Skip to main content

tv   In Depth  CSPAN  January 5, 2014 12:00pm-3:01pm EST

12:00 pm
the former reagan administration official will talk about the role the federal government from a recent supreme court decisions in the upcoming tourney for tino actions. his syndicated radio talkshow host is the author of five nonfiction book, including rescuing sprite, liberty and security and is 2013 release, liberty and ants. >> host: author mark with income and your most recent book, restoring the american republic, you proposed amendment to the constitution, including term limits for members of congress, a repeal of the 17th amendment or the senate, establishing term limits for supreme court justices, limiting federal spending, limiting federal taxes, limiting the federal bureaucracy. which of these and most important to you? >> guest: they are all of the same genre.
12:01 pm
.. the goal or the purpose of the books to not only talk about how to revive the constitution and restore the republic, but to inform people on what the republic is supposed to look like, how the constitution is supposed to function and to move some of the decision making away from the centralized government back to the state legislatures acting collectively as the framers intended.
12:02 pm
>> host: you write in the liberty amendments about the 17th amendment. the 17th amendment serves not the public interest, but the interests of the governing masterminds and their disciples. its early proponents advance, it is not because they championed democracy or the individual, but because they knew it would be one of several important mechanisms for empowering the federal government and unraveling constitutional republicanism. >> guest: right. the framers didn't create a pure democracy. that would be absolute nonsense and crazy. in fact, if you look at the constitution, it's very complex, what they created here. you have a value government with limited enumerated powers, three branches, each of which is supposed to be working with each other sometimes, checking each other. and, of course, you have the states where all the plenary power is supposed to exist, and the individual where all the individual sovereignty,
12:03 pm
obviously, exists. so this idea that direct elections is what the framers intended is not correct. they intended it for the house of representatives, and madison's notes make this clear. they debated this at length, what the senate was supposed to look like. they went back and forth with different models, but when it came to the senate, madison and the others made quite clear that you could not have the direct election of senators without creating this all-powerful, centralized national government. they wanted a federal republic, not an all-powerful, centralized government. and they even made this case to the states when it went to the states for the ratification of the constitution. they said, look, the senate is made up of individuals chosen by the state legislatures, so you're going to have a role in the federal law making process, among other things. so the federalists used the senate, among other things, and the nature of the senate to persuade the antifederalists to support the constitution. and if we had had direct
12:04 pm
election of senators in the original constitution, there the would not be an original constitution. the states would not have ratified it. furthermore, who do the senators represent? it's the most bizarre body man has ever created. there's two from every states, we get that, that was to balance the large states and the small states, but you have situations now where senators voted for, say, obamacare in states where the governor and the attorney general fought obamacare in court. and the state legislatures are trying to protect their citizens from obama. it's very bizarre. the senate today really is an odd construct. so the purpose of the senate was to empower the state legislatures and the federal law making process, not to have another ability to vote. >> host: recent rule changes in the senate to limit the filibuster, do you agree with
12:05 pm
those? >> guest: no. i think in the case of harry reid and the democrats in the senate, they abuse the rules, whatever the rules are. i'll give you an example. they were using the filibuster to block judicial nominees under george w. bush like no senate in american history. period. then they complain when they're in power and they can have the majority about the republicans not confirming executive officials quickly enough and not pushing through obama's legislation fast enough. and the very people who abused the filibuster rule -- and taught the republicans how to do it should the republicans choose to do it -- have now eliminated it for purpose of judicial nominees, the appellate level as well as executive officials. look, what the senate is today, today, is a rubber stamp for obama. harry reid might as well be in
12:06 pm
obama's cabinet. and this is a very odd thing because rather than protect the institution of the senate and the institution of congress which is what the framers intended, you actually have the majority in the senate today doing everything it can to support the executive branch in any way it can even if it means diminishing its own authority. this would be crazy to the framers. matter of fact, it would have been crazy during franklin roosevelt's period. you may remember franklin roosevelt tried to stuff the court. he tried to pack the court with liberal idealogues who agreed with him and his agenda. the individual who fought it the hardest was his vice president who'd been the former speaker of the house and many democrats opposed it, the democrats in congress, and they wouldn't go along. so you have to have people of integrity, people of virtue in whatever level of government we're talking about. we clearly don't have that in the senate or in most of our institutions today. >> host: one other issue that's come up is whether or not it's
12:07 pm
fair that a state like california, 50 million or so people, two senators; wyoming, less than a million people, two senators. >> guest: well, that's exactly the point. the two-senator issue dose to the fact -- goes to the fact that the constitution never would have been ratified by all the states, ultimately, if only the big states -- virginia, massachusetts and pennsylvania, to name three -- could have as many senators as they wallet. and this goes back -- as they want. this goes back to the point where the house of representatives is the house of the people, quote-unquote. direct elections, states based on their population. that's how you determine the number of members of the house. senate is a different institution. matter of fact, the senate was supposed to be considered in many ways, and i hate to shock people, as the house of lords. but it hasn't worked out that way. >> host: some of your other liberty amendments, to promote free enterprise, to protect
12:08 pm
private property, to grant the state's authority to directly amend the constitution, to grant the states authority to check congress and to protect the vote. number nine, to granted the states authority to directly amend the constitution. what do you mean by that? >> guest: that three-fifths of the state legislatures would be able to amend the constitution. look, today it takes one justice to amend the constitution, and they're doing it all the time. today it takes the president of the united states, as this president does, refusing to uphold the law, refusing to adhere to the law, refusing to acknowledge certain aspects of a particular law, changing a law like obamacare. they're constantly amending the constitution and amending statutes. congress passed obamacare, dodd-frank, these are blatantly unconstitutional laws that confer power on the administrative state and do other things that are outrageous. so the notion that three-fifths of the state legislatures should
12:09 pm
be able to amend the constitution should hardly be radical when the supreme court is, in essence, a constitutional convention every time it meets, same with congress, same with the president and his cabinet. in order for that to happen, we'd have to amend the constitution in the first place to allow the states to do that, which is one of the things i propose in my book. >> host: in your fist book, "men in black," you write: the supreme court in particular now sits in final judgment of essentially all policy issues, disregarding the constitutional limitations, the legitimate roles of congress and the president and the broad authority conferred upon the states and the people. >> guest: yeah. the progressives have won. and i don't know why they're complaining or challenging what i'm writing, you know? since before woodrow wilson and franklin roosevelt and so forth, they made clear what their objectives were; an all-powerful, central government. they didn't like this idea of checks and balances, they didn't
12:10 pm
like this idea of state sovereignty, and they did everything they could at the time to undermine that, to usurp that. so we have a supreme court now that sits in decision of virtually anything it wants to consider. look, whatever your opinion is, look what happened in california with proposition 8. hook what's happened with doma, with all these issues. we all sit restlessly, how's justice kennedy going to go, how's justice this one going to go, that one going to go? these are nine individual human beings. they're as imperfect as the rest of us. they're of blood, they're of skin, they're of bone, they're of brain matter, and the idea that a great republic with 310 million people has to await the decision of really one justice depending on how that justice swings or five justices to determine, you know, a particular social or cultural issue for the entirety of the nation is absurd. and the idea that there's no
12:11 pm
recourse whatsoever is absurd. and nobody, nobody can point to anything that took place at the constitutional convention or any of the state ratifying conventions that supports such a judicial oligarchy. there would be no constitution if that's what the constitution created, and it didn't. so one of my amendments, actually two of them, attempts to address this by term limiting supreme court justices, because my view is 12 years is enough whether you're a great justice or, in my view, not such a great justice. it's gotten way too political, and the other is that three-fifths of the state legislatures -- if they act within a two-year period -- can override a supreme court decision. and why shouldn't in this be recourse beyond one justice with the body politic, where the people of the united states if they can raise the resources and drive the agenda, can get three-fifths of the legislature,
12:12 pm
a soup majority, it's not that simple, to say, no, court, you're wrong. no, justice kennedy, you're wrong. why would that be so horrible? i don't think it would be. >> host: when you talk about your liberty amendments, are you calling for a constitutional convention? >> guest: no. there can be no constitutional convention. i'm calling for what article v calls for, a convention of the states. it's not a constitutional convention where everything is up for grabs. it is a convention of the states where two-thirds of the state legislatures make application to congress to have a convention. congress has no substantive role whatsoever. it's clear from madison's notes during the debates at the constitutional convention, and it's also clear from federalist 85 that was written by hamilton, it's a ministerial task. so two-thirds of the states basically call for a meeting.
12:13 pm
and rather than congress itself having the power to propose amendments, two-thirds of the states sending their delegates to this meeting, to this convention, they then come up with finish if they choose to -- amendments which then have to be sent to all the states. and you still need three-fourths of the states to ratify. >> host: mark levin, are these amendments doable? >> guest: god, i hope so. if not them in particular, something like them because otherwise, i think we're doomed. i think the trajectory of the nation is toward an out of control federal government that is becoming increasingly more centralized. you can see the increase -- and i don't mean to panic people -- in what i consider the police powers of the federal government. the idea that the irs is now going to enforce health care laws and things of this nature is really disgusting. it's preposterous. and i'm looking for a lawful, legitimate, civil,
12:14 pm
constitutional way -- this is in the constitution. i didn't want create article 5, the framers did -- to address an increasingly repress i have and centralized government. that's what george mason was concerned about. it was unanimously adopted by the constitutional convention and by the ratifying conventions this the states. i hope at some point thai doable. i mean, we've come a long way in six months. there was a meeting december 7th at mount vernon called the mount vernon assembly where a hundred state delegates met from 32 or 34 different states to begin the process of talking about this. in indiana the legislature's passed two bills to prepare for this, outlining how they would choose their delegates and what the authority of the delegates would be, and the governor signed it. i mean, we shouldn't fear this. people need to understand, from my perspective we are in a postconstitutional period in respects. the system is upside down.
12:15 pm
it's top-down rather than bottom-up, and it's going to get worse. and i'm trying to say let us use the constitution to save the constitution and restore the republic. >> host: in your book from 2012, ameritopia: the unmaking of america, you with talk about you taupe yangism. what is it? >> guest: it's a whole book. briefly put, what i'm saying is if you listen to the left and if you really understand the left, what they keep doing is promising they're going to create these perfect systems or these magnificent rube goldberg type systems. just surrender more of your liberty and your private property. we're going to improve our financial system, just give us more and more power in washington to control it. we're going to end poverty, just give us more and more of your wealth, we'll have this war on poverty. and on and on and on. and when it doesn't work, and it
12:16 pm
won't work because it's impossible, it's impossible for a few master mienlds in washington, d.c -- master mienlds in washington, d.c. no matter how big their administrative army is to know what 310 million people know if terms of their own lives, in terms of what benefits them and so forth. but that said, the problem is that it becomes increasingly more centralized. so that's the basic proposition. >> host: you write: utopianism is irrational in theory and practice for be it ignores or attempts to control the planned and unplanned complexity of the individual, his nature and mankind generally. utopianism's equality is intolerant of diversity, uniqueness, debate, etc., for utopianism's purpose requires a single focus. there can be no competing voices or causes, slowing or
12:17 pm
obstructing society's long and righteous march. >> guest: that's right. and you can see the attack on free speech whether it's television, a&e, "duck dynasty," whether you see it on our college campuses, the languages being hijacked, fewer and fewer ideas are allowed to be espoused. and it's really quite troublesome, to me. but in addition to that, the this utopianism notion, i call it utopian statism. and it always requires the federal government to have more and more power over the individual. and you can just listen to obama. and it's not just obama. you know, if you listen to the republican leadership, today sound like neostatists themselves. but obama in particular -- excuse me. i have the flu. i just want everybody to know i've been fighting it for three days. this utopianism, i mean, and it can never fail.
12:18 pm
i'll give you an example. when obamacare fails, what's the problem? and not enough money? not enough power? not enough bureaucrats? not enough something or another. it can never fail even though it's a complete failure. and this is the problem we constitutional conservatives have in fighting it. these folks are always talking about what can be, what should be rather than reality, what they've done and the damage that they've caused. and, you know, it is our responsibility to try and do a better job to explain that, i think. >> host: mark levin, in your book prior that to that, 2009, you talk about statism. how do you define that? >> guest: well, i wanted to write a book, a restatement of conservativism. recruiting a stating conservativism, you need to address liberalism. and then when i started to really think about it and, you know, do an enormous amount of research, starting to pull these
12:19 pm
things together, the names, you know, marxism, socialism, social democracy, liberalism, progressivism, i just decided to reach back to aristotle and use a word that kind of encapsulates all of it: statism. and so i can remember when i used that word, my editor said what's this word "statism" mean? well, statism is essentially those who believe in the power of a central government and less so in the power of the individual and lower levels of governing. and statism pushes the notion that government has as its purpose a good purpose which is the devouring of the civil society. and those of us who know enough about history and tyranny and liberty and so forth, we reject that idea. but you can see today the statists as i call them, some
12:20 pm
call them progressives or liberals, what have you, utopian statists more and more are devouring the civil society. so rather than the government existing in a limited form, you know, to insure that justice occurs -- and by that we mean legal justice, justice before the law; enforces contracts, takes care of basic necessities like national security, securing the boarder and so forth -- we have a federal government that is ubiquitous. it's hard to think of areas of our life where the federal government is not involved in some way. >> host: should liberty and tyranny, the liberty amendments, should they with read as a trilogy? >> guest: well, as an author, i would hope so. [laughter] but, well, one does work after the other. you know, liberty and tyranny, you know, it just took off. it was, as i say, sort of from
12:21 pm
the my perspective a restatement of conservativism because i was really sick and tired of the republican party and the republican leadership and john mccain and some of these others who were really mushing up the message and really didn't stand for a hell of a lot and really weren't explaining the principles of conservatives, conservativism and juxtaposing it to the left. and so i felt it was time for that. and ameritopia takes a much deeper, it's really a book on political philosophy, but takes a much deeper look at the left and juxtaposes that, the central figure, to conservativism. you know, this utopian statism as an example, it's not new. it's plato's republic. it's more utopia, it's hobbs' leviathan, and i try to point that out, this most aggressive form. it's marx's perfect worker's
12:22 pm
paradise. and i youngs juxtapose that to n locke, to charles demontague, to the framers of the constitution where you can really see the genius, the brilliance of liberty and then the bleakness and the darkness of tyranny. and i make the point that the left today, the statists today, really their philosophy is nothing new. it's steeped in many of the old philosophers who were preaching're in a fictional or nonfictional way the power of the state. and the power of the state is our undoing. >> host: mark levin, who's your favorite philosopher? >> guest: that's impossible. it's a good question, but it's impossible. there's so many. i mean, locke would be one of them. locke, in my view, really laid out the most cohesive or
12:23 pm
comprehensive case for the civil society and the nature of man and natural law and had an enormous influence on our founding fathers. he was most-read philosopher during the revolutionary period, john locke was, by the colonists. and month skew, which is one of the reasons i have both of them in the book, ameritopia, was one of the most widely-read philosophers during the constitutional period. his argument for three separate branches of government, he's the one that maybe not first proposed, but most predominantly proposed it. so, and, you know, adam smith and david hume, and i can go through a whole list of them. modern day, i guess i would say that people consider them philosophers, sort of milton friedman, high yak, men of that -- hayak, men of that sort.
