Home / Radio Clown Mark Levin Angry with McCain over Anti-Torture Legislation

Radio Clown Mark Levin Angry with McCain over Anti-Torture Legislation

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Mark Levin, the conservative talk-radio host, normally devotes himself to blasting liberals.

Not this week. The radio clown has found something a target far worse. Instead of targeting Hillary Clinton, John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi, Levin has targeted Sen. John McCain – with a steady flow of pre-screened callers agreeing with him.

Why? Because McCain had the gall to legislate a formal ban on the cruel or inhumane treatment of detainees in US custody anywhere in the world. After resisting the measure for months, and at one point vowing to veto a Defense Department appropriations bill to get his way, President Bush this week flip-flopped, relenting to bipartisan support for McCain’s bill.

The White House had argued that existing rules banning torture did not necessarily apply in cases involving foreign suspects being questioned by US operatives on foreign soil. The McCain bill closes that loophole by saying such restrictions apply “regardless of nationality or physical location.”


Levin is so angry with McCain that he vowed on yesterday’s edition of his syndicated show to do anything in his power to prevent the Arizona Republican from receiving his party’s 2008 presidential nomination. On tonight’s show, he said he would rather vote for his dogs than McCain.

Callers have been equal to Levin’s “angry right” shtick. One caller suggested McCain was a “Manchurian Candidate” who had been brainwashed against torture during his five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Levin didn’t argue against the caller, who (perhaps inadvertently) referenced part of a whisper campaign used by the Bush campaign in 2000 to sway South Carolina voters against McCain.

Levin argued that McCain – who remains popular among independents and fans of such shows as CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman and Comedy Central’s Daily Show With Jon Stewart – had gotten soft because of his exposure to liberals. The way the radio clown explained it, you would think liberalism was contagious.


So why are conservatives like Levin so angry about this legislation?

The White House argued that the legislation was unnecessary because of existing laws banning torture. Last month, CIA Chief Porter Goss said: “This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work.” Bush himself insistedlast month: “We do not torture.” Fox News Channel anchor Brit Hume, serving in his normal capacity as conservative apologist, argued earlier this week that the much criticized practice of “waterboarding” – the act of pouring water over a prisoner to make him think he is about to drown – does not constitute torture.

In other words, either the US isn’t practicing torture, or it is desperately trying to spin that idea on anyone who will listen, most notably McCain.

In October, Goss and Vice President Dick Cheney each fought to have the CIA exempted from the legislation, so as to give the president “maximum flexibility” as he fights a “global war on terror.”

McCain said no.

Levin and his callers won’t soon forget.


This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.

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About David R. Mark

  • RedTard

    This legislation was a great way to make Bush look bad. In either position he loses.

    If he signs the torture bill it implies that we had been torturing or that it was legal before.

    If he refuses to sign the bill it implies that he supports torture.

    Bottom line, Bush was set up to lose on this one. I applaud the intelligence behind the strategy. McCain is a smart man who probably hasn’t gotten over the SC thing. Some of you accuse him of getting close to Bush but I think he’s just sticking to the old proverb ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’.

  • Anthony Grande

    I have to disagree with you there, RedTard. I think McCain has just lost it when it comes to torture.

    But because of the shit McCain has been through in Vietnam we must excuse him.

  • gonzo marx

    “we must excuse him”


    what the fuck? i do not believe you actually typed that…

    let me understand this correctly, you are condescending to a Senator, who is a combat veteran and ex-POW, and who is speaking out about the Ethics of the American military and Government (meaning: Americans do NOT torture people..period)

    are you stating that your position is that it is ok for the American government or it’s Agents to torture human beings? and that you “excuse” McCain for being against it because of why exactly?

    just checking…Enquiring minds wanna know


  • Baronius

    Red – It’s almost word-for-word that classic, “have you stopped beating your wife?”. Plus, it lets McCain bring up his military record AGAIN.

    I’d sooner listen to Levin’s dogs than Levin. But he reflects a deep-seated distrust of McCain in conservative circles. Partly, it’s McCain’s willingness to play to the press. Partly, it’s leftover ill will from McCain-Feingold. And McCain’s reaction to opposition to McCain-Feingold was bad. It probably cost him the 2000 election.

  • Yep. Bad posish indeed.

    Reminds me of the intro to a Goldberg column:

    When I was a wee think-tank gnome at the American Enterprise Institute, a scholar there told me a story. An expert on South America, during the 1980s he was often asked to appear on television to defend the Reagan administration’s policies in Central America. This meant that every now and then when some goon squad in South America murdered a bunch of nuns he’d get a call from PBS’s Newshour. “Hello, Dr. So-and-So, we were wondering if you could come on the program tonight to round-out a panel discussing the recent developments in El Salvador.”

    “Who else do you have on?”

    “Oh. We have so-and-so from the Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights. We’ve got you-know-who from Amnesty International. And we’ve got our-old-friend from the Center for Democracy and Dignity from Rutgers University, and we’d like you to take the last spot.”

    “Oh I see. In other words, you want me to fill the pro-dead-nun chair?”

  • david r. mark

    What cost McCain the 2000 election was the smear campaign in South Carolina, organized by Karl Rove’s friend, Robert Perry — the same guy who backed the Swift Boat vets smear campaign against John Kerry last year.

