On his program Monday night, radio talk show host Mark Levin was in top form, doing what he loves to do best. He was ripping, bashing, slamming, crushing, and, yes, DESTROYING those who would abuse our Constitution.
Amidst the carnage and mayhem, one person in particular felt his wrath. One person in particular was called a disgrace, a Benedict Arnold. One person in particular was accused of complicity with an authoritarian police state, of disenfranchising millions of Americans, and of undermining the fundamental Constitutional system of separation of powers.
When speaking of Benedict Arnold, was Levin referring to the President, whose campaign knew that America’s top geopolitical rival had stolen documents from his fellow Americans and used them to influence an election on his behalf, and who concealed that information from law enforcement while expecting to benefit from that influence?
When he mentioned disgraces, was Levin referring to the President, who has made over 10,000 false or misleading claims since taking office and who is, for all intents and purposes, an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign finance fraud investigation involving hush money payments to not one but two porn stars?
Of those who would encourage a police state, was Levin referring to the President, who insisted that it would be “appropriate” to discuss with Attorney General Bill Barr opening an investigation of potential 2020 rival Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden? And who has echoed Joseph Stalin repeatedly while referring to the “fake news media” as “the enemy of the people”? Whose Justice Department reinstated the policy of seizing private property of people not even convicted of a crime? Who made numerous challenges to television networks’ “licenses”? And who reportedly pressured National Economic Council Gary Cohn to block AT&T’s merger with CNN parent company Time-Warner?
When Levin spoke of disenfranchising millions of Americans, was he referring to the President, who just last week redirected funds from a Congressionally-appropriated chemical demilitarization program, Air Force missile programs, and the “Blended Retirement System,” including $604 million from the Afghan National Security Forces, to pay for a border wall opposed by the majority of Americans? And who sided with Putin over the US intelligence community’s assertions that Russia meddled in US elections and who has since consistently refused to enact measures to prevent it from happening again?
When he blasted away at the disdain for the separation of powers, was Levin referring to the President, who has repeatedly defied Congressional subpoenas and ordered others to do so? Who has levied taxes on the American people in the form of tariffs? Who acted unilaterally to ban bump stocks? And who declared a bogus national emergency to seek a “redo” of Congressional spending?
In a word, nope.
Levin was referring to Justin Amash, R-MI, who dared suggest that the President’s actions in violation of his oath of office amounted to impeachable conduct.
I know. It’s horrifying. Holding the President accountable for flagrantly abusing both the spirit and the letter of the law and actually believing in keeping the office of the Presidency clean…who ever heard of such a notion?
To convey his outrage, Levin pointed to a string of events, some salacious and unverified, that portray the President as a victim. “Let’s start from the beginning,” he said:
Who was it that put spies in the Trump campaign? Who was it that abused federal courts, the FISA courts? Who was it that colluded with the Russians and tried to cover their tracks by laundering their money through FusionGPS? Who was it that used the senior levels of the FBI during the course of the campaign, the Presidential transition and thereafter, to try and blackmail the President of the United States on January 6? Who was it that abused the Department of Justice and used a law nobody uses, the Logan Act? Who was it that abused the intelligence agencies and departments of this government by unmasking over 200 American citizens and leaking names to the media? And Justin Amash believes that the victim of this should be removed from office, ‘cause if you favor impeachment, you favor his removal.Mark Levin, 5/20/19
Now, all the facts (or lack thereof) surrounding these assertions notwithstanding, the reader will please note that nowhere in this exegesis did Levin actually defend the President’s conduct. Nor did he do so in his subsequent rant, in which he accused Amash of trying to disenfranchise 63 million Americans who voted for Trump (no mention was made of the 44.9 million who voted for Clinton in 1992) and of supporting Congressional subpoenas in a bid to cancel and tear to pieces the separation of powers.
However, unfortunately for Levin, merely pointing to other examples of (supposed) wrongdoing doesn’t do the trick. If it did, no one would be convicted on a speeding ticket ever again, simply because millions of people every day break the speed limit and get away with it. Just for good measure, though, Levin did invite Amash’s new primary opponent onto his program for an interview, which consisted of Levin feeding his guest leading questions critical of Amash for eight and a half minutes. But that doesn’t count as defending the President’s conduct, either.
So what we are presented with are two sharply contrasting views of the world.
One view, which Levin leaves us, states that what one person does wrong doesn’t matter – whatever laws he or she might break don’t matter – as long as we can find some other people who might have done similar things and yell loudly enough about them. And if we can paper our arguments in Pecksniffian love of the Constitution, all the better.
The other view holds that one person, even the President, cannot be above the law in a just society. Truth is truth, according to this view, and all the specious claims of deep state witch hunt silent coups in the world do not change it.
This October will mark fifty-five years since Ronald Reagan gave what many consider his most famous speech, “A Time for Choosing.” In that speech, Reagan outlined the sharp contrast between the statist conception of a utopian America wrought forcibly upon her people by the central government, and the Founders’ vision of a society of free men united by opportunity and equality in the eyes of the law. The speech is generally accepted as having launched Reagan’s political career.
Here and now, we find ourselves faced with another time for choosing. Do we, whether Democrat, Republican, or independent, choose to put principle ahead of party, ahead of profit, and ahead of political pressure and accept that wrong is wrong no matter what, or do we embrace the relativism loudly proclaimed by Levin and others in defense of the indefensible?
Amash has made his decision, and if he is sincere about it, every American who believes in the rule of law should thank him for it. Both the GOP and the Democrats must answer that question as well. Will they continue excusing a lawless chief executive and cast themselves upon the ant heap of totalitarianism, or will they reach for, as Reagan described it, man’s “old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order”?
The time for them to choose is now.