12:24 pm
and there are many others, i'm sure i can't remember them all. not one in particular, but all together. and by the way, the framers were well read on -- obviously, not men who didn't exist at the time, but many of the men at the time and before their time who did exist, they were well of informed about the enlightenment, about what had taken place before history. you look at jefferson, the declaration of independence borrows heavily from locke's second treatise on government. the constitution borrows heavily from montasgue's laws. these are the philosophers and others, many others, who should be the focus of our educational system, who should be the focus of our public discussion. but i fear other than a very small percentage of the population, most people have never heard of them and certainly don't know much about
12:25 pm
them. so i try to do my best to spread the word. >> host: who's on the other side? >> guest: the processer ifs on the other side -- philosophers on the other side? well, marx and edge ls. i think when people talk about progressivism or democratic socialism or even liberalism,of them may not realize -- many of them may not realize how much they take from marx in one form or another. doesn't mean you have to round up people and put them in gulags, although that clearly has been done. the european socialists borrowed heavily from marx. i think the progressives at the turn of the last century borrowed from marx. this whole distributing wealth and radical egalitarianism and so forth, these are all marxist. but that said, marx talked about the withering away of the state. the problem is as lenin himself said, we can't figure out how that works.
12:26 pm
the state never withers away, in fact, the state becomes oppressive, horrific and all powerful. >> host: and once the state is under the control of the proletariat, its objectives will generally include the following ten tenets: yeah. i'd say that we've covered, what, six or seven or eight of those? that's there marx. and the communist manifesto. and that's, those are his ten planks. and i think six or seven of those you just mentioned we've adopted.
12:27 pm
so, look, the so-called progressives and the progressive era, these people clearly rejected -- but let me put it to you this way, you cannot be a utopian statist and support increasingly centralized government and the diminution of individual liberty and state authority and support our constitution. i mean, it's just not possible. and this is why i say we're in a postconstitutional period. and the trajectory's completely in the wrong direction. it's increasingly centralized. i mean, today it's health care. god knows what it'll be tomorrow. but the fact of the matter is what these people are are pushing on the left and have been pushing is, is not within our constitutional framework. as a matter of fact, it attacks our constitutional framework. so you cannot be -- i just want the liberals out there listening to understand -- you cannot be a
12:28 pm
hard-line liberal or as i call it a statist and support the constitution. you simply can't and you don't. >> host: we've talked about statists, we've talked about utopianism. another book that you use in "men in black," originalism. and you quote robert bork, and you say, this is robert bork talking: originalism seeks to promote the rule of law by imparting to the constitution a fixed, continuous and predictable meaning. then you go on to write: originalists object to the judiciary grabbing power in the name of advancing a social good or remedying some actual or perceived injustice. >> guest: a couple of points there. first of all, the idea that the courts -- let's take the supreme court -- is this wonderful institution that never gets it wrong is simply preposterous. it was the supreme court that issued the dred scott decision. it was the supreme court that
12:29 pm
issued the plessy v. ferguson decision. itfrom my perspective, the supre court that issued roe v. wade, these are inhumane, horrific, in some cases genocidal decisions. because these are imperfect human beings, and that's been my point, and that will continue to be my point. i have no problem with a court system, with an implied judicial review power because it's implied. an implied judicial review power where the courts or the justices understand the limitations on their roles. on the other hand, when they don't, there has to be recourse to this. short of a constant national loggerhead situation where one group feels this way and one group feels another way. and that's why i propose that the state legislature, three-fifths of them, have the powers to override a supreme court decision. wouldn't it have been wonderful if three-fifths of these state legislatures had overridden the the dred scott decision, as an
12:30 pm
example? but there's a lot in there, in those one or two lines that i can address. i mean, the whole notion of the judiciary today as having the final word, um, season has to have of a final -- somebody has to have a final word at some point. i get that. but when the final word is so outrageous or so disconnected from the constitution from a perspective of a large segment of the community, of the nation, then the final word really doesn't have legitimacy, particularly if the court does it in a way where the court steps outside its bounds with. as for this notion of originalism, it simply means this without getting into the different disputes and there are about what it means among originalists, what it simply means as a general matter is this: when a judge or a justice is deciding a constitutional matter as opposed to a statutory matter or a matter of equity and so forth, they are to try to
12:31 pm
discern what the framers meant, first, by the words in the constitution, then by the supporting historical record. and if none of that exists, that doesn't give them the option of going wildly into the darkness, imposing their personal policy preferences on the nation. nothing gives them that power. so you can have originalists like a scalia and thomas who approach their job properly but come up with a different result. that happens. and that's the key. it's not the result, it's the manner in which you seek to interpret the constitution and enforce the constitution, not necessarily the result that comes from that. so the alternative to that is you have a handful of lawyers who wear black robes who you call your honor who happen to get on the supreme court who impose their own wishes, who rewrite the constitution, who do
12:32 pm
whatever the hell it is that they want to do, and that is lawlessness. so, you know, lawlessness in the supreme court is a problem. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to booktv's "in depth" program. this is our monthly program with one author looking at his or her body of work. this month it's author, radio show host, lawyer, mark levin. he has written five nonfiction books beginning in 2005, "men in black: how the supreme court is destroying america." and then in 2007 a book we haven't discussed yet but we will, "rescuing sprite: liberty and tyranny," came out in 2009. "ameritopia," in 2012, and this past year, "the liberty amendments: restoring the american repluck." 202 is the area code if you'd like to participate in the conversation, 585-3882 if you live in the east and central time zones, 585-3881 for those
12:33 pm
of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. and if you can't get through on the phone lines, you can send a tweet @booktv our twitter handle. you can also make a comment on our face book page, and finally, you can send an e-mail to mr. levin, where'd you grow up? >> guest: i grew up outside of philadelphia in a township called chel tonham for most of my youth in a community called elkin's park. >> host: why did jack and norma live there? >> guest: that's a good question, because they were born in philadelphia, and they started a nursery school and day camp right outside of philadelphia in springfield township, pennsylvania. so pulling back just a little, i
12:34 pm
was originally raised in erdenhime, and then we moved to the other township which wasn't far away. so they were small business people. my mother was a former teacher. my father was a artist, and they started that business together, and they ran it for almost 20 years. >> host: are they still living? >> guest: they are. my father's 88, my fore's 82. -- mother's 82. they are just, you know, they're wonderful. -- >> host: still in the philly area? >> guest: they live in florida. and be i have an older brother, doug, who lives in philly, a younger brother, rob, who lives in virginia. and my parents were role models for us. i mean, my belief in this country, my love of this country, my desire to do what i can in my own role, in my own way to preserve it, that comes from my parents. the notion of hard work wasn't just taught to us, i saw it how
12:35 pm
they worked 15, 18, 20 hours a day to make it work. and after they were done with the school and the day camp and sold it, they started a small store in pennsylvania which sold furniture, things of that sort. >> host: why'd you go to law school? >> guest: because i had to. i wanted to be a lawyer. i went to law school. i mean, i -- i don't know why. i mean, i feel i could have been a lawyer without having gone to law school, but that's the system, so you've got to go through the system. because i wanted to deal with these issues. i mean, you need that certificate. you know, you need that diploma in order to be able to do what i do in another part of my life which is as president of landmark legal foundation. so i don't just write and talk about these things. we try and litigate around these issues, whether it's the epa or
12:36 pm
obamacare, immigration and so forth. so i felt that that degree would give me a tool i needed in order to advance that i consider the cause of liberty. >> host: and how did you use that degree? or how do you use that degree? >> guest: well, that degree -- by the way, i don't know that i could actually find the diploma anywhere. i'm sure it's hanging somewhere. why i use it? as the president of landmark legal foundation. but i also use it in my radio show to analyze court decisions and other issues that may come up and also in my writings. i'm not sure the degree itself really gave me an edge in terms of my own studies and drawing from scholarship and writing and so forth. it didn't hurt, but, you know, i was in a hurry. i got out of high school early, i got out of college early. i wanted to get out of law school early, but the dean wouldn't let me. so i wanted to get through all that and jump into what i'm
12:37 pm
doing to do. >> host: you worked with ed meese. >> guest: great man, great mentor. he was attorney general of the united states. i was, among other things, his chief of staff. this notion of originalism, he reintroduced it and promoted it in the 1980s as ronald reagan's attorney general, which was absolutely crucial. we had some hectic times there because the left hated him because he was so effective. so they would try and unleash prosecutors and so forth. but the fact of the matter is, he was a really effective, forward-thinking attorney general. so a lot of the people you actually see on the courts today or in different organizations promoting liberty and the constitution and so forth worked in the meese justice department in one unit or another, one division or another. so there's a whole army of
12:38 pm
conservatives/libertarian constitutionalists out there who got their first job or the most prominent job in the meese justice department. >> host: how did you get from chief of staff to ed meese to a radio show? [laughter] >> guest: wow. well, i'll tell you, let me put it way, i've always been enamored or talk radio. i'm 56. when i was a teenager, i would listen to the transistor radio outside philadelphia, to talk radio in philadelphia but more often in new york. and i would listen to various hosts there, gene shepard, barry farber, my favorite was bob grant who just passed away, and i just want to say one thing quickly about him. grant was an icon in talk radio. he was always very gracious and kind to we, and he will be deeply missed because he, he
12:39 pm
really helped blaze the trail for conservative talk radio today. so i'd listen to him, and i wrote the local radio station, it was wcau at the time, i think it's wpht now. and asked if i could do a talk show. i was 16 at the time. they let me in, i did one show, and that was the end of that. it wasn't intended to be a permanent show, but probably to get me off their backs. i wasn't planning on making it a career. and then over time in the '90s and in the early 2000 i was often on cable tv debating a clinton impeachment or what have you. and then, you know, i was a big fan of my friend, rush limbaugh, who's a mentor of mine, a big fan of sean hannity who's a mentor of mine. and i subbed for rush, but i subbed numerous times for hannity when he would take
12:40 pm
vacation. and the program director said, you know, i think you have a knack for this, would you like to try a sunday show? he said, now, we can't pay you anything. i said, that's fine, and i tried it. and sean kept prodding me to do it. and so i did it for a little over a year, and then i guess they wanted me to do more, to now i'm doing more, and now we have a very successful syndicated show. so that occurred post-reagan administration. i'm not sure if there was one specific thing that did it. it just kind of came together. >> host: what makes for a good radio talk show host? what's that key ingredient? >> guest: integrity. not being a phony. not getting on the air, listening to consultants telling you to talk about bologna
12:41 pm
sandwiches, to lighten up, talk about this, that or the other. you know, to try to get to the millennials, to try and -- be yourself. have integrity. have substance. be compelling. and all of that, hopefully, is interor taping. don't be be a -- entertaining. don't be a circus clown, you know? don't be a clapping seal. the most successful talk radio hosts, in my view, it's not something you can learn, it's not something you can teach. you either are or you are not. you either come through that mic and are compelling as your own personality, your own thinker, your own substantive person, or you're not. and you can tell when people are peaking. the audience -- faking. the audience, the other thing i would say is the audience is smart. the audience is really smart. particularly in talk radio. so don't act like they're stupid, and don't talk down to them, and don't try and mislead them. my radio audience the most
12:42 pm
important -- is the most important thing i have in radio. my radio audience is what makes me successful. otherwise i'd be talking to the walls, you know, i'd be talking to the ceiling. and have respect for your audience. so i try to come in every evening when i do my show hours and hours and hours of preparation, of thought, of what i might say that is interesting, that might entertain as well and that affect people's lives. so, you know, i crack jokes, i get angry. you'll see my, you know, all moods, personality. that's the nature of the beast. that's the nature of every human being. but as i say, integrity is crucial and having respect for your audience. >> host: you don't do much tv anymore, do you? >> guest: i don't do a lot of tv unless i want to do it or need to do it. i figure what i have to say, i say on the radio every day.
12:43 pm
people want to hear it, they can hear it. i'm not into tv that much. it's not to say i don't like it when i do it, but, you know, the nearest studio's 40 miles away. that's an 90-mile round -- 80-mile round trip. and to sit there for five minutes and listen to some liberal in my left ear while i'm trying to get some comment out, it seems like a waste of time to me. you never know, maybe i'll do more of it. we get invitations all the time, and i do appreciate the invitations, i just don't accept many. accepted yours. >> host: we appreciate that. how much anonymity do you have? >> guest: well, my face is on all these books, so the last one i asked them to take it off. >> host: why? i noticed that. >> guest: well, how many of my faces do people need to see? [laughter] and if you google me, there's a sal pictures -- southbound pictures of me.
