Mark Levin: Chief Justice of the Airwaves

(The following is an excerpt from The Right Frequency.)

Perhaps no other radio host can speak words that inform, enlighten, crystallize thinking and still be entertaining the way Mark Levin does. While critics have described the program as “anger theater,” it is more passion than anger. Levin goes through rants, and throw out terms like “New York Slimes” referring to The New York Times and “Hillary Rotten Clinton,” referring to the former first lady and secretary of state, and telling know-nothing callers, “get off the phone you big dope.” But he also delivers monologues that are quite professorial.
Levin can be most accurately described as a very passionate conservative with a great sense of humor and even greater intellect. His show with 8.5 million listeners became prominent during the Bush years, the program and Levin became a true political force during the Obama administration thanks largely to Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny,” that became a cultural phenomenon and proved that ideas matter. Levin was not a trained broadcaster, or aspiring media star from the beginning. Rather, he was a whiz kid who leaped into the Reagan movement in 1976 and stayed on board through the revolution in the 1980s.

Levin skipped his senior year of high school to go to Temple University, where at the age of 19 graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to the local school board, making him the youngest school board member in the state of Pennsylvania at the time. He graduated from Temple Law School at 22, and then became active in politics.

He was a foot soldier for Reagan’s effort at the state level in Pennsylvania to rest to the Republican nomination away from incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976, a losing battle that still saw Reagan come extraordinarily close.

He was then part of the Reagan revolution in 1980, when Reagan won the nomination and trounced Jimmy Carter to become president
Levin was deputy assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, and Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior before he moved up to the Associate Director of Presidential Personnel and eventually became the Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese.

After his career in government, Levin went into private practice and later became the president of the non-profit Landmark Legal Foundation, based in Leesburg, Virginia, where he lives and broadcasts his radio show from. As president of Landmark Legal, he became an enemy of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, over their questionable funding of political campaigns. He also brought legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and other federal agencies regarding federal grants. While many public interest non-profits tend to be press release factories, Landmark Legal was never a publicity hound, working quietly and taking press calls as
they came, but hardly ever calling a press conference.

“Landmark Legal Foundation is a great passion of mine because it is a relatively small legal group which has done truly amazing things both before I came here and now that I am here,” Levin said.

“And we have enormous challenges. Our opponents are much more heavily funded and more numerous.”
A fan of talk radio for 30 years, he became a frequent legal analyst, penning op-eds for National Review and other publications, and appearing as a guest on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

Limbaugh gave him the name “F. Lee Levin,” jokingly after the famous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. In 2001, the American Conservative Union honored him with the Ronald Reagan Award.

After Hannity reached national syndication, Levin became a frequent guest and occasional guest host. Hannity gave him the name “The Great One,” a phrase callers to the show continue to use.

Levin took to radio well enough that in 2002, WABC gave him a Sunday afternoon program.

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