Hasn’t it come time to finally say it? Commentator Ann Coulter has gone way beyond being a provocative speaker and writer and has evolved into someone who is no longer just a verbal bomb thrower but someone who demeans those who invite her to speak.
What more can you conclude from her latest explosive device– something marking yet another new chapter in the ongoing vulgarization and cheapening of American political debate. Coulter has now dropped the bar down so far there’s a sign that says “WELCOME TO THE SOUTH POLE.”
Speaking today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter said: â€œI was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word â€˜faggot,â€™ so I â€” so kind of an impasse, canâ€™t really talk about Edwards.â€? Audience members said â€œohhhâ€? and then cheered.
We know this site has readers who are left, right and in the middle. So all of you folks read that again (or watch the video at the link) and think about it:
(1) She in effect did call him a “faggot” (a cabbage on the shelf at Stop and Shop would get her drift.). So we are now in an era when if you disagree with a candidate you just call him a “faggot” in a transparently indirect way, rather than outline how you differ from him and why you have better ideas.
(2) The audience (or SOME OF THEM since reports suggest there was NOT universal laughter or happiness over her comments) eventually cheered. So now there is a CHEERING SECTION for this kind of tripe. And it isn’t mere tripe: it’s thinly distanced bigotry, hate talk and, from Edwards’ standpoint, virtual slander.
Question: What is HAPPENING to standards in the United State of America? Do ANY exist any more? Or is it now only about getting attention?
Do those who cheered Coulter’s brand of vilification have any idea what kind of standards these are setting for young people? Presumably, if a young person in a school calls another student a “faggot” now, it’s OK. After all, Coulter got some cheers. (And reports note that she was swamped with admiring young people).
NOTE that NOT ALL in the audience cheered. And many respectable conservatives are very upset with Coulter (see below). And, for good reason. What does her latest say about our political discourse?
–We’ve now sunk to a level where unadulterated name-calling devoid of specific ideas masks as political debate and some people think it’s terrific. Sexual orientation slurs are OK. Are racial and religious slurs that far away? (Don’t ask…)
–Someone can make big bucks and be invited back to prominent forums over and over again if they vilify people that the group opposes.
–A conference that by all accounts was quite substantive, issue-oriented and serious is now partially-soiled by her comments.
–Her comments will likely spark some to mischaracterize the entire event as being epitomized by Coulter. That’s inaccurate (just do a Google search on stories coming out of the event.)
The larger issue is that in our talk-radio, cable talk shows, weblogs, blog comments, the 21st century shows that we’re in the era of shock language. The idea is to throw an audience red meat.
In this case, Coulter didn’t just throw red meat. She hurled the entire cow.
And there is little sign that there is any serious rising up to repudiate this trend or ensure that she doesn’t speak there in the future. With all of the SOLID and THOUGHTFUL conservatives, Coulter took the stage. The bottom line: the people who do it just get bigger and bigger audiences and fatter and fatter bank accounts.
And surely young people are taking note. Why bother to be issue- and solution-oriented and thoughtful when the attention and money is in slurring those with whom you disagree?
Project where we are now to twenty years from now? Can you imagine it?
Or are you already getting sick thinking about it?
PS: This site (after this post) is an Ann Coulter free zone. We won’t give her pronouncements any more attention or coverage. We’ve deleted comments from anti-Semites, anti-Muslim readers and others who left slurs that we didn’t want on this site.
With this comment, Coulter hasn’t only crossed the line. She’s zoomed into another universe.
We’ll just stay here on Earth — and link to and cover those on the right, left and center who are here as well.
HERE’S A CROSS SECTION OF OPINION. And note that many conservatives DO NOT AGREE with Coulter or endorse her comments:
When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young. The standing ovation for Romney was nothing like the eruption of enthusiasm that greeted her. One young conservative male told her he was single and asked for her cell-phone number. Other young Republicans were almost overwhelmed in her presence. “When are you going to get your own show?” one asked, tremulously. Then there’s her insistence on Christianism as the central message for Republicans: “There are more people voting on Christian moral values than on tax cuts.” This from an unmarried woman who wears dresses that are close to bikinis on the morning news. Hey, it’s Democrats who are Godless
Yeah, that’s just what CPAC needs — an association with homophobia. Nice work, Ann.
At some point, Republicans will need to get over their issues with homosexuality. Regardless of whether one believes it to be a choice or a hardwired response, it has little impact on anyone but the gay or lesbian person. We can argue that homosexuality doesn’t require legal protection, but not when we have our front-line activists referring to them as “faggots” or worse. That indicates a disturbing level of animosity rather than a true desire to allow people the same rights and protections regardless of their lifestyles.
Ann Coulter can be an entertaining and incisive wit. Unfortunately, she can also be a loose cannon, and CPAC might want to consider that the next time around.
—A Second Hand Conjecture: “I tend to look at someone like Ann Coulter as a barometer of the countryâ€™s general political direction. When she could make wry observations about some of the unfortunate tendencies of liberals (and their fellow travellers) and sell a million books, you knew that the conservatives were in ascendency. When she has to call candidates rude names to get some lukewarm attention, it would seem that the liberals are on the rise.”