12:44 pm
i don't go to a lot of parties, i don't want go to a lot of events. maybe i'll speak three or four times a year. i don't do paid speeches, even though i get the offers to do those. you know, i like my anonymity, but on the other hand, i understand the times where i don't have anonymity. i have a great life. i'm blessed. i enjoy every aspect of it. anonymity or no anonymity. >> host: well, mark levin is our guest, and now it's your turn to talk to him. by the way, his most recent book is the liberty amendments: restoring the american republic. that is our featured book this month on booktv's book club. you'll see book club at the top of click on book club, and you'll be able to participate in the conversation with other viewers, other readers of the liberty amendments. as, and this will be for the entire month of january.
12:45 pm
laura in new york city, please go ahead. you're the first call for mark levin. >> caller: hi. i've listened to mark levin's show every night for years now, and from what he means by liberty is the criminal elite looting this country clean, impoverishing the middle class and paying no taxes on the wealth they've stolen. what he means by liberty is to public money for social security, medicare, medicaid, education or the rebuilding of our crumbling infrastructure. he is a prop begannist for the criminal elite posing as a right-wing conservative. and his liberty amendments are to bring to an end once and for all in the united states of america any political representation for anyone in this country by the criminal elite. >> host: that was laura, new york city. >> guest: she figured me out. i confess, i'm part of the criminal elite.
12:46 pm
, i confess. i get callers like this all the time. one of the things that c-span does is you give 'em 60 seconds. i give 'em about 6 seconds. so what do you want me to say? there's -- yeah. >> host: why do you give them six seconds? >> guest: because air time is precious. i take the audience and their time very, very seriously, and kooks, you know, i could play a kook for ten minutes. that's are entertaining. i could go back and forth with her, but what's the point if is she's a kook. >> host: because she disagrees with you? >> guest: not only because she disagrees with me, as most kooks would with, not that they necessarily disagree with me, but that they're kooks. no, but that i don't believe in any public spending what so far. i believe in the constitutional system. there is public spending under the constitutional system. i'm not an anarchist or anything of the sort. the other thing is the criminal elite taking everybody's money,
12:47 pm
i'm not in the government. how am i part of the criminal elite, taking everybody's money? like i say, i could sit here and try and rationally respond to that, but it's like the peep hoel in the mental institution where the guy's bouncing off the padded walls. what am i supposed to do, have a conversation? it's entertaining, but i'm not going to have a conversation. >> host: this e-mail, this is from andrew in shorewood, wisconsin. i've been a listener of mark's radio show for years. recently, i've been listening to noam chomsky on youtube, and i was struck that the language mr. chomsky used was strikingly similar to that used by mr. levin using terms like statism and tyranny. i find it interesting that these two men would use such similar language and yet seem to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum. wondering if you would comment on that. >> guest: he should stop using the words that i use, that would help. listen, he's a left-wing kook.
12:48 pm
anticipator, professor, you are. -- that's right, professor, you are. dressed up as a professor. and he is a radical, utopian statist. why is it my responsibility to bring raggalty toker -- rationality to irrational people? i can't explain chomsky. from my perspective, chomsky hates american and its constitutions. he would disagree with me. how am i supposed to make sense of of him or that? i can't. i just don't know how guys like him get tenure. well, actually, i do, because academia's full of people like that. but he can use whatever words he wants, i explain myself, and he can explain himself. >> host: janis is calling from smithfield, utah. hi, janis. >> caller: hi. first of all, mr. levin, i am a great admirer of yours. i think you're a national treasure. so don't let the kooks get you
12:49 pm
down. >> host: janis, why do you think he's a national treasure? >> caller: i think he's got so many things right and so many -- he's got a wonderful mind. [laughter] i just admire his wonderful mind. but there was one thing i wanted to ask him, and that is as a conservative i'm, i've been concerned about the division among conservatives not over goals, but over tactics. it seems to be kind of creating a fission that i think's going to be very detrimental in the success of the goals we all want to achieve such as, you know, abolishing obamacare and stuff like that. because we argue amongst ourselves over the tactics of how to get there, and i wondered if you felt like that was a real concern or what your answer to that is. >> guest: i think that's a good question. the problem is, um, the republican establishment, the part of the ruling class, they've got withen their way.
12:50 pm
they nominated mccain, and he lost. today nominated romney, and e lost. -- he lost. mitch mcconnell and the boys in the senate are pretty much the same ilk. boehner, unfortunately, is pretty much the same ilk. some of us have just drawn the conclusion that the country is perilously close to the abyss. when you look at now over a trillion dollars in understood funded obligations -- unfunded obligations. when i finished liberty and the amendments, we were talking about a $17 trillion fiscal operating debt, now it's $17.3 and rising. these are unsustainable. the social security trustees say that social security's unsustainable. the medicare and medicaid trustees say that's unsustainable. obamacare's unsustainable. unless and until the republican leadership and the republican bureaucracy figures out a way to address this, that's not timid and not deceptive, the republican party's going to keep
12:51 pm
losing elections. it'll win one here and there, but the trajectory, as i say, not change. so from my perspective, the republican party has to get back to its roots, its grassroots, and become a party of principle again. not purity, but principle. it has to have positions that juxtapose the left and what this president and this administration is doing. also, unfortunately, when you look at the prior republican administration, the debted grew the highest -- the debt grew the highest in american history until this democrat administration. so i think we have to be truthful to ourselves about what's taken place and rational about what our responses should be. and i don't know how this is going to work out, but i think the days of the republican establishment and bureaucracy just getting their way without challenge, i think those days are over. >> host: and from the liberty amendments, mr. levin writes: the federal government consumes nearly 25% of all goods and services produced each year by the american people.
12:52 pm
yearly deficits routinely exceed $1 trillion. the federal government has incurred a fiscal operating debt, more than 17 trillion, far exceeding the total value of the annual economic wealth created by the american people which is expected to reach about 26 trillion in a decade. it has accumulated unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs exceeding $90 trillion which is growing at a 4.6-6.9 trillion dollars a year. this e-mail from miles schmidt: do you believe -- to follow up on what you were just talking about -- do you believe the gop will realign around constitutional principles without a credible threat of defection by its base to to a third party? >> guest: i don't support this third party stuff because that would mean endless victories by the hard left. that's number one. and reagan didn't support it either, and i agree with him. i think what's needed, to cut to
12:53 pm
the chase here, is a new republican party. and i think you need a new republican party, it seems to me, about every 25 years. we have people who are effective at climbing the ladder within congress and getting to leadership positions, but that doesn't make them statesmen. and they're not statesmen. and they're not effective at articulating very much. so my concern now is that the republican party needs to be improved. you know, i'm not a flag waver for the republican party. i've been a republican all my life. i've been a mag waver for liberty -- flag waver for liberty, and we need a party institution that's going to represent more of us. unfortunately, you have people in the republican party that have been in congress 30 years, 25 years, and they're part of the problem. they may say some things, some platitudes which people will quote, but they're ineffective, and they're timid. and so we need a new republican
12:54 pm
party. >> host: from ameritopia, you write: the tea party movement is a hopeful sign. its members come from all walks of life and every corner of the country. these citizens have the great -- have the spirit and enthusiasm of the founding fathers, proclaim the principles of individual liberty and rights in the declaration and insist on the federal government's compliance with the constitution's limits. >> guest: thank god for the tea party. the tea party is the modern day conservative constitutional movement. or -- and without it, the debt would be bigger, the unfunded liabilities would be bigger, and the federal government would be even more consolidated. so i think it is a crucially-important movement, and i think it needs to grow. and i think if the republican party wants to go to war, apparently it does with the tea party movement, then the republican party's going to lose. because the tea party movement is, as i say there in
12:55 pm
ameritopia, is really nothing more than millions of citizens, tax-paying, hard working citizens who have had enough. who see the over 90, over $100 trillion now in unfunded liabilities, see the massive federal debt just more and more and more, see the fecklessness of the republican party and the radicalism of the democrat party, and they say enough is enough. and so, of course, both parties turn on the tea party and attack it, as do the media. which is to be expected. this is a washington-centric mentality versus the people. that's exactly why i wrote "the liberty amendments." and the whole state of the convention process is to bypass the federal bure rack si, is to bypass the federal courts exactly as the framers intended at the constitutional convention. every single one of them who attended voted for article very so that we -- v so that we, the people, can at least make an effort to take our republic back. that's not to say every state
12:56 pm
legislature's great. not too far or from here you have maryland. that's a disaster. you've got california, illinois -- i get it. there's a lot of disastrous, dark blue state legislatures out there. but a lot of the state legislatures are good or more positive. and, you know, if we can get a movement going, and i think it's starting but time will tell, and i feel that the worse things get in this country, the more likely this movement will pick up steam whether it's in two years or 25 years. i have no way of knowing. the fact of the matter is, the only serious recourse to what's going on today, it just is, and as i say in the last chapter of the "the liberty amendments, "even the most intelligent, politically-muscular conservative who's elected president, and god knows i want one, cannot reverse what's going on in this country today. can slow it down, as reagan did, can try and pull some of it back
12:57 pm
as reagan did, but reagan leaves office, george h.w. bush comes in, he essentially denounces the reagan agenda, and off we go again with the fdr model. so if people are serious about this, they should turn to the framers of the constitution and look at article v where george mason said should congress become repressive, he's your recourse. >> host: so if you're living in kentucky, would you support mitch mcconnell in the primary and/or the general? >> guest: i couldn't support mitch mcconnell, not that he's not necessarily a nice person or so forth, but he's an ineffective republican leader. he's an ineffective senator, in my personal view. that whole immigration bill that went through the senate he sat back, he didn't take a lead in trying to fight it, then he shows up and votes against it. this whole notion of the president having the power, in's is sense, to veto congress
12:58 pm
should congress decide not to raise the debt ceiling, mitch mcconnell came up with that idea and said it should be temporary, of course. nothing's temporary. not only that, congress doesn't have the constitutional power, the power of the purse, to anybody, a president, an entity, anything of the sort. and so, you know, i remember when he fought mccain-feingold and was standing up for the first amendment, and i was very proud of him. i really was. but that's the first and last thing that i can remember. so, no, i wouldn't personally vote for him. >> host: len is calling from cedar hurst, you're on booktv with mark levin. conclude hi. >> caller: hi. i think that mark would probably call me a kook along with that first caller. i think the persons that she was referring to were the koch brothers, amongst most. you know?
12:59 pm
the koch brothers are the ones that fund the heritage foundation which pays for half of this guy's commercials, and they're the ones that fund other organizations that buy his books that create them as bestsellers, and then they give them away because nobody would really want to spend the money on them. [laughter] and the koch brothers are the people who pay for the buses that take the tea party people to their rallies because they really -- and they also now are paying the people who organize, who hand out the leaflets, people who don't necessarily even know that they're being paid for by the koch brothers in order to get people to rallies. which, of course, for white, older people is a very easy thing to rally against. >> host: so, len, all that said, what's wrong with that? is that, is that wrong that they, you know, if that's the
1:00 pm
case? >> caller: let's talk about tyranny. i mean, basically -- simply. basically, what mr. levin is arguing about is that the tyranny comes from people organizing to decide that while in the preamble it says that we should be promoting the general welfare, and he remembers that there are 310 million people in this country, he can't accept the possibility, he can't accept it, and i'm a kook who can't speak for six seconds on his show because i can't get through the screener, okay? >> guest: can't imagine why. >> caller: well, you can't get through the screener -- >> host: all right, you know what? -- >> guest: we have a new line here at c-span. it's called the kook line. now, let me try and remember some of this, because i can't remember all of it. number one, the koch brothers don't fund anything that i do. number two, no groups buy my books. number three, i can't remember everything. >> host: buses, leaflets.
1:01 pm
>> guest: i have no idea about buses or leaflets, but so what if they do? gee whiz, the democrats never use big money to fund anything. let's see, what was the other thing he said, do you remember it all? yeah, i know, it was so memorable. but -- i can't think of everything that he said. but -- >> host: he couldn't get through on your screeners. ing? that's a good screen or. [laughter] sometimes they sneak through, sometimes they don't. but everything he said there is a lie. every single thing he said there is a lie. >> host: but to the larger issue or to another issue -- >> guest: yes. >> host: -- of talking with and reading people you disagree with, do you do that on a regular basis? >> guest: i like to have discussions with people i disagree with. you know, substantive, intelligent decisionings. but if a guy calls me and says somebody funds something that they haven't funded, you know, if they're pushing the left-wing
1:02 pm
conspiracy crap, what am i supposed to do, sit there and have a discussion with the guy? i cut 'em off and say get the hell off my phone. call somebody else and have a good time. now, if you want to discuss the amendment process, the the constitution, unemployment, the debt, if you want to have a serious discussion about those things, fine, i'll have a serious discussion about those things. but this, you know, the accusations that are -- what am i supposed to do? i cut them off. >> host: mark levin, do you enjoy the writing process? >> guest: i love it. you know, it's a lot of work because i actually write it. i actually research it. i actually do scholarship. and i have to spend every weekend and every night after my show working on these things. so it does take a lot of time away from other things. but it's just something i believe very strongly in and, look, there's a discussion now
1:03 pm
at least in part of the country about the amendment process. .. what really drives me in trying to push sales is to get my books and my arguments into as many hands as i possibly can, because my books are intended to try and
1:04 pm
dissect people's thinking, give them ideas, maybe things they haven't thought about, and as i say, i can't imagine other authors aren't thinking the same way but that's where i'm coming from. i had one of the greatest editors in publishing, mitchell eye verse, or ivers, and he is terrific and has an eye for this. he might say you might want to re-organize this chapter or that chapter, but he is also gracious about how hes to it, knowing full well i'm a little stubborn, like i think most authors are but i certainly am. he might say, may not want to include that, and i'll say, i am, and -- so i like to bounce things off him. in the end i make the decision. has there ever been head-butting? no. have i ever turn in a book where they've said, good lord, no:
1:05 pm
they've said they're thrilled to have the book because i hand them the complete book, with all the end notes, all the sourcing in the book, all the arguments in the book, all the chapters in the book. i put it together and i hand it in, and at the end of this desk, for instance, they returned a few of them to me. and i don't know that other authors do that. other conservative authors do that. i just don't know. but in my case, because i have no ghost authors or cowriters, they're just glad i turn them in and turn them in on time. they're things i want to write about, things i want to talk about. life is short, and they don't need to say, you've missed your tedline. i'm excited to get my book in and emand i'm ready with the next one. it's hard work, and it is, because i do a radio show, and i'm not a done until 9:00 at night eastern time, and that mean is work until 3:00 in the morning when i'm working on a book, and i work every weekend, so it does have an effect on
1:06 pm
your social life, but this is what i do, what love. people say to me what do you door in a hobby? this is what i do. it's a hobby, and it's work, and i love it. >> host: so, mr. live victim, what's -- levin, what's the next book? >> guest: i'm not going to reveal what the next book is yet. >> host: topic? >> guest: i think i'll call it -- i'm not going to get into it. i'm not even allowed to discuss it. >> host: are you allowed to discuss when it's coming out? >> guest: all right, we'll leave it there. i i wanted to tell the prior caller your name is not steve. >> host: this is jim in georgia. you're on book tv with author mark levin. >> hey, mark, and i think it's pete. anyway, one thing those kooks
1:07 pm
are good at is projecting, and i -- you mentioned earlier how you used to -- one thing, i'm always frustrated when i'm listening, is i agree wholeheartedly but i'm just -- hear one of you guys recount a conversation with mitch mcconnell or john boehner or anybody who gets in front of a camera somewhere and just says stuff that is absolutely not true. are you guys -- the platform you guys have, are you able to -- not necessarily put them in front of a camera but to at least speak to them and say, hey, what you said today is flat out wrong? >> guest: they don't talk to me anymore. i've never talked to john boehner in my life.
