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Mark Levin

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Mark Levin
Mark Levin by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Mark Levin
Birth name Mark Reed Levin
Born (1957-09-21) September 21, 1957 (age 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater
Show The Mark Levin Show
LevinTV
Station(s) WABC, WMAL, + 300 others
Network Cumulus Media Networks
Time slot 6:00–9:00 pm ET[1]
Style Talk radio, television
Country United States
Website marklevinshow.com

Mark Reed Levin (/ləˈvɪn/; born September 21, 1957) is an American lawyer, author, and radio personality. He is the host of syndicated radio show The Mark Levin Show. Levin worked in the administration of President Ronald Reagan and was a chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. He is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, has authored seven books, and contributes commentary to various media outlets such as National Review Online. On September 1, 2015, Levin was named Editor-in-Chief of Conservative Review.[2]

He has been described as "conservative",[3] "right-wing"[4][5][6] and "pro-Trump".[7] Levin is known for criticizing Democrats, as well as for encouraging primary challenges to a number of incumbent congressional Republicans. He endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican presidential primary but reluctantly endorsed Donald Trump after he won the Republican nomination for the presidency despite continual harsh criticism of him.

Biography

Mark Reed Levin, one of three boys, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Erdenheim as well as Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. His father, Jack E. Levin, is the author of several books.[8] He graduated from Cheltenham High School after three years in 1974.[9][10] After high school, Levin enrolled at Temple University Ambler and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Political Science in 1977 at age 19.[11] Levin won election to the Cheltenham school board in 1977 on a platform of reducing property taxes.[10] In 1980, Levin earned a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.[12] Levin worked for Texas Instruments after law school.[10] He is Jewish.[13]

Beginning in 1981, Levin served as an adviser to several members of President Ronald Reagan's cabinet, eventually becoming the associate director of presidential personnel and ultimately chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese; Levin also served as deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, and deputy solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior.[14] He practiced law in the private sector and is president of Landmark Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm founded in 1976 with offices in Kansas City, Missouri and Leesburg, Virginia.[15][16][17]

Levin has participated in Freedom Concerts, an annual benefit concert to aid families of fallen soldiers, and uses his radio program to promote aid to military families.[18] Levin is also involved with Troopathon, a charity that sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas.[19] In 2001 the American Conservative Union awarded Levin its Ronald Reagan Award.[20] He was awarded the inaugural Citizens United Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at CPAC in 2014.[21]

Politico reported in 2014 that Levin was president of a legal non-profit and drew a salary of more than $300,000 a year.[22]

Radio broadcasting

Levin speaks at the 2011 Defending the American Dream Conference hosted by Americans for Prosperity.

Levin began his broadcasting career as a guest on conservative talk radio programs. For many years, he was a frequent contributor of legal opinions to The Rush Limbaugh Show, where Limbaugh referred to him on-air as "F. Lee Levin", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. He was also a contributor to The Sean Hannity Show and eventually got a radio slot of his own on WABC, initially on Sundays beginning in 2002, then in the timeslot following Sean Hannity in 2003. Cumulus Media Networks began syndicating The Mark Levin Show nationally in 2006.

Levin is known for his frequent use of the pejorative "moron" and "puke" for people he opposes.[23][24][25] Hannity has nicknamed Mark Levin "The Great One".[26] Levin and Hannity remain frequent contributors to each other's programs. He is a leading conservative commentator, ranking 4th nationally among talk radio programs, with a minimum of 8.5 million total weekly listeners (Spring 2011) according to TALKERS magazine.[27]

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in October 2017 that Levin was responsible for influencing other conservative media voices like Hannity and Rush Limbaugh towards the far right, saying "that right-wing guy, Levin? He went really crazy right and got a big audience, and he dragged Hannity to the dark side. He dragged Rush to the dark side."[28][29]

On February 11, 2016, Levin signed a "lifetime" (ten-year) contract extension with Westwood One, which will take his show through 2025, its 19th year.[30]

Television show

In November 2017, Fox News announced that it had signed Levin for a weekend show titled "Life, Liberty & Levin" to air on Sunday nights at 10 pm Eastern beginning in February 2018.[31]

