Why Did CPAC Snub Mark Levin?

There’s been a good deal of blog reaction to Mark Levin’s criticism yesterday: of Glenn Beck. My friend Andrea Shea King: accused: Levin: of being: motivated by “envy,” and in support of that thesis quoted my own ruminations about this year’s CPAC lineup.

This puts me in a very: awkward position, because I would very much want to be Levin’s friend (no wise: person would: want to be his enemy) and I’m also friends with the folks at CPAC. So I posted this explanatory comment at Andrea’s blog:

Thanks for the linkage, Andrea. I certainly don’t mean to ascribe Levin’s criticism of Beck to envy. His criticism is specific and substantive and must be judged on its own merits, without regard to motive.
My point is that CPAC’s choice of Beck for the prime Saturday evening spot can be read as a snub of Levin (and other conservatives of comparable status) and, from a perspective of seniority within the movement, you can argue that Beck “jumped ranks.” As I noted in talking about my own situation, it makes me feel like a putz when I’ve never been invited to speak at CPAC, but they give a main-stage spot to a 14-year-old kid for the second consecutive year.
Am I “envious” of Jonathan Krohn? Of course not, and it’s an insult to me even to suggest such a thing. But there are only so many speaking spots on the main CPAC stage, and when the organizers choose one speaker, they effectively unchoose another. If I were a Reagan administration alumnus, a best-selling author and a top talk-radio personality – as is Levin – certainly I would feel umbrage at being excluded from the CPAC agenda in favor of Glenn Beck.
Nothing against Beck and certainly nothing against Levin – I enjoy them both – but I’m just trying to explain why the CPAC decision-making process has to be carefully managed. I love CPAC and am personal friends with many involved as sponors and organizers of the conference. It is in therefore in the spirit of friendship that I suggest they were wrong to deliver this implicit snub to Mark Levin.

Of course, from the standpoint of the average person attending CPAC, it was a smashing success.: They set: an attendance: record, with more than 10,000 people, and the larger facilities at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel were splendid.

It is unfortunate that the choice of Beck — whose popularity and influence are phenomenal — has provoked so much public controversy, but we must remember that there was also much controversy last year over Rush Limbaugh’s speech. No one in the conservative movement, however,: could reasonably argue that after two decades of: incomparable talk-radio excellence: Limbaugh hadn’t paid the dues necessary to deserve that spot.: 

Compare either Limbaugh or Levin to Beck, and you see the basic: problem. By 1992, Limbaugh was already the nation’s No. 1 talk-show host, and Levin was an alumnus of the Reagan-era Justice Department who became president of the Landmark Legal Foundation. Glenn Beck?: In 1992, he: was a 28-year-old Top 40 DJ: on a “morning zoo” show, driving around in a DeLorean.

Think about that. No matter how much Beck has accomplished lately, his relative lack of seniority as a conservative quite naturally: makes him somewhat suspect to those who have labored for decades: on behalf of the conservative cause. To describe Levin’s criticism of Beck as motivated by “envy” is thus grossly unfair to Levin, whose own conservative credentials are unimpeachable.

Most conservatives are probably fans of both: Levin and Beck, and therefore: hope this dispute blows over quickly, so that everyone involved can turn their attention to defeating the liberal agenda.

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