1:08 pm
i think i met him once. accidentally. several years ago. but i haven't heard from john boehner, and i don't -- used to get calls from mcconnell. we don't anymore, as you might imagine. i don't support his re-election. so, i don't initiate calls with politicians. some of them try to initiate calls with us, sometimes i'll take them, sometimes i won't. most time is don't. because some of them are my friends but i don't want to get too friendly with too many of them because it becomes much more difficult to speak about them and about what they're doing. so, i limit that as much as i can. >> host: so, speaker boehner's office called and said, hey, he'd like to talk with mark levin on the air? >> guest: on the air? hell, we've invited him to come on the air multiple times. he can come on the air. we'd love to talk to him.
1:09 pm
>> host: a tweet, ask mark about the left pointing to general welfare clause to justify their agenda. >> guest: that's it. that's what i forgot. the general welfare clause. it's funny, that is discussed at length in the liberty amendment. so, people who saw they're familiar with me and my books and so forthand -- so forth, many of themn't. the general welfare clause is not intended to neutralize all the rest of the constitution. you'll hear the left talk about it all the time. they'll say, the general welfare clause says, yes. what about all the rest of the constitution? and it's interesting because this issue did come up and the framers made quite clear that it is absurd to say that the general welfare clause would neutralize all the rest of the work that went into drafting and establishing the constitution, the specific powers of the
1:10 pm
different branches and the limited powers of the federal government, vis-a-vis the states and bill of rights and so forth. you can't just pass along and say because it affects the general welfare i'm going to pass this. what the framers meant by that is, it has to affect the general welfare and then has to meet all the other standards. so, in other words, they can't pass a law that is specific to say, twin, pennsylvania, when it comes to x, y, z. it has to have a general purpose. it's up to the state of pennsylvania to address local issues. so that's what is mentality by the general welfare clause, not to complete evil racing of the rest of the -- evisceration of the constitution, and this isn't an, ament anymore to argue that the general welfare clause is the power of the federal government to do whatever it wants to do. simply false.
1:11 pm
>> host: j.d. redding tweets: the problem of only relying on the framers for viewing the constitution is they sanctioned slavery. >> guest: they -- no. they didn't sanction slavery in the constitution. matter of fact, when the british kept importing slaves into the united states, into the colonies, because we didn't have much control over our borders then, either -- there's a provision in the constitution that specifically ends the emport addition of slavery. i would tell the gentleman to reed abraham lincoln, who is also cited in the book, and he praises the framers of the constitution, many of whom were slave owners, and he knew it. and he said, because they could not resolve this issue there and then, they left it to their
1:12 pm
progeny to do it, and that's what the declaration of independence does, as i've explained in my books, took as abraham lincoln explained over and over and over again, the same men who wrote and adopted the declaration of independence, which talks about the natural rights, the inailennable rights of individuals, not just white men, not just men, not just whites, but every human being, set the stage for at some point the abolition of slavery. this lincoln's position, it's my position, it's really the only rational position there is. why would you cop dem the constitution? you condemn the fourth amendment and the due process rights and probable cause and opposition to warrantless searches. you condemn the fifth amendment, condemn the first amendment and free speech and religious
1:13 pm
liberty? condemn all these amendments, which were also adopted by many of the framers who were slave owners. do you reject them, too? the rational position should be, what did these men create that is beneficial to this nation? what they created that is beneficial to this nation is a society, if they couldn't be completely free of slavery then, is free of slavery today, and that's what the constitution sets -- that's what the declaration of independence sets forth. in other words, it's set in motion. and the constitution, a governing document, set in place. so, i reject this idea that these men are to be dismissed, and one of the reasons george mason didn't sign the constitution was because he didn't think it went far enough on the matter of slavery. matter of fact the issue of slavery came up early during the
1:14 pm
constitutional convention in georgia and south carolina threatened to withdraw. so, here they were, trying to put a nation together, they couldn't resolve some of these very difficult and -- issues at the time, and i would say one other thing. if the constitution had failed there wouldn't be a united states, would there? there wouldn't have been a civil war, would there? and slavery wouldn't have been eliminated in the southern states, would it? no. those states would have been off on their own, maybe they form their own country. who knows what the future of those of states would have been. but because of the constitution, because we had a union, ultimately because of the civil war, it ended slavery, not just in parts of the northern states but throughout the unitees -- united states.
1:15 pm
>> host: todd wants to know if you would ever run for office. >> guest: no. >> host: why? >> guest: i think i can -- from my own perspective, think i can be more effective not being in office. imagine all the sound bites they'd pull up from my radio show and run with the 30-second ads. i give it no thought whatsoever. when i was younger i did. i thought about it. matter of fact i ran for office when i was in law school. i was 19 and i got elected to my local school board. i was 20, still in law school, and i did that for about three years, and i have calmed down since then. >> oo why the school board? >> guest: well, it's funny. they were raising taxes massively on the community, and only through property taxes could they do it. and i could see how it was hurting my parents and other
1:16 pm
people, and i decided to run, and i guess i -- for my own little community i created something akin to a tea party group but the committee for tax limitation, and while i was running in the republican party primary, i also established this committee for tax limitation and we would go door to door and have coffee crashes. i worked the community day in and day out and i won the primary and the general election, and i served nor three years until i lost pennsylvania. that get to rid of the desire to run for office. i've thought about it. i've thought about -- i -- the state delegate running against him because he was spending too much money, and he got nervous and everything like that. but i've thought about it. not in the last 20 years, though. >> host: do politicians come to you for endorsements?
1:17 pm
>> guest: yes. >> host: do you ever endorse? >> guest: yes. >> host: whoa who is your favorite politics today? >> guest: if i don't get trouble, have a number of favorite politics. ted cruz and mike lee and i like rand paul. now i'm going to get in trouble. members of the house or other senators -- >> oo marco rubio. >> guest: if disagray -- disagree with hi strongly on immigration and i agree with taxes and he introduced a bill to prevent obama -- he hopes -- from subsidizing the insurance companies which will clearly have to be done and clearly shouldn't be done. so, yeah, there's aspects of his record i like as well. >> host: 2016, jeb bush vs. hillary clinton. >> guest: disaster. a disaster for everybody. i don't know if that will happen or not. i hope not. i hope both parties do better
1:18 pm
than that. i mean, hillary clinton was a disasterrous secretary of state. the middle east is burning. obama likes to say, at least before kerry was appointed, the best secretary of state in history. what the hell is he talking about? her record is a disaster. and kerry looks like he wants to one-up her and make it even worse. constantly putting the pinch on israel and looking for some phony peace with the palestinians, and appeasing the iranian islamic regime in train. these folks are just -- it's a complete disaster, and you can see they're not taken seriously. the egyptian military, which runs egypt now, is now building ties with the russians, something that democrat and republican presidents have prevent since sadat. we're losing turkey as it's
1:19 pm
becoming increasingly islamist. saudi arabians are set up for this president, and these secretaries of state and so forth. the chinese have moved into the china sea now. all kinds of things going on globally that are hugely problematic, and that's because of the disastrous policies of this president and his secretaries of state. as for jeb bush, how many more bushes do we need? we have had two as president. jeb bush, trashing people who don't support him amnesty. pushing for this common core federal education mandate on the states. i mean, we have been there done that, and it's a disaster. how about we do this? republicans. how about we pick somebody who is more in line with reagan. how about we try to actually win a presidential election. we talk about liberty and private property rights, and free market capital limp and
1:20 pm
opportunity and wealth creation and own ebb is having a -- obama is having a big picture with unemployed people behind him. which is funny since probably most of them are unemployed and a result of his policies. wee why don't we have people who can stand up confidently, koa airportly, and advance our principles. don't have to be purists, just conservative. s. just don't think this is asking too much. why reject the one example two massive national landslides, reagan, and keep embracing the losers? i don't know. but i think two bushes is enough. let me put it that way. >> host: chris christie. >> guest: i don't care for him. he has a fairly terrible record in new jersey. they have the highest property taxes in the country. they did when he came in and still do today. he is weak on limited government. all these governors and state
1:21 pm
attorneys general who signed the brief against obamacare, christie refused and he still won't explain why he did it other than the lame argument he didn't want to spend the money. doesn't cost him anything to sign it. he has expanded medicaid now, which is a disaster for the states. one out every four dollars that the states budget spend on medicaid and it will go through the roof when the federal subsidies stop. he is pro-am necessary city, pro gun control. again, why would the republican party go to another northeastern republican. they went to romney. that failed. christie, that's not going to work. don't think his temperment will fly in much of the country. but, no, i'm not a fan. >> host: mark levin, who is sprite? >> guest: sprite was a dog that we owned, family and i, a
1:22 pm
shelter dog, fer shelter dog we ever had, and -- oh, gosh, how many years ago. i guess it's 2004, thereabouts. we adopted him, brought him into our home. he was sort of a blond, white dog so the family called him sprite because we had a dog that was black and white and we called him pepsi, so we had pepsi and sprite, like the drinks. and we only had him two years and he was a wonderful, wonderful dog, wonderful companion to our dog, pepsi, wonderful dog to us, and i have a huge heart for dogs, for animals generally, but dogs in particular, and about a year in the got sick, part of his skull sort of caved in, and a tumor, and he -- it was just very sad
1:23 pm
at the end there, we had to put him down. we never had put down a dog before. and it was extremely emotional and very, very upsetting -- to be honest i got very down for a period of months, and what is interesting about that -- maybe to people -- i don't know -- is i had in an early discussions with simon some schuster about writing a book on conservatives that became liberty and tyranny, and sold 1.3 million copies. then sprite passed away, and i told them i wasn't interested in writing anything. and then because of sprite. >> because of sprite -- >> guest: i just wasn't in the mood. because it hit me hard. and so they said, how about you write a book about your dog, and then you write the book on
1:24 pm
conserve tim because we really want you to write this book on conservatism so i did. and it's rescuing sprite, took me three months to write it. it was very difficult to write. but it was fairly quick, and then i remember my editor saying, you need to work on another book, and then he called me and said, slow down, let's focus on talking about rescuing sprite. what happened was it took off and went to number two or three on "the new york times" bestseller list, and it's a very personal book. people who have adopted shelter dogs or even if they haven't but have lost a dog or an animal and had to put them down, they get much solace out of this book, and i'm glad they do, and koch brothers had nothing to do with and it every penny i get from
1:25 pm
the book 0 goes to animal shelters. >> host: do you have a dog? sunny eave a dog called barney. he is a shelter dog, had him two years, maybe four or five years old, and the story with barney is, he was turned in by somebody to an animal shelter, a rural virginia county, and they don't keep them that long, one or two days, and they were going to put him down, but a volunteer there called friends of mine, a shelter that i'm called to, called lost dog and cat in virginia, arlington, virginia, and they sent their van over there picked up six or seven of them within hours of them being put to death, and guy to these adoption things from time to time. i still do. and i had lost pepsi. pepsi had died. about six or seven months earlier, and a buddy of mine and
1:26 pm
i were on the floor playing with the dogs, and this one in particular was very receptive to us, and he wanted to take him home but his wife said no. and then i wanted to take him home, and if waited a few days and called them and they said he available. they had him four weeks, long time, so he is my little buddy, a bundle of joy, and i think when i'm done with radio and all the rest of it i'm going to spend my time trying to save as many of these dogs as possible. >> host: sean in hawai'i, thank you for holding on, you're on with author mark levin. >> caller: i am from hawai'i, aloha. i agree with most of what you have been talking about earlier this morning, and seeing that it like to know -- thing that it like to know, if -- ever existed in our history and how long did
1:27 pm
it last or does it still exist? thank you. >> host: thank you, sean. >> guest: that is a great question. the answer is, yes, a republic that has ever been established, and what some of us are trying too do is restore it. no, it's not perfect. no country is going to be perfect. no government is going to be perfect. but we're not talking about perfection. we're talking about completely out of control and getting increasingly out of control. so, the kids and some have grandkids, want to take steps today to try to avert the end of what -- america won't end but the republic part will expend that's important. no nation is guaranteed existence in perpetuity and none of them do exist forever, but there's never been a perfect
1:28 pm
society, we just talked about the framers. they weren't perfect. but they were geniuses. and they were patriots. and they put everything on the line to establish this nation. and i think that we owe it to the next generation and generations behind us to do everything we can to restore this republic and re-establish constitutional government. we have young men and women overseas, 18, 19, 20, 25, putting their life on the line, one hell hole after not a, afghanistan and other places around the world. and they don't have these discussions you and i are having today or i'm having with the callers. they're there because they're americans and because they're there to protect america to protect our liberty and our constitution. and that's what they're -- they're not fighting, putting their lives on the line for obamacare or dodd-frank or
1:29 pm
unemployment compensation. they're putting their lives on the line because of america. the american republic. it seems to was we civilians who aren't putting our lives on the line, the least we can do is make the case here at home before it's too late, before we hollow out our society and defend our principles. >> host: steve wheeler, twitter does mark purposely exaggerate his views on radio? his books books and this intervw display more self-control. >> guest: laughing. i don't purposely exaggerate anything. i am a guest here on c-span. it's like being a guest at a wedding or being a guest at whatever, and you conduct yourself as a guest. now, c-span is not talk radio. when i do my show, as i said
1:30 pm
earlier, this program, the host has to have integrity, so if you're as passionate as i am about these issues and the future of the country, that comps across on the microphone. i don't do npr orthos people have to intentionally sit there and speak like zombies. that's what they're told to do and that's what they do. i am myself. on the radio, and i'm myself here, too. you're asking me intelligent questions so i'm giving you straight answers. if a kook calls i call him a kook. but i'm a guest here and i know how c-span conducts itself. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. this is our in depth program. this mark we're featuring mark levin. bruno, arizona, you're on the
1:31 pm
air. >> hi, mark. i enjoy your books immensely. i have all of them. i have a question about the liberty amendments because there was something that i've been thinking about since we have the occupant of the white house who changes laws at will, spends our money, driving us into oblivion, and does whatever he feels like he wants to do, wants to be a dictator, and we have a senate where harry reid is carrying his water constantly. i know that obama won't be impeached. do you have another idea that can be incorporated into the conviction the state that would allow the people to take other actions to get rid of a person like obama, because obviously right now we don't have a way of getting rid of him, and waiting
1:32 pm
until 2016 we may not have a country left, and as for the guy that was complaining about the koch brewers, he might realize george -- left wing organizations that was are out to destroy this country, but i really am interested in your idea. -- >> host: let's get an answer. thank you for calling in. >> guest: i'm a big fan thereof the koch brothers. they're capital lists and halted by the left and see the country going to help and want to do something about it. i want to salute the koch brothers and thank them. now, what else can we do? i mean, i don't know of anything else we can do. the brilliance of article 5 in the state convention process is
1:33 pm
it bypasses obama and harry reid and boehner and the court and the massive bureaucracy, and somebody might say, well, how is it -- if they don't comply with the constitution today, obama as an example -- what makes you think that it will comply with these amendments. that's the brilliance of the process. whether they comply or not, the states will decide what they states comply with. so if three-fifths of the state overturn a federal statute and obama wants to continue to implement the federal statute, then he is violating the constitution and the states need not comply. so, if you're going to have a president, like congress, that is so lawless now, that they blatantly violate something of that sort, there's no reason they states have toed a their what the -- to adhere to what the president and the congress are doing. we're making a constitutional
