservatism,” according to this story in the Washington Times.)
Mark Levin would be better (and his blood pressure would certainly be lower) if he were free of the GOP. And a few people might argue that the GOP would be better if it were free of him.
Peter Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Previously he worked in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. In the last of which, he served as deputy assistant to the president.