Congresswoman Bachmann: Liberty and Tyranny is “intellectual foundation” of Tea Party.
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Skipping 12th grade to move on to Temple University, Levin graduated — at 19 — Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, with membership in the university’s political science and history honor societies. By 22 he was already a lawyer, having graduated from Temple Law School — finding time along the way to get elected at 19 to his local suburban school board, making him the youngest elected school board member in the history of the state.
Says Bachmann simply: “Mark Levin is an intellectual powerhouse.”
While his talk radio show provides celebrity, there are talk show hosts aplenty with books that fall flat. And while his academic, foundation, and government work provides a solid intellectual base for a book, there are plenty of academic stars, foundation, and ex-government officials who write books that fail to sell. Combined, Levin’s assets could surely help sell a book, and in fact Levin has twice written New York Times bestsellers: Men in Black, a critique of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Rescuing Sprite, a heart-warming (and heart-rending) dog-lovers tale.
But Levin says he never saw Liberty and Tyranny as anything other than a simple defense of the Constitution, or as he would write on the very first page, a story of “fundamental truths, based on decades of observation, exploration, and experience, about conservatism and, conversely, non-conservatism — that is, liberty and tyranny in modern America.” Barack Obama was barely a blip on the political scene at the time Levin conceived the idea for his book — and in fact the President gets only three mentions in the book because it was mostly finished by the time of his election.
Would it sell? Probably. Mark Levin books sell. But a phenomenon? A book that would catapult Levin into the literary stratosphere inhabited by authors like Thomas Paine, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Barry Goldwater? Books that literally changed America? The thought, Levin confesses to me, never entered his mind.
Perhaps tellingly, the book was completely ignored by the liberal media. The New York Times never reviewed the book — although it went out of its way to give a thumbs up review to a book that was laughably wrong in its premise — The Death of Conservatism by NYT Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. Nor was the Washington Post interested, in spite of the curious fact of those thousands lined up in its own backyard for the Tysons Corner book signing. Nor, but of course, were any of the old media broadcast networks interested — not a word from the Today Show or Good Morning America.
In yet another sign of old media irrelevance, however, none of this mattered.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, both Levin friends, stepped forward. (Here’s Limbaugh and Levin and here. Hannity interviews with Levin can be found here and here.) The two also appeared at a Levin book signing together on Long Island — drawing thousands, as was the case in Virginia.
The book was favorably reviewed in the Washington Times by former Reagan aide Tony Blankley, twice in The American Thinker here and here as well as at Pajamas Media — where prescient reviewer Bernard Chapin labeled it “the most important book of the year.”
And, yes, as was true with Paine, Stowe and Goldwater’s books, Liberty and Tyranny drew critics, in this case a review in the Weekly Standard by Peter Berkowitz..
While Levin answered Berkowitz himself in the American Thinker, it is hard to resist summoning one particular line of logic from Berkowitz this week following the 2010 election results. In a review panning Liberty and Tyranny while making what Berkowitz said was the “compelling case” for moderation, Berkowitz said this:
Without a determined effort to reach out to independents, conservatives and Republicans are doomed to long-term minority status because the number of those identifying as Republicans has plunged while the number of those identifying as independents has surged.
Independents responded to the moderate Republican 2008 nominee John McCain by giving him a moderate 43% of the independent vote. In 2010, with what Berkowitz faulted as Levin’s “fierce polemic” being literally waved in the streets, independents gave 55% of their vote to Republicans.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
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