1:34 pm
argument and the others are not. so, hopefully people will -- my hope is more people will talk about this process, the more who learn about it, will be compelled to support it. >> host: from ameritopia you wrote, it was not a revolution of violence. it was revolution by bookkeeping and lawmaking. inasmuch as is was successful, the power of politics replaced business. this is the basic power shift of all the revolutions of our time. this shift was the revolution. >> guest: absolutely brilliant. whittaker chambers, and that comment in particular. the revolution has already occurred. the status or progressive revolution of 100 years ago, we're living in it right now, and what i try and do in -- actually all four of these books, men in black, liberty and
1:35 pm
tyranny, ameri-topia and the liberty amendments, is to discuss it at some length and make the case, and we do live in a largely post-constitutional period. there are some conservatives, quote unquotes, more than likely pseudo conservatives, who are perfectly happy with this and are prepared to accommodate it so they come up with so-called reforms, a little tax cut here, something on the edge over here, but will not address the constitutional issues in the foundational detect -- defects of the new deal and these other things that it created. so, there's some of that is skissism within the conservative moment, if there is a movement. they quotedded mondes burk
1:36 pm
speeding the status quo. he supported the revolution. and -- but the american revolution was considered rem pretty damn radical at the time, too, and burk supported it. burk did believe in experience -- didn't believe in lurching in one direction or the other. he believed in moderation, but the word moderation is being bard bastardized by some that is -- a trajectory that nil my view fundamentally alter or fundamentally transform, as the president says, our country. i don't think burk would sit still and say we need another tax cut. he would agree with george mason that the government has gotten -- so much it does,
1:37 pm
regulations through taxation, and the people need a lawful constitutional, nonviolent civil option. >> host: men in black, how in the supreme court is destroying america. came out in 2005. followed by, "rescuing sprite" in 2007. then "liberty and tyranny: a conservative manifesto." ameri-topia, the unmaking of america in 2012, and just this last year "the liberty amends: restoring the american republic" came out in august of 2013. mr. levin is working on another book but won't tell us anything about it. bruce in oregon, you're on with awe their mark levin. >> caller: thank you very much. mr. reverence i was wondering, what you thought of -- seems to me that the senate treats the house as kind of like the minor leagues. there's a lot of former house
1:38 pm
members in the senate, and i have never heard of a senator running for the house. >> guest: that's a very good point. i haven't thought it through. maybe there's one somewhere. we do know a former president who ran for the house, john quincy adams, but a former senator? i think it's happened but i can't remember off the top of my head, but it's a good point because the house of representatives really is meant to be the people's house, and the senate really is meant to be the house of the state legislature, and the senate really isn't the people's house. it's not the house of the state legislatures. we don't know what it is. it's a mess. and that was pushed in 1913 by the progressives as was the federal income tax, those two amendments adopted the same area. progressives were republicans, too. taft, roosevelt -- excuse me -- and -- this is great, because
1:39 pm
now we're enfranchised. we can vote for our own senator. the problem is you're voting for a senator who is anxiousable -- answerable to whom? they treat the states like just another group. so they'll spend as much time dealing with -- a governor, say. they feel no obligation to these state governments, the state legislature whatsoever so that was quite revolutionary when that occurred. i think that's right. i don't think there's any justification for it. but you have a lot of members of the house who think it's a step up to run for the senate, and a lot of senators who look down on the house. just shows you how screwed up the system has become. >> host: robert in pennsylvania. this is an eminem: on your radio somehow you talk about class warfare in america. 2011 study by the congressional budget office found that the top one percent of households increased their income by 280%
1:40 pm
after tax over a period between 1979 and 2007, at the same time the average income of the bottom, 90% of americans basically stagnated, growing just eight% -- eight percent over the same period. doesn't this prove there's class warfare going on in this country, the very wealthy against everyone else? >> guest: the very wealthy -- let's assume we round up the very wealthy. we take everything they have. how is that going to improve this gentleman's life? not going to improve it at all or anybody else's. seems to me the opposite is the problem. the more government we get, apparently the more skewed the income. so, i mean, we have had the stimulus, we have obamacare, we have had dodd-frank, the war on poverty, medicare, medicaid, social security, we have a thousand other programs, and a thousand agencies, and millions
1:41 pm
of bureaucrats. the goal of the government now is redistribution of wealth. and yet the gentleman talks about -- i don't know if those figures are an accurate but let's assume they are. the top one percent -- so, this tells me we need a freer society, we need to embrace private property rights rights d capitalism more so there's more opportunity for people who seek opportunity. not less. why would the answer to this be more government when more centralized government has created the problem we're talking about. >> host: hank, maryland. go ahead. >> caller: hello, mark. i'm from the crazy blue state next door to you. my question is, i would challenge anybody in the democratic party, anybody, to tell me what qualifications this president has to be president of the united states of america. anybody. never done anything. now, my question to you is, do
1:42 pm
you think that our education system -- liberal educational people are purposely dumbing down our young people by not teaching them any history, anything about our country, so they will continue to elect people like this unqualified man we have now. thank you. >> guest: i think public education has become a huge problem. i think all this social engineering is being used in the public school system. i've been fighting the national education association since i was a school board member. a young guy, and now a legal foundation has fought them, too. it's interesting about antitrust and our antitrust laws. antitrust laws are used against corporations but unions are exempt. why? the nea needs to be broken up and turned into ten thousand pieces. that's what i think. but that's not to say all teachers are bad. all teachers aren't bad.
1:43 pm
i know several good ones. the problem is too many of them are of this union mentality and too many of the school districts are controlled by this agenda, and the more the federal government gets involved, the more you're going to see this happen. i mean, the social engineering, what isn't controlled by the federal government in the school system right now? even the damn cafeteria is controlled by the federal government. it's amazing. >> host: i had a quote here, you say our total food production is controlled by the federal government at this point. with the regulations. i can't find which book that is in. >> guest: that would be probably "amar'e-topia. "that's my guess. rob, let me explain what is meant by that. what is green, what is harvestes, hough it's packaged, how it's shipped, how it's offered in supermarkets and so forth. the federal government has hand in every aspect of this.
1:44 pm
>> host: rob, in new york. how did you get the nickname "the great one"? >> guest: i got it from sean hannity. the great one when i was growing up was jackie gleason, so i guess that came from sean hannity. not a moniker i gave myself, i can assure you. i had one liberal caller who once called me the great big one and i thought that was funny, i didn't hang up on that person. i laughed. that's where that comes from, from hannity. >> host: another e-mail is there an antireligious bias in america? >> guest: is there an -- there's an antireligious bias in the government and an antireligious bias in hollywood. it's quite obvious. obamacare is the epit me of -- epitomy of an antireligious bias. we had the hart amendment and
1:45 pm
the federal government did not spend a penny of federal resours on abortion, and that was a negotiated agreement that had served this country well for a long time. obamacare is going to subsidies it, even though the president said it was not. you have religious entities -- that doesn't necessarily mean churches and so forth, but business people or individuals who are religious in and of themselves who do not well-to pay for policies -- do not wish to pay for policies that support payments for abortion or contraceptives or whatever you have, and they're being told, you must. it's mandated. that's clearly a violation of first amendment. we'll see what the supreme court decides at the end of our -- another june will come and we'll hope that five justices rule the right way. but this president, this administration, and this congress, they pushed the edge of the envelope as far as they can and there's an antireligious bias, and let me be even more
1:46 pm
specific. there's an antichristian bias in my view. certain things you can't say about certain religious groups and so forth. but if you're a traditional, practicing christian, you're written off as a nut, as a fundamentalist, and it's funny how ignorant people are who make these allegations. when go back to our founding, the framers were very involved in and knowledgeable about the judeo-christian background, ethics, principles. and people sea jefferson was a deist, and franklin, yes but they weren't athiests, and the constitution is an extremely tolerant document, particularly when it comes to religion, and particularly when it comes to the first amendment, which we all know is adopted later, but we are in an extremely tolerant country with respect to all
1:47 pm
religion and religious practices, and that's because of the judeo-christian ethic at the time of the framing. so, yeah, think there is hostility in mass media, and by the government, against religion generally, but particularly against christianity. i say this as a jew. >> host: the most recent book, liberty amendment, has sever proposals for amendments to the constitution. number one, establish term limits for members of congress, restore the senate by repealing the 17th amendment. establish term limits, 12 years for a supreme court justices. limit federal spending. limit federal taxation. limit the federal bureaucracy, promote free enterprise, protect private property, grant the states authorized to directly amend the constitution, grant the states authority to check congress, and protect the vote. professor william green, an instructor in political science
1:48 pm
at south texas college e-mails in: mr. levin, why do you continue to claim that james madison opposed nullification when he clearly stated in that document you referenced that thomas jefferson's idea of the rights of nullification is the natural right? what is nullification? >> guest: this happens from time to time. there's a relatively small fringe effort out there to push an agenda, nullification and others -- even a little secession movement going on -- i would ask the professor, can he opinion to one place in madison's notes where nullification is mentioned? he chance. can the professor point to anywhere in the constitution where nullification is mentioned? he can't. so, what he does and others do, they try to construe the 10th
1:49 pm
10th amendment, which leaves all powers not specifically conferred on the federal government to the states. and they nullification amendment is no such thing. they act like liberals, the way they twist and spin and reinterpret what took place. he talks about jefferson. i have great admiration for jefferson. jefferson wasn't at the constitutional convention. so, that's interesting, because so what? what did -- have to say about it. nothing. he was at the constitutional convention. what did madison have to say? he was at the constitutional convention and had a major role. when you offense out a -- point out a letter he wrote in 1830, a rather lengthy letter in which he provides exposition on this. he goes into it in great length and also endorses article a 5, which imagine he would because he voted for it. he comes out squarely and
1:50 pm
strongly against nullification. but then they say, oh, no, that relates to south carolina and another letter in 1832. so there's no winning this argument because it becomes circular. so i entertain myself now and then some then i move on. but the point is this. now fix indication is the notion -- nullification is a notion -- depends who is promoting it -- the notion that a state can on its own nullify a statute of the federal government if the state legislature concludes the federal government doesn't have the power to do it. putting aside all history, as a practical matter, where would that take us? let's say maryland doesn't like a particular statute passed by the federal government and says, you know what? that doesn't apply to us. we're nullifying that because we concluded here in maryland that's that's unconstitutional. so, what if ten states take that position? in other words, you can't -- this is called anarchy, and on top of that, i view these
1:51 pm
folks -- they may not like it -- as neoconfederates. i'm looking at the constitution, language in the constitution, something that was actually adopted at the constitutional convention, trying to encourage people to take a look at it. some state legislators are starting to take a look at it. it's right there. well know who proposed it. we know who voted on it. well know what madison said about it later, so we have this movement that says it's an impossibility. let's go for state nullification. the big nullifiers out there have been on the left, they've been nullifying the constitution left and right as far as i can tell, which is one of the reasons why i think it needs to be re-established and revived. so. professor, if you can show me anywhere in the constitutional convention where nullification is addressed, you he can send it to me. show me anywhere in the constitution where nullification is mentioned, rather than your
1:52 pm
implication or your interpretation, you can send that to me, too, which means you won't be sending me anything. >> host: brian, pikesville, maryland good afternoon to you. >> caller: i thoroughly enjoy watching c-span booktv, and i regularly watch on sunday, and i recall sometime ago you had a lady by the name of melanie phillips from england, who has written a book, the world upside-down, and i was very impressed by the remarks she made as to the one word the progress gives do -- progressive does not wish to hear, and that is the truth. i think that really hits the nail on the head. i was a party not so long ago, mentioning something about the obamacare problem. there was a problem. as soon as i mentioned that, without any further discussion i
1:53 pm
was told i was a right-winger, a fascist so i'd like to ask mr. levin, who i respect very much, what is the mentality of people of different ideologies, people of equal intelligence, who agree with his concepts, and people on the other side of the issues? i really would like to hear some discussion of that. thank you very much. >> guest: what is the mentality? i'm not sure i understand. but -- let me use this as an opportunity to say something that relates to it. in terms of this ideology. i don't believe conservatism is an ideology. it's what naturally flows from human experience, conserve
1:54 pm
conservatism is based on reality, based on practicality, and it's based on reason and knowledge. that's why so many conservatives opposed obamacare from day one. it's not an ideological thing. it's just we know all this power over the individual and individual health care and decisions about medicine and so forth, in a centralized government, run by politicians and bureaucrats, is a doing rouse thing and also -- dangerous thing and also an impossibility. in other words it won't work well. so we don't say that for an ideological reason. we say that based on human experience. opened that is propoeting obamacare they're ideologies. they reject all these things that are important in making rational decisions. so, i would say conservatism is not an audiology, it's a way of
1:55 pm
life, way of thinking, a way of being, based on human experience, and statism or liberalism is an ideology and it's based on few tonannism, and that's why -- on utopianism so that's why when your day to say at the party why obamacare is going to fail, you were called a right-wing whatever. so, the truth is you're probably being questioned by a kook, but i've already discussed that. >> host: martin wants to know what mr. levin thinks of the club for growth. >> guest: of what? >> host: the club for growth. >> guest: i like these conservative groups, free market groups, constitutional groups, that voluntarily operate, that raise money in the private sector and no government support whatsoever, and use it to elect conservatives. i mean, i think we need more of this, not less. i like the koch brothers and the club for growth and these other
1:56 pm
organizations. why not? >> host: laurene, flushing, new york negotiating ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: mark, i enjoy you very meche. just had a couple of questions. in light of what is going on with the nsa, what was your opinion about the overreach of government and the other question was that in the very beginning of the formation of this country, we had great minds that all got together, agreed to disagree, but moved the ball forward. who do we have, do you think now, who is of the same mindset where we have another renaissance in that regard? >> guest: i think that there's a dearth of such people at this point, to be honest, so i don't know. i don't know. look at congress. what a disaster. i mean, i could go around the country and pick people who are smarter, wiser, better judgment,
1:57 pm
who would look at what's going on in terms of the debt and the deficit and not securing the border and all these other things and make more rational and intelligent decisions than these people, and yet there they are. so i don't know. i hope they're there somewhere at some point. that's why i rely on state legislatures, not all of them. but a surge majority of them, they think we have to work from the bottom up. what was the -- 0 oh, the nsa. my position on the nsa is simple. i don't think the nsa should be collecting everybody's phone numbers and phone patterns, and i think it was a complete waste of resources and time. i don't think they can point to sage example where this has stopped any terrorist event, and everytime they're asked, whether by a committee or by the obama commission or whatever its, they they don't come up with the supportable positions.
