Ross Douthat, The New York Times conservative opinion columnist (and former Atlantic senior editor) has staked out some precarious ideological terrain from which to write. "His comfort with complexity, and with those who disagree with him—along with his somewhat unconventional upbringing, his unorthodox ideas on abortion law, and his embrace of both popular culture and highbrow literature—make him a surprising conservative writer," wrote Mark Oppenheimer in a recent Mother Jones profile. But this unique patchwork of sometimes conflicting values has earned him a surprising number of detractors who snipe at him from both sides of the political aisle.

The latest pundit to lambaste Douthat is hard-right radio talk show host Mark Levin, who not only slams the Times' columnist's recent article on The Right and Climate Change, but also makes some incendiary attacks on his character, talent and position. All this in a 166-word Facebook note entitled What is a Ross Douthat?  His answer:

This is your typical pretender. He's not a thinker. He's not a scholar. He's not accomplished. What, exactly, does he know about climate in specific or science generally? What has he studied on these subjects? He doesn't tell us.

But Levin is only warming up:

Douthat is illustrative of a desperate climber trying to claw his way to the top. And he is encouraged on his journey by other obscure light-weights who clap like trained seals for they share in his delusion. But he damns himself with his regular ramblings in the New York Times -- he, a failed author to boot. Thoughts?