Monday, March 5, 2007

Ann Coulter-Kerry

At this last week's CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), a major event in the community of Republicans and one watched by all the major news media outlets, Ann Coulter was a featured speaker. Towards the end of her speech, she said, to paraphrase, "I'd call John Edwards a faggot, but then I would have to go to rehab."

Ann Coulter makes her living walking the very outer edge of what passes for acceptable commentary by a conservative pundit. She usually gets away with her wilder comments because there is an element of cold truth to them. For example, her colorful criticism of the highly politicized "9-11 widows" caused controversy, but Ann came with a point of view that had a rational basis, whether you agreed with it or not.

Unlike the left, for whom profanity laced diatribes are often considered acceptable, at least in the blogosphere, conservatives have a definite line in the sand where colorful polemic ends and unacceptable invective begins. Ann Coulter finally stepped over the line with her caustic attempt at a joke. She failed the rational basis test miserably -- and it will hurt her. As an aside, I wonder whether she honed that joke at the John Kerry School of Ill Advised Humor. It is a bit more then ironic that she and her polar opposite, John Kerry, should both find themselves wounded by their attempts (or alleged attempt, in Kerry's case) at a joke.

Part of the reason I think this so unfortunate is that Ms. Coulter has a very sharp and agile mind, and she has almost always been an asset to the conservative cause. She has never backed down from the inane arguments of the left wing -- and in such exchanges, she has usually been far more persuasive in her arguments then the left wingers she has been paired against.

Having said all of that, her performance at CPAC offended so many conservatives that Fausta, of Fausta's blog, has drafted an open letter signed by herself and several other top shelf bloggers, asking that "CPAC speaking invitations no longer be extended to Ann Coulter. Her words and attitude simply do too much damage." Fausta supports those propositions with well reasoned and compelling arguments.

In light of the value Ann Coulter has been to the conservative cause generally, I began this post with the intent of disagreeing with Fausta and urging her and the other signatories to take a page from the Democratic playbook and give Ms. Coulter another chance despite her sins. After all, if the left can forgive and reelect such people as Ted Kennedy (vehicular homicide), Cold Cash Jefferson (bribery), Gerry Studds (bending over a paige), Alcee Hastings (bribery), John Murtha (Abscam), Barney Frank (boyfriend running a prostitution ring out of Frank's apartment), Marion Berry (drug use), and in a special category, President Clinton, I would think that we conservatives could forgive Ms. Coulter's momentary lapse.

My intent to seek absolution for Ms. Coulter was predicated on the belief that Ms. Coulter's actions were, in fact, a momentary lapse -- that Ms. Coulter would recognize she had crossed the line and understand the consternation she had caused the great mass of conservatives for whom she speaks.

I was wrong. I investigated Ms. Coulter's approach to this situaton on her website. There, in response to a John Edward's e-mail to donors seeking to raise money off the back of her "faggot" remark, Ms. Coulter had posted: "I'm so ashamed, I can't stop laughing!"

It would seem that Ms. Coulter is now firmly in Howard Stern-like shock jock territory, seeking to stun and discomfit her audience for her own aggrandizement rather then to legitimately criticize in support of the conservative cause. Her judgment is such that I am compelled to concur with Fausta and her other signatories. My days of defending Ann Coulter and supporting her work with book purchases and the like are now officially over.


Anonymous said...

I agree, except the difference between Ann and everybody else is Ann is a pundit, whereas everybody else mentioned is a politician.

Therefore, I don't think we need to hold her up to the standard of those who actually make the decisions for us that affects our life. With Ann you can turn her off.

When a politician like Murtha is willing to accept a bribe from an undercover Fed posing as a sheik, it becomes a national security issue.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Coulter, asked for a reaction to the Republican criticism, said in an e-mail message: "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."


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