1:58 pm
i think it is unlikely that it violates the fourth amendment. i guess we're going to find out. i think it is stupid and it ought to stop and i do think the fourth amendment or no fourth amendment, it does violate our individual rights, and i'm a strong supporter of intelligence, gathering, a strong supporter of law enforcement. i mean, worked in the meese just department in the reagan administration but this goes too far. i don't like these police state tactics and i don't like it in the hands of this particular administration as we have seen with the irs and so forth. so, no, i don't accept that this is a justifiable national security endeavor. i see this as an out of control bureaucracy who has gotten into this and now people defend it in a knee-jerk way as some kind of national security intelligence thing and it's not. but it would be like the local cop, on a murder scene, he is in
1:59 pm
manhattan and grabs the manhattan phone book and starts looking at phone numbers. crowd you don't work a case that way. you fine out what the specific -- you look for specific issues, specific patterns and so forth, and then maybe you go to the manhattan phone book, and is probably why, despite all the expert resources and manpower, they can't show one example where this has actually stopped somebody. >> host: so edward noden, whistle blower or traitor or somewhere in between? >> guest: somewhere in between. luckily don't have to make that decision, but i will say this. i don't like the fact he ran to china. i don't like the fact he is in russia. those or two of our enemies. on the other hand, people who say, oh, all he had to do is good to a congressman or senator with the information. are you kidding me? jo go to a congressman or senator with this kind of information n? they'd pick up the phone and call the fbi, they probably should, otherwise they might be
2:00 pm
prosecuted, too. there's no immunities to them. so, i think there should have been another way to do this rather than running off to enemy countries, and i'm also concerned about what he has revealed to them. i don't know what the told the chinese and russians. but he existence of this program i'm glad we know about it baas i oppose it and i -- because i oppose and it ought to be shut down. but i believe in a robust intelligence gathering, national security, law enforcement operation of the federal government because our national security is certainly one of the primary object-to-the federal government...
2:01 pm
>> guest: and a handful of others including the, some members of the attorney general's family and justice department. and attorney general meese had just decided to leave office, and president reagan said to attorney general meese, who was coming under attack by the usual radical leftists and so forth, and president reagan said to him, i want to apologize to you, ed. all these attacks that are aimed at you are really intended for me. i'm sorry that you've had to go through this. what ronald reagan said. and that's what kind of man
2:02 pm
ronald reagan was. and ed meese too. great man. absolutely great man. >> host: well, one of the things we like to do with our "in depth"s is what they're reading, what their favorite books are. here's a look at some of mark levin's answers.
2:03 pm
2:04 pm
2:05 pm
2:06 pm
2:07 pm
>> host: mark levin, one of the authors you list as your favorite, raymond aron, "the opium of the intellectuals." >> guest: raymond aron, he was french. and it's an absolutely great book, and he was a great thinker. there, there's a philosopher that i didn't mention. and he wrote particularly about the cold war and the iron curtain, but he skewered in a brilliant way the elites, the so-called intellectuals. and it's just a tremendous book.
2:08 pm
and and i learned a great deal from him. you know, these masterminds. these aren't necessarily words that he used, i'm using. but he -- and he gave great examples of it and the danger of it, and he would talk about the communist elite and the liberal elite and the academic elite. and while he didn't agree with every exact thing, but the mentality. it was just superb. he's not the only one to do that. joseph schumter is another, great economist and philosopher. he did the same thing, and he's not alone either. hayak did it in so many of his books too. so this is the problem with centralizing all these decisions. you know, we accept the fact that men and women aren't perfect or, we accept the fact that all our institutions are imperfect. then why would we give so few
2:09 pm
people so much power, so few imperfect human beings and such a narrow number of institutions so much power over the rest of us to to impose their imperfect or decisions on us. >> from your 2009 book "liberty and tyranny," you write: if words and their meaning can be manipulated or ignored to advance the status political and party preferences, what then binds allegiances to the statists' words? >> guest: the constitution is subject to change based on what a particular court says or a particular president says or or even a particular generation says, then why are we bound by what they say? i mean, if we're not bound to
2:10 pm
the constitution, why am i bound to a presidential executive order? if the founding governing document isn't pictured stop -- to be revered, why should we honor all the other statutes and so forth? why should we? that's my point. >> host: mark levin is our guest on "in depth," we have a little less than an hour to go. bill in manhattan beach, california, you're on the air. good afternoon. >> caller: i love c-span, you guys are terrific. mark levin, i appreciate it greatly, please take care of your health, to begin with. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: secondly, allow me to appeal to you, to bring your terminology down to the average voter. the average voter is not a business owner. he's not working wall street, etc. he's an employee, by and large,
2:11 pm
and change capitalism to free enterprise. change income redistribution to what it is, heft and vote -- theft and vote buying. change entrepreneurship to job creation. so appeal to the folks who want to go with you, but they don't talk like that. thank you. >> guest: by the way, i don't think i know anybody on wall street, come to think of it. maybe the koch brothers, but i don't want really know them either. -- i don't really know them either. >> host: have you ever met them? >> guest: i've met them once. wonderful people. like to meet hem again. meet them again. i saw george soros' photo once too. the man makes a good point, and i do try to do that. i'm not always successful at it. but the gentleman makes a good point, and, you know, i work at it as much as i can, we want to use terms that people can identify with. >> host: ashley on our facebook page posts this comment, who do you think was the best and worst
2:12 pm
presidents and why? >> guest: well, i have to go with some of the obvious. let me think, i happen to think washington was our greatest president. if washington wanted to be a dictator, washington would have been a dictator. and you look all over the world after these so-called democratic revolutions, you look at castro, you look at these other places, zimbabwe and so forth, that's what these men did, they became dictators. washington was not only a brilliant general who helped lead the revolution against all odds and win, he was a brilliant statesman. and while the framers were united in their desire for liberty and representative government, there were a lot of opinions on how to get there. and washington knew that he could push it one way or
2:13 pm
another, and he understood that he needed to be sort of the invisible hand behind the process. i mean, the fact that he agreed to even go to the constitutional convention, he had to think about that. he decided he'd go. he wanted to go back to mount vernon. that's where he wanted to stay. but he cared about his country deeply, to the point where he went broke, as many of these men did, because they were busy in public affairs. but so much of what washington did and said and so forth set the nation on the proper course, in my view. that's why i give it to him. a very close second would obviously be lincoln, even though the nullifiers would disagree with me and some of the neo-confederates. did lincoln do some things that we would question today? yeah. but on the other hand, the nation was -- all hell was breaking loose. and he wanted to make sure that in the end there was a nation. we can debate the particular issues and so forth, but there
2:14 pm
have been few men like lincoln, and there'll be few men like him in the future. and i would consider reagan one of our greatest presidents too. people forget, you know, for half a century or so the cold war was a very serious matter. soviet expansion was a very serious matter. nuclear threat was a very serious matter. among other things, reagan defeated the soviet union. he defeated them through a variety of policies, and he rejects detente, and he wanted victory. and he got victory. also his economic policies. you know, 25 million jobs created. president obama stands at the white house with unemployed people lined up behind him arguing for more extended unemployment. 99 weeks, apparently, isn't enough. well, maybe under this president that's the problem. but what reagan would have done is stood behind, had people stand behind him who found new jobs. reagan created such an economic
2:15 pm
dynamo, that it went right through into the clinton administration. so, matter of fact, i don't know that this nation has ever seen anything like it, certainly not in a hundred years. so, and, of course, he brought confidence back to a country that desperately needed it after jimmy carter and the disaster that he was. there have been a number of good presidents too. coolidge was a very, very good president. in my view, james polk was a very, very good president. some people will attack him, calling imperialism. then i guess they better leave california and some of the other states. and i thought he was a very good president. there are others, i can't remember all of them. and there have been some very, very poor presidents. martin van buren was a very poor president. james buchanan was a very poor president. oh, i'm no fan of fdr.
2:16 pm
but on the other hand, he helped bring us through world war ii, so you can't dismiss that. although the aftermath was a disaster. him and truman, as far as i'm concerned. but i think obama has to be in the top ten of disastrous presidents, if not in the top five. what he's done to this country, what he's done to our constitutional and legal system, what he's done to one industry after another, um, his rhetoric, his propaganda, i just think he's been a very destructive and divisive force. and it's too bad, because with, you know, the first black president, and he could have done so many great things not only in bringing the country together, but advancing the cause of liberty and property rights, all these other things that were so crucial, you know, to our thinking and to our
2:17 pm
country. and he's done the opposite. he's done your knee-jerk, hard-left, radical, left-wing agenda, and it's been a complete disaster. and i think 50 years from now, um, when we look back on this or other people look back on this, i think it'll be viewed that way. >> host: mark high school hand posts on our facebook page, mr. levin, when will the republican party give up the marriage amendment and the right-to-life amendment? they are both losers for the gop. >> guest: i don't think we lose votes over the marriage amendment or the right-to-life amendment. i mean, how many votes have we lost on that? in terms of losers for the gop, reagan was strongly pro-life and supported an amendment. obviously, the president has no role, only congress can or the states, state legislatures. and this terms of the marriage amendment -- in terms of the
2:18 pm
marriage amendment, it takes three-fourths of the states to ratify an amendment. well, you now have, what is it, 15 or 17 states that have made same-sex marriage legal, something like that, some legislatures have done it, some courts have done it. but, so i'm not sure how that would work out. but i have no problem with people arguing for and proposing these amendments because it is the quintessential nature of federalism. in other words, as i said, it takes three-fourths of the state legislatures to ratify them. so a loser for the republican party. i don't think it's a loser for the republican party. i think what's a loser for the republican party are people who lead it who, who have no agenda, who have few principles and very little confidence in anything. basically, are hanging on for
2:19 pm
their own sake. but i don't think those are losers. this always amazes me, the social issues, we call them. the social issues. okay, well, call them the social issues. i don't want call them social issues. they're human issues. they're cultural issues. who keeps bringing them up? who's fighting for same-sex marriage? who keeps bringing it up? activist groups, state legislatures, um, courts. so people who object to a particular position, they're told stop talking, stop standing for what you believe in? if your faith tells you to fight it, just give it up, it's a loser. i mean, these arguments are absurd. why should people give it up? they should fight for what they believe. and if the republican party doesn't stand for traditional values, who the hell will? so i have no problem with people fighting for these things. and i don't think it's a political loser. i think the moderates who stand for virtually nothing, they're the political losers. i mean, mccain didn't lose
2:20 pm
because he supported either of those amendments. romney didn't lose because he supported east of those amendments -- either of those amendments. they lost because they didn't have an agenda that connects with the people, and it is the liberty, free enterprise as the gentleman said of wealth creation, job creation, business creation agenda, the growth agenda among other things. and, yes, the traditional faith agenda that i think will get people to the polls and win. i know it, as a matter of fact. reagan did it twice. >> host: pot sales in colorado, is that part of a liberty agenda? [laughter] >> guest: oh, lord. so all the potheads are going to move to colorado right now. something interesting has happened now. the federal government, to some extempt i think -- extent, i think holder announced, that they're not going to enforce a lot of these pot laws. colorado has passed a pot law. would i vote for it? no way.