Writer

Levin authored the 2005 book Men In Black: How The Supreme Court Is Destroying America, in which he advanced his thesis that activist judges on the Supreme Court (from all parts of the political spectrum) have "legislated from the bench". Commentary magazine's Dan Seligman wrote that Levin asks readers "to identify with 'originalists' who look to the text of the Constitution and the intent of its framers, and to reject the 'activists' who construe the Constitution broadly and are more concerned with getting to their own 'desired outcomes'".[32] Slate magazine's Dahlia Lithwick wrote that "no serious scholar of the court or the Constitution, on the ideological left or right, is going to waste their time engaging Levin's arguments once they've read this book".[33]

Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish is a non-fiction work written by Levin in 2007 about his experience of rescuing a dog named Sprite from a local animal shelter.[34]

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto was released in 2009, and became a #1 New York Times best seller for eleven of twelve weeks,[35] as well as No. 1 on Nielsen's BookScan[36] and No. 2 on Amazon.com's list of bestselling books of 2009.[37] The book includes discussion of a variety of issues that, according to Levin, need to be addressed in the United States. In Liberty and Tyranny Levin repudiates the use of the term "progressive" to describe "modern Liberals" and instead argues a proper term should be "Statist". Liberty and Tyranny has sold over one million copies according to Threshold Editions, the book's publisher.[38] The National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy wrote, "Levin offers not so much a defense as a plan of attack" against "America's Leftist ascendancy".[39] Other reviewers critiqued the book as "analysis utterly useless in understanding more than half of the American political landscape" while charging "Levin resorts to the same old misinformation to sell his brand of conservatism".[40][41]

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America was released in 2012. In Ameritopia, Levin discusses the origins and development of both the modern day conservative and liberal political philosophies, the latter of which he refers to as "statist", through the works of some of the leading figures in American history.[42][43] Included are commentaries on works by Plato, Sir Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville.[44] Jeffrey Lord called it "historical X-ray vision in book form".[45] PJ Media praised the book, "That Levin wrote this book now demonstrates not only his passion for the United States, but his awareness that he is a statesman defending natural law at a pivotal moment in human history."[46] On the other hand, The Atlantic's review criticized the book's argument that statism is based on utopianism,[47] and a review by Professor Carlin Romano in the Chronicle of Higher Education called the book "disastrously bad from beginning to end".[48]

The 2013 book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic suggests eleven new Constitutional amendments. The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[49] Hans A. von Spakovsky of National Review called the book "required reading for conservative bloggers".[50] Ana Marie Cox, writing in The Guardian, said the book "contains some radical notions about a complete overhaul of the US constitution, but to debate the specifics of their merits is to ignore the larger insanity of the project" while noting "the ludicrousness of his specific 'fixes' and the near-impossibility of achieving them".[51] In the Washington Times, Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Lotfi criticized Levin's idea as "the bullet to a loaded revolver pointed at the Constitution". Also in the Times, Richard Rahn wrote "If "The Liberty Amendments" can help foster a national debate about which corrective actions, including constitutional amendments, are needed to increase liberty and prosperity, Mr. Levin will have performed a great national service".[52] Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport wrote in Forbes that Levin's book used "weak arguments".[53][54] Also in Forbes, Ralph Benko credited Levin with "notably and nobly proposing to change the rules of modern politics and governance".[55]

Levin authored Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future in 2015,[56] and Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism in 2017.

Levin and Ted Cruz at the 2017 CPAC conference

Views on political issues, groups and politicians

Views on politicians and other individuals

According to the Guardian, "constant attacks on Democrats and the left are important components" of Levin's 'modus operandi.[57] According to Politico in May 2009, Levin pronounced "almost daily" that Obama "was a failure, a liar and a “statist” who is trying to destroy individual freedom."[58] In June 2017, Levin accused Senator Bernie Sanders of being “a radical Marxist who believes in violence.”[59] According to Rutgers University political scientist Stephen Eric Bronner, Levin tends to use "socialism" as a "catch-all term to condemn any policy that strengthens the social welfare function of the state."[60] In July 2014, he called Jon Stewart "a knee-jerk idiot," and suggested that Stewart was a self-hating Jew.[61]

He has criticized Republicans – including Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham,[5] John McCain, and Mitch McConnell[62] – with whom he disagrees on "constitutional conservatism."[57] In July 2009, Levin called former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum a "complete and utter fraud".[63] Levin endorsed Orrin Hatch when he faced a primary challenge in 2012, but later apologized for his endorsement when Hatch said that he would be willing to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.[22] Since then, he endorsed a number of Republican primary challengers to incumbent Republican senators.[22] Levin supported the Tea Party Patriots' campaign to “fire” House Speaker John Boehner.[22] Earlier in 2010, Levin criticized Glenn Beck for his criticism of congressional Republicans.[64]

