I have pretty much ignored Ann Coulter for the last year or so. As her celebrity has grown – actually since she appeared on the cover of Time Magazine – she has had to make ever more outrageous and off the wall statements in order to maintain her position as a “controversial” commentator. This has often placed her at odds with many of us who, while generally in agreement with much of her critique of American liberalism, nevertheless recoil in horror and disgust at her rhetoric.
She has descended into a black hole of necessity from which there is no escape; where she is forced to please her rabid base of red meat conservatives usually by going beyond the bounds of decency and proper public discourse in order to make a point that could have been made without resorting to the kind of hurtful, hateful, personal attacks that have become a hallmark of her war with liberals.
Make no mistake. Ann Coulter is a brutish lout, a conservative ogre who should be denied a public platform to spout what any conservative with an ounce of integrity and intellectual honesty should be able to see as unacceptable. To descend to the level of your opponents in order to criticize them is not an excuse. And for such a gifted wordsmith, Coulter does not have the excuse of ignorance.
I have been told not to take what she says so seriously, that this is her “shtick.” I, like the Queen of England, am not amused. Neither I think, are the 9/11 widows who are using their position as victims of that tragedy to try and influence the public debate over what to do about the War on Terror and domestic security. We may violently disagree with their politics. We may scorn their portrayal by liberals as unbiased observers with some kind of moral authority that immunizes them from criticism. But as Coulter proved on the Today Show in an interview with Matt Lauer, this kind of rhetoric is uncalled for and wildly inaccurate to boot:
LAUER: On the 9-11 widows, an in particular a group that had been critical of the administration:
COULTER: “These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing bush was part of the closure process.”
“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”
There’s more but I won’t pollute my site by republishing it. Crooks and Liars has the video.
There are ways to criticize the widows without saying something so wrong, so hurtful. And what do you think their children would think if they heard Coulter’s remarks? Are they to be in the line of Coulter’s wildly off target fire as well?
This rhetoric is not designed to advance debate or even make any kind of a salient point about the political activism of grief stricken parents like Cindy Sheehan and the anti-Bush September 11 widows. The remarks were designed to hurt other people’s feelings in a deeply personal and entirely inappropriate way. Can you imagine some liberal commentator making similar remarks about Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame, III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon and who is fighting to keep the 9/11 Memorial from being hijacked by the anti-American left? We would be all over that worthy and deservedly so.
The anti-Bush 9/11 widows are not immune from criticism for their political positions nor even for the tactics they use to advance those positions. But to say that they are “enjoying” their status as widows is so far beyond the pale that anyone who makes such a statement deserves the most severe censure possible. And the networks who use Coulter as some kind of “Spokesman” for the right should be told in no uncertain terms by as many of us as possible that she doesn’t speak for any conservatives that we want to be associated with.
Coulter owes those women an apology. Failure to give it only reveals her to be a shallow, bitter, bitch of a woman whose hate filled mouthings will eventually lead to her destruction.
Confederate Yankee takes Coulter’s message – that grief does not bestow absolute moral authority – without mentioning her brutalization of the widows.
His point is well taken but he seems to be able to make an even stronger case than Coulter without resorting to the degradation of grief stricken widows.
It appears that one lefty blog in particular (although I’ve seen similar sentiments expressed elsewhere on the left) believes that I and other conservatives are trying to “distance ourselves” from Coulter’s idiocies.
An interesting concept, that. The fact that most responsible conservatives who see fit to dignify Coulter’s outrageousness in the past year or so by commenting on her over-the-top remarks end up strongly criticizing her, I wonder how much more “distance” the left wants us to maintain.
But my commenter SSheil put it nicely:
I think this post (and several others relating to the same topic) is illustrative of what I see is generally the largest difference between blogs on the right and left. As with Rick’s blog, most blogs on the right are not shy of taking our leaders, writers and speakers who represent the Right to task when they individually or collectively “step on their d*cks.”
When was the last time you saw one of Ted Kennedy’s incoherent rants brought to task by Kos kids or readers over at DU? Or Pelosi? Or Dean? Or Durbin?
I think I hear crickets chirping…
NOTE: A WORD ABOUT THE TOWER AD FOR COULTER’S BOOK
The answer is, yes I could request that the ad be taken off this site. But since I don’t believe in stifling debate (witness the insulting, degrading, comments from most of you directed towards me below), I will not make that request.
Such freedom of speech (and the freedom to abuse that right) used to be self evident in America. Nowadays, if you disagree with something written, many feel no compunction whatsoever about agitating for the offending literature to be banned.
Times have changed…
A few days ago in that same space, there was an ad for An Inconvenient Truth., a movie that most global warming skeptics (and even some advocates) believe is an execreable piece of propaganda.
I suppose I could have asked that it be removed since I don’t like propaganda being advertised on this site. I wonder how many people swearing at me for allowing the Coulter ad to run would be swearing at me for taking down the movie ad?
For the classically liberal perspective on Coulter’s remarks, you could do no better than visit my brother’s blog, The Vivid Air. And, no TBogg, my ignorant friend, not my “greater” brother. Since, as Jim points out in the comments, I have 6 other brothers, you are going to have to come up with some other shallow, simple minded way to criticize me. He’s just older, wiser, not quite as good looking, but considered by most to be a reasonable sort of fellow.
He can’t be all bad. He hates Kerry as much as Bush.
Jim points out that he doesn’t “hate” Bush. Indeed, we in the blogosphere tend to toss that word around with a casual disdain for its meaning and by so doing, delegitimize the argument made. Separating the human being from the policies being promulgated or opinions expressed would serve us all well.