2:21 pm
but they voted for it, and that's the law. that's the law in colorado. i live in virginia, what the hell am i supposed to do it, other than stay out of colorado? but that's -- and, again, the federal government has decided that it is not going to enforce the relevant federal statutes with respect to that. and that's a different issue to me. whether or not you support those laws, how in the world does the attorney general decide i don't like that law, i'm not going to enforce it? when did he get that power? never. so that would be my issue there. if colorado wants to legalize pot, then colorado will legalize pot. i think it's stupid. i do fair decriminalizing it though. in other words, i don't think a 17-year-old or 20-year-old, a college student or some pizza delivery guy who's caught with a joint smoking a joint should have to do prison time or jail time or be charged with a misdemeanor. that bothers me. and i will tell you right here, i don't have a bible to swear
2:22 pm
on, but i've never done drugs. i've never done pot. but i still find it troublesome that if some young person has had a joint or something like that and they're caught, that they should -- i don't know what the answer is, but i do favor decriminalization. not no criminalization, but decriminalization. >> host: from "liberty and tyranny," all cultures are not equal with as evidenced in part by the alien fleeing his own country for the american culture and the american citizen staying put. if someone were shopping for books and they came across "liberty and tyranny, "ameritopia and the liberty amendments they could only buy one, which one should they buy? >> guest: liberty and tyranny, ameritopia, and the liberty
2:23 pm
amendments. you know, i have two children -- >> host: these are books. >> guest: i know, if you could only have one, which would you have? i couldn't do that. remember what solomon did? yeah. the cutting of the baby in half? well, he wouldn't agree to that, would he? so it depends what you're looking for. let me put it to you that way. "liberty and tyranny" is basically a primer on a restatement of conservativism. which i felt in 2009 and feel today is sorely needed. and it provides a, my conservative manifesto at the end, and i call it that to mock marx and the communist manifesto. ameritopia, which is probably the most important to me, is most difficult. it is political philosophy, and and to me, it gets to the heart of the problem with the left. and the conflict with those who believe in liberty. and the liberty amendments, i think, is crucial because i have
2:24 pm
callers to my show and others who say, okay, mark, this is all great, now what do we do about this? what do we do about this? and rather than give the usual phony, superficial response, let's elect more republicans, that's not good enough. maybe that's good enough for some, but it's not good enough because we are unmoored from our constitutional system. we elected more republicans under george bush from 2001 to 2007. they controlled the congress and the presidency. what happened? more federal involvement in education, more federal involvement in health care, the expansion of medicare, expansion of virtually everything. the massive increase this the debt -- in the debt. i mean, that alone is not going to be enough. so the solution, i think, is rather than be superficial about it and say, oh, well, i'll just elect more of these folks -- although i favor electing many more conservative republicans -- the solution is a systemic one, and the answer is in the
2:25 pm
constitution which is the purpose of the liberty amendments. >> host: and speaking of the liberty amendments, booktv's book club is reading that this month. so if you go to, you'll see a tab up there that says "book clubment" you can go in there, you can see some video of mark levin, some reviews of the liberty amendments, and you can post your comments. it's very simple. so go ahead and read along and post your comments, and you can have a discussion with other readers and other viewers of booktv on "the liberty amendments." todd in winstead, connecticut, thanks for holding. you're on with mark levin. >> caller: well, thank you very much for taking my call. i listen to mark levin. i don't always agree with everything he says, but one of the problems i see with our political system is -- [inaudible] they debate issues ask ask them questions and all i get back is -- [inaudible] and with that said, that's the only pining i'm going -- opining i'm going to do, i've got three
2:26 pm
specific questions for mark, and i'd like to get his knowledgeable opinion on these areas. corporate funding of elections, doing away with the electoral college and, um, gerrymandering, doing away with gerrymandering. i'd like to hear what mark has to say about those three -- >> host: thank you, todd. we'll have to see what mr. levin says. >> guest: what was the third one? >> host: gerrymandering. >> guest: all right. let me start with corporate funding of elections. well, there are no -- there is no corporate funding of elections. what the citizens united case did was allow corporations to fund advocacy ads. so they concluded that not only should unions be able to do it, but corporations should be able to do it too. why not? as long as it's public. as long as we though who's contributing what to these campaigns. and it ought to be online so you can get it immediately, and in
2:27 pm
many cases it is. i don't have a problem with that. i have a problem with the shadowy stuff that goes on with members of congress and so forth. but out-front donations is fine. and i say this as somebody who has a real problem with how the u.s. chamber of commerce conducts itself and is now getting into republican primaries for the purpose of defeating conservative candidates and pushing big government, corporatist republican candidates. so, but that said, principle is principle. free speech is free speech. as for the electoral college, of course i support it. there's a movement now to get rid of it just as the progressive movement got rid of the state legislatures choosing members of the senate. and, of course, they want to get rid of the electoral college and have the direct election of presidents. let us remember the mindset of the framers. the framers did not want a purely populist, majoritarian government. they didn't want a purely
2:28 pm
democratic government. they wanted a representative republic. so the purpose of the electoral college is not only to give some of the smaller states some footing in the presidential process, but as a check just in case you have the election of somebody who is a complete and utter tyrant. so we talk about we need checks, and we need balances, and we need such things. that's the electoral college. and it amuses me, pete, that we have some senators who oppose the electoral college, and they want the direct election of the president. and i think to myself, wow, so why do we have two senators from every state? why don't we get rid of them, too s and just have a house of of representatives? here we have senators who by constitution exist two in each state, but we don't need them. we'll just have like a parliamentary system. i don't support this, i'm being
2:29 pm
sarcastic. as for gerrymandering, i don't know how you would get rid of that. i mean, these good government types pretend they'll take care of it. i don't trust most of them. but gerrymandering, it's something that's gone on for an awfully long time, and it's something that i think we're stuck with. >> host: robert has saved us. he mails this claude pepper of florida was in the senate, then the house. >> guest: he's right. good deal, bro, that's right. i think there were others, but that's for sure. >> host: nick is calling from los angeles. you're on booktv with author mark levin. >> caller: thank you, c-span. hello, mark. you help me drive home every day and help me keep the rage on your show and not on the other drivers, so i've got to thank you for making me a better driver. but you do claim that james madison rejected nullification, but in the same document that you cite, he was actually talking about a specific process of nullification that was advocated only by south
2:30 pm
carolina. and then later james madison said that, and i quote here: nullification is the natural right which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression, unquote. so, um, with that my real question for you is, um, you know, i appreciate that you talk about the constitution outlining a republic not a democracy, but you share a utopian foreign policy outlook which is unconstitutional. anyone can look up your statements on presidential war powers and put them up against thomas e. woods or louis fisher which c-span has also fish featured. >> host: nick, are you a fan of mark levin? [laughter] >> caller: yeah. and i'm also a fan of george washington, as he is. if you quote george washington, he said the nation which indulges toward another as an habitual hatred or an that establish wall fondness is in some ways a slave --
2:31 pm
>> host: nick, why are you a supporter of so-called nullification? >> guest: well, i'm a supporter of nullification because i think it runs to the heart of what a constitutional republic is all about. and i think you can't have a republic and an empire too. so i think mark levin's blind spots on foreign policies and nullification really undermine what, you know, he purports to be about. and i think -- >> host: all right. we'll get an answer. just, mark -- or, nick, just a little bit more from you though. what kind of of work do you do? you say mark levin is on your raid slow on the way home. what kind of work do you do? >> caller: well, i'm struggling in this obama economy, so i have a few different part-time jobs. i work at a couple convert venues and ucla, also an inalternative with a nonprofit organization. so, you know, i'm very passionate about what's going on in the world. i think it affects my generation. i'm 28 years old, it affects my
2:32 pm
generation very much. so i pay attention to all the voices and rye and stay involved but also got to pay the bills with some part-time jobs too. >> host: nick, thank you very much for calling in. mark levin. >> guest: well, here we go again. let's see. people have to read this 1830 letter on their own. there's nothing, it's not a narrow letter. it's a very long letter. of he's addressing more than what nick has to say. he also is engorsing article v which nick doesn't endorse. he didn't say it, but he doesn't. they can quote professor this or professor that all they want, there are a lot of knuckleheads who are professors too. and so what? the fact of the matter is, and there's an 1832 letter that madison also wrote, but they say it's specific to south carolina. there's nothing i can say that's going to dissuade nick or others because he didn't tell you what nonprofit group he works for. there's a couple groups that
2:33 pm
keep pushing nullification. i'm surprised you haven't had a call for secession yet. i'm not in favor of destroying the republic. i'm not in favor of eliminating the union. i believe we fought a civil war over this. but nullification is not in the constitution. nullification was not brought up at the constitutional confession -- convention. it was discussed leiter. there are some -- later. there are some definitive letters about it. but nub of that matters -- none of that matters. there is no historical support from this. you know, these guys who are originalists who claim to be, well, except in this case because they're so angry at the federal government, they're willing to turn to anything including this what i call neo-confederate agenda. the fact of the matter is it doesn't work, and you can't pursue it, and it won't work. the neoconservative agenda that i speak to is they want to see states split off from the union. and, good lord, are we going to go through that again?
2:34 pm
i mean, sorry, folks, don't count me this in on that. i'm considered pushing the edge of the envelope with the liberty amendments, but these guys are already on the other edge of the envelope, and those are the talking points that are argued, that are put out there time and time again. ignore this letter, madison didn't mean this. the tenth amendment means nullification. and yet they interpret this stuff like the liberals interpret the constitution. >> host: all right. well, we have taken two calls on it now and had good discussions, so we'll end our discussion of it there too, as well. but here's an e-mail from warren who's in los angeles as well. kabc radio in l.a. airs the mark levin show with a three-hour time delay. 95% of the h.a. audience is prevented from calling in and participating in your discussions, what can we do to convince kabc to carry your program live? >> guest: well, what can i say? i guess i'm just glad i'm on kabc.
2:35 pm
yeah, i tell all the affiliates we only have a relative small percentage that run the show tape-delayed, and they do it, i think, often to run a local host in the slot. but the vast majority of our affiliates we are live. well, you can tell them. but there are also other -- here's the thing. some of us in talk radio have other platforms you can listen to. i'm not talking specifically about this particular writer and kabc. but i have an app, mark levin app, which has half a million people who use it. the i heart radio app is another way to listen to the show live, you can be your own program director. obviously, we do a live stream on the internet, and i'm on satellite, the patriot. so we're on terrestrial radio like kabc, we're on satellite, i've got two apps where you can pick i us op on your smartphone and on the internet. so if you want to hear us live, you can listen to us live.
2:36 pm
>> host: tony is calling from woodburn w new york. go ahead with your question or comment for mark levin. >> caller: yeah, hi. this is tony -- [inaudible] i'm not going to be as long-winded as your previous caller. i have one very simple question, i'm not going to give too much background,and i just want your opinion. here's the question. what, if anything, should we do about the 14th amendment? >> guest: in what way? what do you mean? >> host: he is now gone. >> guest: well, it depends -- the 14th amendment's not the shortest amendment, so i, i would need to know more what he means. >> host: do you write about the 14th amendment? >> guest: very little. but there's a number of things he could mean by that, so rather than me doing this, just throwing out three, four or five things, i -- he should have been more specific. >> host: garrett is in cumberland, maryland. hi, garrett. >> caller: hi. and hi, mark, thank you so much for all you do. i i want to thank you for giving
2:37 pm
us the solution, because i've with just been talking to fellow conservatives and libertarians, this is contributing to a lot of excitement among the grassroots. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i want to thank you also for forwarding along my article on the hi eleven y'all. i recently got a letter published in the local paper spreading the word and talking about this to people. i find that there is a lot of excitement. there are also two kinds of people that seem to have some reservations about it. one is the runaway convention crowd, and i believe that those people will come around to it. the other is this crowd that has been a couple times today that's talking about nullification. and i wanted you to speak to, have the opportunity to speak to the superiority of article v to a nullification strategy and also that nullification, um, is it even finish would it not put the court system in, um -- >> guest: yes. >> caller: -- in charge of that. >> guest: all right. first of all, you're exactly right.
2:38 pm
the brilliance of mason and the framers at the constitutional convention with the state convention process is that they're proposing, they're allowing the proposal of actual amendments to address things that have occurred in the structural abuses of the constitutional system. nullification doesn't address any of that. that's number one. number two, the supreme court will allow nullity case, already said it won't allow nullification. so what are they going to do about that? under the amendment ross, state legislatures can override a supreme court decision. but the nullification, it's an ark call. it's not -- there is no constitutionallal basis for it. now that said, one of the callers earlier -- what did he say, neo-con and also that i, i support american empire and stuff of this sort.