In March 2016, Levin endorsed Ted Cruz for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.[65] Over a month after Donald Trump was nominated, in September 2016, Levin stated on this radio program that he would vote for Trump in the general election, following his declaration earlier that year that he was in the "Never Trump" camp.[66] He qualified his support by stating that, "I take no responsibility for the dumb things he says or the dumb things his surrogates say."[67] Levin supported U.S. Representative Mo Brooks in his campaign in the 2017 Alabama special election against incumbent Luther Strange, who had received a temporary appointment earlier that year.[68]

Group advocacy

During the 2012 election cycle, Levin's show was paid at least $757,000 in sponsorship by the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity to ads for the group.[22][69] After the sponsorship ended, Levin began doing ads for the Tea Party Patriots.[22] In 2014 the "Senate Conservatives Fund paid at least $427,000 to Simon & Schuster to purchase copies of one of Levin’s books in September and October of 2013."[22] During the same period, Levin frequently promoted the group, which has funded primary challengers of Senate Republicans, on his radio show and Facebook page.[70] Levin did not disclose that the group had made $427,000 of purchases of his book.[70]

Levin endorsed Orrin Hatch when Levin was being sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) which also endorsed Hatch. Levin withdrew his endorsement of Hatch when Levin was being sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, a group that funded challengers to Hatch; and Levin endorsed primary challengers when the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group which funded primary challengers to incumbent Republicans, purchased $427,000 worth of his books.[22][69][70] Levin has dismissed allegations that he engages in pay-to-play.[70]

Controversial views

President Obama

In 2009, Levin described as "absolutely right" the statement by Sarah Palin that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) includes death panels to decide whether elderly people or sick children were worthy of medical care.[71] In 2011, a caller to Levin's show, claiming to be a neurosurgeon, said that the Department of Health and Human Services had issued a document saying that people over age 70 would not be allowed to receive medical treatments. Levin said to the caller, "so Sarah Palin was right." The call was later revealed to be a hoax and the death panel claims were revealed to be false.[72][73][74] Levin compared supporters of the Affordable Care Act to Nazi “Brownshirts.”[75]

Levin stated in 2013 that "the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government" and called President Obama a Muslim Brotherhood "sympathizer".[76][77]

In February 2015, Levin stated that President Obama of “seeking to destroy Israel” because "Obama has an affinity for Islam far more than Christianity or Judaism." Levin also blamed Obama for the Ebola crisis, saying "the political policies of this administration which opens the door wide to people from the poorest parts of the world. We don't know who they are, we don't know if they have diseases.”[75]

Wiretap claim

In March 2017, Levin alleged that the Obama administration had used "police state" surveillance tactics against the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. The Associated Press said that Levin "voiced without evidence the idea that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower". Levin protested the AP report vigorously, demanding a retraction and an apology on the grounds that his sources for the statement included The New York Times and other newspapers.[78] His statement was reprinted by Breitbart News and reportedly became the basis of President Trump's unfounded Trump Tower wiretapping allegations.[57][79] In September 2017, reports emerged of a court-ordered Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wiretap on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort; while certain Trump supporters alleged that this surveillance vindicated Levin and Trump's unsupported assertions, David A. Graham of The Atlantic noted: "This is not true—Trump claimed he had been the subject of Obama-ordered, politically motivated surveillance, for which there remains no evidence."[80]

"Deep State"

Levin has claimed that there is an-going "coup" occurring against the presidency of Donald Trump waged by Obama loyalists.[81] Levin's coup claim was referring to investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and of alleged obstruction of justice by Trump. Levin responded that "I’m not arguing to the Trump base. I am making the point that what’s taking place here is coup activity" and that Robert Mueller's Grand Jury was trying "to destroy the constitutional system. It is the use of the law to subvert the election.”[82][83]

Climate change

Levin rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.[84][85]

WMDs in Iraq

In 2014, Levin cited reports of U.S. soldiers in Iraq that were wounded by the decayed remnant of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons arsenal as vindicating the Bush administration's original rationale for the Iraq War, despite the Iraq Survey Group (ISG)'s finding that "while a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991." Furthermore, Levin faulted the Bush administration for not doing more to publicize these remnants of Iraq's former WMD program.[86]

References

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External links