Commentator Ann Coulter was reportedly going to appear on CNN last night but cancelled the appearance and instead appeared on….you guessed it…Fox News’ Hannity And Colmes. Think Progress has the video here.

But yours truly did see the interview where when Alan Colmes read an email from a viewer Coulter immediately said it was a typical liberal reaction…and Colmes pointed out that the viewer was a conservative…and that Coulter was seemingly losing part of her base. Her response was essentially: fat chance:

“This is the same thing we go through every six months. I say something, the same people become hysterical, and that’s the end of it. I mean I think the lesson young right-wingers ought to draw from this is: it’s really not that scary to attack liberals.�

She noted that people keep saying her career is over and that’s not what has happened.

She also responded directly to her critics on Fox News:

“‘Faggot isn’t offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays,” Coulter said on “Hannity and Colmes” Monday night. “It’s a schoolyard taunt meaning ‘wuss,’ and unless you’re telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person.”

What’s fascinating about the latest Coulter controversy is that it truly has drawn a line in the sand. Do conservatives want people in the middle or left to take their ideas seriously? Or do they want some prospective voters to conclude that anyone who thinks its just absolutely hysterical for Coulter to use the word “faggot” in referring to a Democratic presidential candidate should not be taken seriously.

In our previous posts here we quoted extensively thoughtful conservative weblog writers who see what’s at stake and have roundly condemned her. The disturbing part about Coulter’s Fox interview is that she was almost sneeringly contemptous of those who felt she crossed the line and supremely confident that she won’t suffer a bit for it in terms of stature or (implied) book sales.

And perhaps she is right. American political discourse has already become so mean-spirited, so oftentimes lacking in ideas and focused on personal attacks that perhaps this is the new reality. And perhaps she’s correct: perhaps the thinking conservatives who want to seriously debate issues and win on argument are outnumbered by the slash-and-burners whose goal is to demonize, belittle and discredit a person — even while carefully couching it in a cacoon of plausible deniability and saying it was all a joke. Perhaps they are oh, so 20th century and the wave of the future is for unversities to turn out little Ann Coulters who use lines you’d hear in an adult show at a comedy club. Ideas? FEH! Go for the (shocking) zinger…

The liberal side has some verbal bomb throwers, too. What makes the fate of Coulter interesting is her special status: she is not an elected official, not a movie star, not a comedian, and not a journalist. She is a fulltime professional commentator and longtime conservative icon who makes big bucks talking at unversities and other events.

Prediction: Coulter’s next book will be HUGE. She won’t be out on the streets due to a lack of speaking engagements. And she’ll continue to be all over television and cable.

But this has been highly instructive mini-firestorm, nonetheless….

Objective readers of the Coulter flap now can see that there are conservatives who adhere to admirable principles and they won’t jettison them for political expediency. And then there are those like Fox’s Sean Hannity who was careful not to criticize her. Unfortunately, young conservatives could wind up using Hannity and Coulter as role models and not the conservatives who repudiated Coulter’s latest successful sound byte.

But, from this modest, moderate vantage point, we now know more than ever who the people are with ideas who represent independent thought and need to be taken seriously — and those who should not.

UPDATES:

Ms. Coulter could be correct that conservatives will stick by her no matter what, but some advertisers aren’t. Three advertisers are pulling ads from her site, CNN reports:

Verizon, Sallie Mae and NetBank said the ads were put on a variety of sites by a third party company. In many cases, advertisers do not know which sites feature their ads.

“Per our policy, the networked Web site ad purchases are supposed to be stripped of certain kinds of Web sites,” said a Verizon spokesperson. “This one could be considered an extreme political Web site, should be off the list, and now it is off the list.”

A Sallie Mae spokesperson said the company was only testing an online advertising agency, and that their ads were not meant to show up on Coulter’s site. The company said they planned to pull ads from other political and religious Web sites as well.

A spokesperson for NetBank said Coulter’s page “is not the kind of site we want to be on.”

Coulter did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The Blogometer has a short post that should be read in full. A key part of it:”A common theme running through conservative blogger thoughts on the incident is that her words were just typical of her act and no one should really be surprised. But if that’s true, then why invite her to speak in the first place? Let alone after one of the GOP’s big WH ’08 three. Post-fracas condemnation of Coulter is good and all, but until Coulter starts getting shut out of events like CPAC, GOPers deserve to have Ann hung around their necks.”


