What ever one may think about Mark Levin, the pugnacious conservative talk show host, ignorant he is not. Levin has had a distinguished career in government and law, and is a constitutional scholar. When he isn’t railing against the Obama Administration’s efforts to impose what Levin regards as “tyranny” and “totalitarianism,” he is lecturing his audience about how too much of the public and most Democrats are willfully uninformed about our nation and how the American system works.
Levin puts great stock in knowing and understanding American history, yet he willingly allowed Texas talk show host Michael Berry to fill in for him this month, proving that despite Levin’s rhetoric, he prefers ideological fervor over competence, truth and accuracy. Berry, who gained some measure of infamy by declaring over KTHR radio that if the “Ground Zero Mosque” were actually built, he’d like to see it blown up, used Levin’s national audience to unveil a long rant about the need to elect a Republican Congress, and mots of all, to get rid of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Noting that the Speaker holds the third highest elected office in the government, Berry said,
“And let me remind you that 36 years ago, the Speaker of the House became President of the United States when the President and the Vice-President resigned!”
How’s that for educating the audience about their nation’s history, Mark? Your hand-picked substitute informed your trusting audience that 1974 marked the beginning of the fabled administration of President Carl Albert, of Oklahoma. Albert, a Democrat, was the Speaker of the House in 1974.
No House Speaker has ever become President, in 1974 or any other time. Berry, a lawyer and politician, was apparently referring to President Gerald Ford, who had been House Minority Leader at the time he was named Vice-President under President Richard Nixon, when the resignation of V.P. Spiro Agnew created a vacancy. (This was the first, and to date the only, invocation of the 25th Amendment, providing for the filling of a void in the Vice-Presidency). Ford, as anyone who reads the first two lines of his many printed biographical sketches can find out, was just one more Vice-President who succeeded to the Presidency upon the death or resignation of his predecessor, like L.B.J., Truman, Coolidge, Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Fillmore, and John Tyler.
Passing along historical errors as fact to a large radio audience is radio host malpractice. Not correcting such a careless representation before the end of the show is rank incompetence.
Levin, however, ought to be ashamed of himself. He extols his own trustworthiness as an authority on law and history, and yet allowed that trust to be used by a historically-ignorant agent of his own choosing to misinform his listeners regarding a historical event involving Constitutional law.