  • MCH

    Which branches of the military did Karl Rove and Robert Perry serve?

  • Anthony Grande

    Gonzo, we are not torturing human beings and we already have laws in place that are anti-torture because the people caught doing the slightest torture are behind bars.

    And I do not believe you understood what I meant by “we must excuse him.”

    What I meant was that McCain is deeply in the wrong with this bill but us conservatives/Republicans must forgive his liberalness on the issue because he was a tortured POW.

  • MCH: “Which branches of the military did Karl Rove and Robert Perry serve?”

    The Executive Branch, MCH.

    AG:”Gonzo, we are not torturing human beings and we already have laws in place that are anti-torture because the people caught doing the slightest torture are behind bars.”

    Is it that we’re not torturing human beings because we’re not torturing terrorists or is it because you don’t consider terrorists human?


  • MCH

    “The Executive Branch, MCH.”

    No wonder they felt motivated to slime the service of two combat vets.

  • gonzo marx

    Ant G sez…
    *What I meant was that McCain is deeply in the wrong with this bill but us conservatives/Republicans must forgive his liberalness on the issue because he was a tortured POW.*

    ok..let me get this straight

    you are stating that it is “liberalness” to be AGAINST Americans torturing anybody?

    but that you “conservatives” should forgive McCain because of some derangement sustained while being tortured as a POW? and that true “conservatives” as defined by yourself are all for some torture hidden away when somebody feels it’s needed?

    is that a correct assessment of your statements?


  • JJ

    When you talk about Domestic Issues there is practically no difference between McCain and Rodham-Clinton.

    McCain is a liberal “Republican” and while Rodham-Clinton is a liberal since she needs to be seen as less liberal she will hold back on promoting many liberal policies to retain hold of the center.

    In this respect, McCain might even be more liberal because he will purposely promote liberal policies to get supporters while Rodham-Clinton will hold back fearing she would lose support.

    But the real difference between the two is in foriegn policy. Rodham-Clinton was part of the well it may have been ill-advised the nonetheless successful attacks on Serbia.

    McCain on the otherhand, is noted for being a fighter pliot in Nam who when captured betrayed fellow prisoners to increase his own comfort.

    I believe that Rodham-Clinton knows how to fight. She was probably one of those woman whose first response when offended by a male was a kick to the groin. I for one wouldn’t want to be anywhere near her when she is on the warpath.

    Extreme times call for extreme measures. If it becomes a choice between McCain and Rodham-Clinton then I will be among the first to open up a local chapter of Republicans for Rodham. With the the slogan being “if you were bin Laden, who would you want to be up your ass”?

  • JJ

    Bad move on McCain.

    He has made himself the poster child for blame the next time there is a domestic terror attack.

    And the Bushies can honestly say, don’t blame us, our hands were tied.

    This is one of those cases where something that at the time seems short term smart turns out to be long term stupid.

    Or in this case long term fatal, and unfortunately not just to McCain’s political career.

  • JJ

    McCain is Lame!

    Let’s Rodham bin Laden!

  • jj

    am sure I would have opposed many of FDRs domestic policies but he was the only one at that time who could fight WWII as effectively as he did.

    Hillary is that way as well. Domestically I can’t stand anything about her. But we are at war and she is one IRON LADY if there ever was one.

    McCain on the other hand has proven that at the first sign of adversity he would collaberate. That isn’t what we saw with Hilary.

    Hillary is one tough woman. I hated her for it in the 1990s but it isn’t the 1990s anymore. Foreign Affairs is the only issue to think about now. And although I disagree with going into Serbia, that war was fought very effectively.

    Hillary is tough, and McCain collabrates at the first sign of aversity. To call him a “war hero” insults all those brave people in that war WHO DID NOT TALK!

    And we have heard time and time again that torture isn’t a very effective method as the one being tortured just gives false information to stop from being tortured. Yet, this “ineffective” method was effective on McCain.

    And us not forget that McCain got implicated in a financial scandal a while back. Yeah, so did Hillary but she was clever enough to ensure that she never left enough fingerprints to be indicted. And that is what we need these days. Someone who knows how not to leave fingerprints.

    I am a Republican but if it becomes a choice between McCain and Hillary I will reluctantly vote Hillary for all the bad things you can say about her and there are many, we have always seen her as a tough lady who knows how to FIGHT. She showed us that in Serbia. She will show it to us in the war on terror!

  • JJ

    If you were a terrorist would you rather face Hillary or McCain?

    I would rather face McCain. Hillary personally scares the shit out of me.

    And in this post 9-11 world that is the most important thing for America to have. A President who scares the Shit out of People.

    We survived Bill. We can survive Hillary, but we can not survive a weak kneed President like McCain would be! Not at this time in our history!

  • gonzo marx

    still waiting for Ant G to reply to #11


  • I think what the conservative knock on McCain is that he’s trying to gain public support by taking the easy route at the expense of his own party.

    It’s like passing a Puppies And Rainbows amendment, and the Republicans saying “this is not necessary” and all McCain has to say is “What? You’re AGAINST cute little puppies and beautiful rainbows?”

    Then the public loses more trust in the Republicans, until they finally say “OK OK we’ll pass your little amendment” and it’s seen as a victory for McCain.

    –A vote for Suss is a vote for Free Sandwiches