Andrew Sullivan notes
the email he got from the American Conservative Union fails to condemn Coulter or say they won’t invite her next year. He writes:”Does that mean he believes her speech was “hate-speech”? Why can he not just say so and disinvite her in the future? The answer: because the base would explode. Coulter is central to a core element of the conservative movement today. And [ACU Chairman David] Keene can’t risk taking her on.”

And weblog opinion on Coulter continues to rage — which is perhaps why she made the comment. A CROSS SECTION of views 4 U:
–Shakespeare’s Sister, in a MUST READ POST, raises an issue not raised elsewhere about the letter (which we posted here) from conservative bloggers breaking with Coulter on her comments. To quote it would take it out of context so read the entire post for the full argument.
Crooks and Liars’ Nicolle Bell:”‘m a big believer in the power of our collective voices. Especially the power of the written letter. Feedback does affect the way people do their jobs; overwhelming feedback can change the way a job is done. This is perfect proof.”
Larisa Alexandrovna:

So why the sudden letter over the Coulter’s use of the word “faggot?” Because the Conservative movement is over, having been killed on the alter of ego and self-righteousness, racism, and hate. Trying to play the tolerance card now based on her most recent slur is a bit unconvincing.

All real Republicans I know no longer identify themselves as Conservatives and are outraged at a great deal more than a use of a single word by a hate-monger welcomed with open arms by her fans, otherwise known as the hate constituency. The real Republicans I know call themselves Libertarians now, leaving the far-right extremism of right-wing Conservatives far behind them.

Webutante doesn’t agree with Coulter but says people are forgetting the first amendment:

What in this country don’t we get about the First Amendment? I mean, do we have any idea what it is and what its implications are to free speech?

….Note that the responsibility for not being offended is always “out there.” We only know how to respond one way when we’re offended— whine and faint away in horror and righteous indignation. “Somebody else do something!” I’m too weak to walk away, change the channel, focus my attention on something else. Don’t ask her back as the speaker.

Boo hoo, Ann Couter said the word”faggot.” “Off with her head!” “I’m so offeneded. Boo hoo!”

Whether you agree with her or not, or her choice of words, this is free speech in action. And, in this country, it requires an adult individual response from the receiver, as well as the giver.

The Sundries Shack:

Back in the day I used to like Ann Coulter’s work a lot. I got really happy when she’d take a sledgehammer to some goofy leftist. I loved it when she used the same weapons on the left they used on us all the time. That wasn’t her entire schtick – she used to be one of the right’s real thinkers – but it was a big part of it.

I don’t anymore, though, and I haven’t or some years mostly because I grew up. She will never convince anyone that her views are worth considering because she’s regressed to the political equivalent of the Jackass TV show. That’s not where conservatives ought to be and that’s not who we ought to be paying to represent us in public. Let’s leave the childish stuff for the left, who have more than their share of vulgar insulting loudmouths.

The Absurd Report:“Now maybe Ann’s bile was a bit off the charts and that is for each’s own to decide but in this day and age of gutter politics ‘faggot’ seems a bit mild compared to what I have heard the left call George Bush throughout the last six years. Liar, Murder, Idiot, Warmonger, Stupid, Hikter, Nazi to name a few. So following this comes the usual liberal mantra, demanding an apology from Ann for her remarks.”
Digby:

As Somerby pointed out earlier today, Maureen Dowd does exactly the same thing Coulter does without the vulgarity. He also recalls that Coulter recently called Al Gore a “big fag” on Chris Matthews show and nobody said a peep. This is because it’s so internalized that unless people are paying close attention, it just slips through. After all, she even said Bill Clinton is gay and it barely made a ripple….

…..The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation. Coulter says it out loud. Dowd hints at it broadly. And the entire press corps giggles and swoons at this shallow, sophomoric concept like a bunch of junior high pom pom girls.