2:39 pm
i don't know where these anytime wits get these ideas. why, because i supported the troops during the iraq war? which i did and i do and would coagain today? do again today? so we're talking about an extreme fringe element here. like i said, the neo-confederate element. not even mainstream libertarianism. there's extreme fringe. there's a couple of groups out there. they're flooding your phones out now, they're nod flooding your e-mails, this is what they do. but they have absolutely zero impact on the body politic for the american people. the american people are not going to support secession. the american people are not going to support one state nullifying a federal law, 12 states nullifying -- they're not going to support that kind of anarchy. in my view, what the american people want is a return to constitutional government. or where the state legislatures have power, and the federal
2:40 pm
government has less power. that's what we're talking about. not destroying the constitutional system or the constitution, not destroying the republic, not destroying the union, but addressing it. and reestablishing the constitutional system. i have nothing in common with these other folks, and i think the vast majority of americans would have nothing in common with these other folks. >> host: where did this movement thing begin? >> guest: it's a couple of groups and a couple of professors. but i don't know the history of it. >> host: why have they chosen you as -- >> guest: they haven't just chosen me. they do this all over the place. it's just that i happen to be on c-span2. >> guest: gary e-mails in to you i'm an african-american man with conservative views, mostly a social and small government conservative. never voted democrat in my entire life. what is your message to african-americans and, for that matter, other minorities in the u.s.. while many african-americans are
2:41 pm
social conservatives on the major issues, same-sex, abortion, etc., how can conservatives and republicans reach minorities that vote traditionally democrat? >> guest: i think the general categoryies of promoting individual liberty, free enterprise and wealth creation which brings opportunity and traditional american values which would include the power of state legislatures to make many of these decisions, in applying them to current events and current issues is the way to go. and i think that's what a campaign needs to do to be successful. it's not a question of what do you give to minorities, the hispanics are over here, the blacks are over here, the whites are over here, the straight people are here, the lesbians
2:42 pm
are -- that's not the way we should look at america. we shouldn't look at america like liberals do and break us down into physical features and sexual preferences. we should talk about america as americans, and we should, in fact, state publicly to the left during these campaigns that we reject their efforts to divide us along all these different lines. and i think a conservative republican candidate can talk about bringing people together to advance the cause of liberty and opportunity and wealth creation and let the liberals talk about extending unemployment insurance and doing all these other things while we're talking about a positive, forward-looking, growth-oriented agenda based on good old american values. >> host: from "ameritopia," have the pennsylvania love yang appeals to equaltarianism and
2:43 pm
the fomenting of action through class warfare conditioned the people to accept or even demand compulsory uniformity as just and righteous. >> guest: well, that's the question i ask. is it too late? and i don't think it's too late, but i think we're getting to a late time. but i do have open that we can avoid it, that we can avert this. you can see the reaction to obamacare. people do not like uniformity and conformity, because it does not address their own specific needs and interests and motivations. and obamacare is all about uniformity and conformity and top-down authoritarianism. so at least in regard to that, that's a positive. but on the other hand, a majority of those who voted also voted for the man who pushed the very legislation that they detest. so we have a problem here, and i think part of the problem is that the republicans have to offer the american people a serious alternative. >> host: robert calbert in
2:44 pm
chicago e-mails in to you mr. levin, you listed several great libertarian thinkers, friedman, hayak, where do you, a thoughtful conservative, differ with libertarians? >> guest: i would say on economic issues i agree with libertarians mostly. i would say on some of the so-called social issues i would disagree with them. for instance, if a libertarian believes that some guy on the corner should be free to sell heroin, i'm not sure i can endorse that position. as a matter of fact, i wouldn't. so i'm not saying that's all their positions and so forth. but i would say in the main i'm probably a conservative/libertarian. but i like to call myself a constitutionalist. and i believe there is a movement, a reinvigorated if not new movement of constitutional conservativism which is something that i am proud to be part of and something i'm crowd
2:45 pm
to be pushing. constitutional conservativism. not secession, not nullification, not destroying our country, not destroying the union, not destroying the constitution, but reinvigorating i. >> host: richard e-mails in: mark levin's live coverage on his show of the capture of the boston marathon bombers earlier this year was compelling, exciting, accurate and entirely lacking in the speculative, opinionated, talking head speak that is so wearisome in the mainstream media. >> guest: that was a remarkable day not only because of the horrific terrorist attack and all those people who were maimed and killed, but, you know, when you're a talk show host, you have to decide how to cover these things. and most talk show hosts, if they can't find reporters on the scene, they're watching one of the cable networks or something and reporting what -- they're regurgitating the news that is
2:46 pm
somewhere else. well, my call screener and producer -- and i have two great guys, rich and mike, and they've been with me from the beginning. well, they were listening to the police scanner. so we were listening to the police scanner, i believe it was the local police and the state police. two police scanners. so as things were actually breaking, i mean, breaking, they were telling me exactly what was being said on the police scanner, so we were breaking news on our coverage because of the great radio station wrko among my affiliates -- and it is a wonderful station in boston -- so we were breaking the news without any opinion whatsoever as we were hearing it. and then near the end somebody figured it out. i don't know if it was the local police or the state police. and they said, you know, careful what you're saying on the
2:47 pm
monitor. i also made clear that nothing we were saying was endangering what they were doing. nothing. because, obviously, terrorist number two didn't have access to a radio and had no idea what i was saying on the radio. so that was a very compelling evening. it was quite remarkable. >> host: lee, rockville, b maryland. please go ahead with your question or comment for mark levin. >> caller: good afternoon, gentlemen. enjoying the discussion. mark, you and i are both natives of the city of brotherly love, and we're both roughly the same age. and i think a lot of what you say makes a great deal of sense; limited government, libertarianism. it's, it makes an awful lot of sense. but you and i remember decades ago when 40, 50 or more thousand people were getting killed on highways. you know, automobile accidents.
2:48 pm
well, what happened was the department of transportation came in and put in safety regulations. now it's half that. so those were very, very good government interventions, from my perspective. and that's why i'm so completely amazed, and i support conservative republicans a great deal. guns, mark, are dangerous. they are very, very dangerous. and the position of the republican party, as far as i can tell, is give everyone a gun. no background checks. if someone is wearing a viva osama bin laden sweatshirt and goes up to a gun show and says -- in an arab head address and -- head dress and goes up to a gun show and, you know, that person can order, you know, can walk away with the -- >> host: all right -- >> caller: -- an ak-47. >> host: i think we get the point. >> guest: is that caller from
2:49 pm
colorado? i just wonder if he's into the the new movement there. >> host: rockville, maryland. >> guest: the suburbs. what was his question? oh, safety. let me explain something to this gentleman. the deaths on the road today are not significantly reduced because of safety belts. but let me tell you something, the automobile that most people drive is lighter now than it ever was due to cafe standards. and i explain this in "liberty and tyranny." all of the deaths and all of the casualties on our highways as a result of cafe standards -- and it's remarkable to me that you wouldn't call this program because you're so concerned about human life particularly on our highways and reject government intervention in that case with the cafe standards maiming and killing so many of our fellow americans on the streets, and they keep making these cars ligher and smaller and smaller and lighter. so i'm sure you would join with me in objecting to that.
2:50 pm
that's number one. number two, the republican party supports giving everybody a gun? well, that's not true, but the -- and i can't speak for the republican party. i'll speak for myself. we have something called a second amendment, sir. just like we have a fourth amendment and a first amendment and a fifth amendment and a ninth amendment. it's nice that you don't like guns, it's nice that you have an opinion about guns. that's all well and good. but you don't have the right to tell law-abiding citizens who want guns for safety or hunting or whatever the reason is as long as it's lawful that they can't. i'm sorry, that's what the constitution provides. just like i can't say see that guy in rockville, maryland? he doesn't deserve due process because, you know, due process for a guy like that endangers the community. so this is the problem with the left. they can't decide which parts of the constitution they like, if any of the constitution. and there have been study after
2:51 pm
study by, among others, john lott and so forth that contradict your premise. whatever i say here won't matter to you anyway, but it may matter to somebody out there. >> host: doreen e-mails in: people from all political persuasions cite tokeville's great work. is that because de tocqueville was unclear in practical implications or because of something else? >> guest: well, i don't see him being cited that often by harry reid or nancy pelosi, and i don't even know if they've read the two volumes of democracy in america or have them read to them. i have no idea. these are people that said you have to read the obamacare law to though what's in it, and apparently none of them read it including the president, because they didn't know what's in it. so i doubt that the left, many, cite alexis de tocqueville. i cite him in the at least two of my books because what he said so pertinent to what's going on
2:52 pm
in this country today. he was prescient. and he was a man who was very concerned about little d democracy and was a great fan of america as he traveled this country but also saw some weaknesses that he feared. and was very, very concerned about centralized government. so i don't know if the left cites him or not or what they cite him for, but he was a brilliant man and very worth citing. >> host: and he's features prominently in "ameritopia." ed's calling from toledo. >> caller: good afternoon, gentlemen, and shalom. what i wanted to bring up, i'm a 76 article iv, section 4 republican. and i don't have much respect for the republican party, although i do can belong to it since it's near ohio. but the northwest ordnance and what allowed ohio to become a
2:53 pm
state, it had to have a republican constitution and a republican government. article iv, section 4 gash -- guarantees me and my descendants a republican form of government. now the big lie is that we're a democracy. so i guess noah webster, who could write a dictionary, defined republican because it gives sovereignty so we have no king but king jesus -- >> host: so, ed, we're running low on time here, what's your point? >> caller: my point is that you like democrats and -- liken democrats and republicans. mark, why don't we go back to these original words? we have a republic with a republican form of government because it grants sovereignty to the individual. >> guest: i don't know what to say. i'm not sure what the question is. you asked me in the first hour, somebody did, why do i cut people off? now you know why.
2:54 pm
>> host: dorothy, ocean township, new jersey. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: mr. levin, it's a privilege to speak to you. i had the honor of seeing you speak at a -- [inaudible] a few months ago. and you are an inspiration and a true patriot. i wonder, it bothers me when liberals never fail to demonize conservatives as much as they can, and it gets very disheartening when i'm in a discussion with a liberal and the topic of the president and his policies come up. and right away the response is, oh, you're a racist, you're saying that because he's black. and is there a solution to this, or is there no solution? it's just something we have to live with until the end of the term? >> you know, in life there are people who you can communicate with and try and have a rational discussion with, and then there are the drones. so if you happen to be confronted with the former, then take the time to really have a discussion.
2:55 pm
and and try and persuade the person or learn from the perp. if, on the other hand, you're confronted with a drone, my suggestion is move along, be done with it. >> host: dan, st. paul, minnesota. got just a couple minutes left here on our program. >> caller: yeah. i'm just calling to say, comment about the general welfare clause. a couple of, i think, liberals had previously mentioned using the general welfare clause to enforce government action. i read a wonderful work on that. in -- [inaudible] v. davis the supreme court used the general welfare clause to justify taking money from one group of people, giving it to another to justify transfer payments. yet in the 1780s the word "general" as an adjective which was in all kinds of writings meant to apply to everybody or nobody. the supreme court changed the usage of the word "general" from the authors' intent to justify
2:56 pm
taking money from one subpart to a group, giving it to another. i just give that as one example to come to the point in mark's book in the liberty amendments, the excellent point that we need to be able to use the legislature, the congress to override these ridiculous supreme court decisions. >> host: all right, dan, thank you. we got the point. >> guest: and he makes a very good point. there are many more who makes that point, madison, jefferson, joseph story, i could go on and on and on. the perversion of the general welfare clause is almost comical and yet, you know, the left uses it because it's a simple -- hey, the general welfare. it just demonstrates their contempt for the constitution. >> host: what do you think of john roberts? >> guest: not much. nothing he can do from here on. can, in my view, justify what he did in the obamacare decision. he was part of the reagan administration. he was a fairly conservative
2:57 pm
lawyer in the justice department before i got there. and he knows better. he knows what he did. i read his majority decision. it is a disgrace. it's incoherent. it's illogical. and it was result-oriented. so he, he's going to have to live with that. that will be his historical reputation. that'll be his epithet. and he helped unleash this disastrous law on in this country. it's unconstitutional in numerous ways. and for him to turn the tax section of the constitution on its head and to rewrite the statute and rewrite the history where obama and the democrats said this is not a tax, it's a penalty, and he says, oh, no, no, it's a tax, and and under our tax clause in the constitution, it's just so outrageous, what he did, that i had a lot of respect for him. i have zero respect for him now. >> host: bill beatty asks via
2:58 pm
twitter, will landmark legal join with the 11 attorneys general in court on president obama's legal authority to change the 2010 affordable care act? >> guest: we don't -- we provide advice, and we are provide advice. -- we will provide advice in a lot of these areas. for instance, there's over 40 cases on the liberty issue under obamacare where we're working with other groups. we've got several pieces of litigation going against the environmental protection agency. so, yes, we will provide whatever support they want from us. >> host: for the last three hours, mark levin has been our guest on booktv's "in depth" program. he is the author of five nonfiction books and working on another one as well. his first book came out in 2005, "men in black: how the supreme court is destroying america." "rest pewing -- rescuing sprite"
2:59 pm
came out in 2007. not a lot of public policy in that one, but a best with seller. "liberty and tyranny," in '09. "ameritopia" in 2012, and "the liberty amendments" just came out this past year, "restoring the american republic." by the way, "the liberty amendment" is booktv's book club selection for the month of january. so if you're a booktv watcher and want to read along with other booktv viewers, go to you can pick up the liberty amendments, you can read along, and then you can post your comments at it's very simple, just click on the book club tab up at the top of the page, and you'll see there there's a format for posting your comments, and you can read along all month on your own time. we'll be posting questions and comments as we go throughout the month on the liberty amendments. mark levin, thanks for your time today on booktv.
3:00 pm
>> guest: great honor, pete, thank you." >> c-span, created by america's cable companies in 979, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on