–The conservative Riehl World View notes that Rush and Sean are circling the wagons for Coulter and writes:

Seriously, it’s not exactly a surprise or disappointment to see Hannity carrying Coulter’s water in the second clip. Limbaugh’s mostly doing the same thing. If it isn’t insignificant, it should be. No political movement should allow itself to be defined by personalities that are as much or more entertainment, as they are anything else. Some are much better than others, Levin, Ingraham and Crowley are much better informed and my preferred programs when I can catch them. But the Right should be careful as to whom they allow to define it.

Pam’s House Blend:

Well, now I guess the conservative movement has to make a choice, and it’ll probably be the wrong one — it will continue to love her because she represents The Base. This is who they are, despite the efforts of a few bloggers who were at that meeting and were offended enough to publish an open letter telling people to stop giving Coulter a public platform….

….The GOP has been taken over by extremists and what we are looking at is a fight between the gay-baiting Base and the social moderates who have been silenced and out in the wilderness for years.

The party can choose its path, but the homophobes in the party aren’t going down easily. Those in their movement need to step up and not just talk about Coulter, but about why too many conservatives and the GOP feel the need to rely on bashing LGBT citizens to make a point.

Little Miss Attila:

The destructiveness of Ann Coulter’s speaking style is impossible to miss.

And, yes: I’ve heard her kooky defense of her remarks—that “faggot” didn’t mean “faggot,” because Edwards “clearly isn’t gay.” (And we were supposed to know she felt this was clear . . . how? Are there no family men out there who turn out to be gay?) It reminded me of the tortured reasoning Bill Clinton used to defend some of his more outrageous remarks—ones that he at least had a reason (however wrong) for making.

State of the Day:

Ms. Anne took refuge in friendly FOX Newsistan to defend her remarks, derisively dismissing the term “faggot” as a mere “schoolyard taunt”. I find this defense particularly insensitive given the frequency with which we are hearing stories of gay and lesbian teens being assaulted and even killed simply because of their sexual orientation. Schoolyard taunt indeed.

And that may be one of the reasons why in this instance we are seeing far more condemnation. It is not the word itself but rather the mindset it represents. And while individual denouncements are welcomed, they should be done as part of a larger wholesale rejection of this type of hatred and bigotry.

Right Wing News’ John Hawkins runs Rush Limbaugh’s defense of Coulter. Then he lists various people, news organizations and bloggers on the left who throw verbal bombshells as well and writes:

So, I haven’t agreed with things Ann has said in the past, I didn’t agree with what she said at CPAC (and don’t think they should invite her back), and I fully anticipate criticizing things that she says in the future. However, what I don’t anticipate doing in the future is figuratively kicking her under a bus for the good of conservatism as long as the wretched hive of villainy listed above is still in the good graces of the left. When they get rid of their dozens and dozens of black sheep, then maybe Ann will have to go. But as long as liberals are allowed to compare Bush to Hitler and accuse conservatives of hating blacks, the poor, and old people without suffering any consequences on the left, then Ann is OK with me.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Cjordan

    She’s right, they will stick by her. She’ll be fine.

  • grognard

    Yes, the Limbaugh crowd will rally behind her. In the comments on some sites I could see that many were more focused on what the other side had said, to justify what Coulter said. With the ranting between the left and right I felt that I was back in the [elementary] school yard. My fear is that one day some lunatic will shoot one of these pundits and we will see a real war, things will deteriorate to fighting in the streets.

  • Lynx

    She will not back down, if she did she’d lose her base. People who listen to and support Coulter at this point are the sort who would see ANY apology as a sign of weakness, a sign that “those damn liberals” had finally managed to defeat her. It’s really not about what she says, it’s all about the fact that she NEVER backs down, or at least never ever apologizes or recognizes error. There is a sector of the populace who admires this, thinks it’s a sign of strength. Many know that her insult was way out of line, but would be disappointed if she backed down. It’s the principle of the matter to them: you don’t cede to “the liberals” even if they say the sky is blue, NEVER.

    Now saying that f—-t isn’t a slur against gays is hillarious. Yeah, and n—r isn’t a slur against blacks is it hon? I’d wonder about whether she’d use that term for Obama but then, she probably would.

  • C Stanley

    Lynx,
    What you pointed out was exactly what happened with the blogger hires by Edwards. How many left wing sites were saying that Edwards shouldn’t show weakness by firing them or allowing their appropriateness to be questioned? And how many moderates took that view as well instead of saying that there ought to be different standards between what is written on blogs and what is sanctioned as appropriate for mainstream campaign speech?

    That’s the problem; ideologues on both sides make it into an issue of “Nobody’s going to tell me what we can or can’t say”. That puts the focus on the first amendment issue; that we shouldn’t censor. It becomes compelling to want to defend people even if you think they’ve gone too far. But normal people understand that there’s a difference between saying that someone CAN’T say something and that they SHOULDN’T say it. A difference between whether people ought to be allowed to say outrageous incendiary things and whether they ought to say them.

  • Coulter lies again. The word she used was always used not to mean that someone was a “wuss” but to call a “wuss” homosexual. I’ve never heard of it used in any other way.

  • AustinRoth

    Yep, got to agree with you Jim on this one. Pure spin and backpeddling.

  • Laura

    If the purpose of such verbal bomb throwing is to avoid dealing substantively with issues by launching personal attacks, then the reactions to coulter’s remark and others like it, plays right into their hands.

  • jjc

    Of course Coulter won’t back down. The interesting question is whether she’ll lose any bookings or book sales, which she very likely would if she did back down.

    If she’s invited back to the ACU convention next year, are there repercussions for the GOP? Should there be?

    Rudy McRomney have condemned the remarks, but I don’t think they’re done having to react to Coultermania. I’d like to think outfits like Time/Warner aren’t either but they’ll probably slide by without many people noticing their roles in the promotion of Coultermania. Fox News, of course, won’t change at all.

    IMO, Coultermania is more the story than Coulter herself. There are flamers everywhere, but few who are as prominent and even fewer who are as rich. A lot of people dig Ann Coulter, and I would bet damned few of those dig her even a little bit less now.

    Of course, being the nasty leftwinger I am, I’m hoping more and more independent voters see every vote for any Republican as a tiny contribution to Coultermania that seemed insignificant enough before but has gotten to be a little too much now.

    Yes, there are leftwingers who spew bile and are rich and prominent. But unlike Coulter, they aren’t rich and prominent because they spew bile, in whatever fashion. That’s Coultermania–a thirst for this kind of bile shared not by a few lunatics but by otherwise respectable organizations like the ACU, and by enough other benighted citizens to make Ann Coulter rich and lend her prestige, even to where she appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, whose editors arguably saw a chance for a share of the riches and prestige.

    Ann, of course, hopes the story continues to be about herself, but I hope the story evolves to where it includes the many who are willingly allowing themselves to be pulled down with her, not to mention all the rest of us who are pulled down as long as she and hers aren’t marginalized to where the ACU wouldn’t think of ever having her back.

  • jjc

    Looks like I got ACU and CPAC mixed up in the above. Please correct ‘ACU’ mentions to ‘CPAC’.

  • Rudi

    Another nutjob, Pam at AtlasShrugs, takes Apple Annies slur and goes even further. She says outright that Edwards is gay and must stop lieing about it.
    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2007/03/atlas_vlogs_cpa.html

    As far as Coulter’s out of the left field “faggot” remark goes — it may have been a poor choice of words but further Atlas investigation reveals John Edwards campaign has a mostly gay staff and rumors about his sexuality are rife. Just for knowing.

    The fact is if there is any true to these rumors, that perhaps Edwards is gay, shouldn’t we know that? Shouldn’t we know if this man is deceiving his wife, children, country and living a lie? Shouldn’t we know if a man that represents the party that celebrates gay rights is so ashamed of it, he lives a ginormous lie? Regardless of your position on gay marriage, regardless of whether you celebrate or merely tolerate the gay lifestyle, we ought to know if John Edwards is a liar and a hypocrite.

    Pam and Little Debbie Schussel are the face of Conservatism – LOL.

  • Big storm about Coulter using a silly epithet from the Bolshie blogs. Not a peep about Maher wishing Cheney were dead. What a crock of horses*** from a collection of political commissars!

  • Sam

    Apparently her website has lost come advertisers which is something at least. Also, Jon Swift has a brilliant post on the SHOCKED reaction from the right about her verbal sewage. As if THIS TIME she went overboard lol. Some people will follow anyone who shouts what they also believe, regardless of the rationale for it.