—Hot Air: “Iâ€™m no fan of John Edwards, but thatâ€™s just a stupid joke. Itâ€™s over the line. The laughter it generated across the room was more than a little annoying. Last year it was â€œraghead.â€? This year itâ€™s calling John Edwards a â€œfaggot.â€? Two years in a row, Coulter has finished up an otherwise sharp CPAC routine with an obnoxious slur that liberals will fling at conservatives for years to come. Thanks, Ann.”
—Chris at My Space: “I couldn’t stand Ann Coulter before this incident, but now I really despise the crazy blonde nutjob. I can’t believe intelligent Republicans and Conservatives uphold her bigoted writings and comments. Some even worship the ground she walks on. Sad….Sad…Sad… If Ann Coulter is the epitome of a culture warrior, well I guess I’d rather be a secular progressive anyday.”
—James Joyner (blogging from the conference):
I would note that, an hour after the speech, people are still lined up around the block for autographed copies of her book. Granted, most of them are young kids of college age. Some of them are older than I am.
Somehow, I canâ€™t imagine Ronald Reagan being pleased.
—Iowa Progress: “While this may lead to some conspiracy theories that Ann Coulter is trying to secretly build up Edwards at the expense of Obama or Clinton, itâ€™s doubtful that sheâ€™s capable of such subtle thought. Frankly, Ann Coulter has a long history of being a crude cancer on our nationâ€™s political discourse. This was merely another opportunity for her to flaunt her poor taste, lack of judgment and thirst for any kind of publicity.”
—Jules Crittenden: “More bomb-throwing from someone who is all schtick, focused on seeing how outrageous she can be. Nothing new about that in shock comedy, which is what sheâ€™s about. She needed to top the â€œragheadsâ€? remark at last yearâ€™s CPAC. Iâ€™m guessing CPAC got exactly what CPAC wanted from Coulter. All kinds of attention. Why else would they invite her back to a serious political venue?….Anyway, Coulter just proved herself wrong as Iâ€™m guessing she isnâ€™t going to rehab. The Left is predictably outraged and indignant, and so is the Right.”
—Michelle Malkin was not amused. She live blogs Coulter’s comments and writes:
A smattering of laughter.
Not from this corner.
—Matthew Yglesias: “After receiving an introduction from Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter took to the stage at CPAC, called John Edwards a “faggot”, and, later, apparently endorsed the Romney campaign. Why doesn’t this kind of thing ever seem to make media trouble for Republicans. I feel like any progressive even vaguely associated with the hint of impropriety faces massive pressure to “distance” himself, apologize, disavow his friends, etc.”
—Blue Crab Boulevard: “Heck, I think Edwards is a political hack and completely unworthy of the office he is seeking. But I’m not about to cross the line Coulter crossed. She’s using a very charged word that was simply not needed and will cause a backlash. It’s a bald-faced provocation, unnecessary and almost certain to backfire. Heck, you can insult politicians more easily, more humorously and better than that.”
—Americablog: “Nice. And these are the people who make up the core base of the Republican party. Mitt Romney praised Coulter only moments before her public slur. Will Romney now retract his praise? Oh that’s right, the very pro gay Mitt Romney is “now” anti-gay. I forgot.”
—I Wonder:” Today she called John Edwards a “faggot”. What a fine spokesman for the Republican party.”
—Matt Stoller: “Anyway, one thing to keep in mind, aside from the conservative uncoolness, is that she called a major Democratic candidate a faggot. Ok, she’s an entertainer, so whatever. But keep in mind that prior to her appearance, most major Republican Presidential candidates appeared on the stage to make appeals to the audience. I wonder if they support Coulter’s statement. Do they think it’s appropriate to call John Edwards a faggot?”
Forget about the speech, even if the Left won’t, what Coulter did amounts to the hijacking of an event meant for, evidently, far more serious minded individuals than she. It isn’t about you, Ann. In fact, a great many conservatives couldn’t care less if you breathe, curse, cavort, or simply pose.
Your actions at CPAC did nothing to advance the cause of conservatism in America; they accomplished just the opposite. I hope you’re proud, you insufferable self-indulgent political media equivalent to Anna Nicole. There but for the grace of a few hundred pounds go you, Ann. Eat more. Hell, you can choke on it for all I care.
But the single most prestigious political event for conservatives of the year is a place where conservatives go to hear Democrats called faggots, Arabs called ragheads, and Supreme Court justices labeled as deserving of murder — not by anonymous, unidentifiable blog commenters, but by one of their most popular featured speakers.
And after she does that, she is cheered wildly by an adoring conservative movement that has made her bigoted and hate-mongering screeds best-sellers, all while they and their deceitful little allies in the media, such as Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post, write idiot tracts about how terribly upset they are by the affront to decency from HuffPost commenter….
—Hotline On Call: “Next, there’ll be calls for Republican candidates to disassociate themselves from Coulter’s remarks. Unfairly, ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney faces the biggest burden: he spoke right before Coulter and praised her… not knowing what she planned to say.”
—Crooks & Liars: “It’s nice to see the conservatives at CPAC embrace and cheer on someone like Coultergeist. She’s really a beacon of responsible conservative commentary, no? Last year it was “ragheads,” this year it’s “faggots.””
—The Heretik: “Nobody much notices the base level of Ann Coulterâ€™s speech until the wound ulcerates all over again. So John Edwards is a faggot the same way Al Gore is a total fag. The Right People applaud. The ragheads were not available for comment….What is the sound of one Right Hand clapping as the other hand slips Coulter cash for all the laughs?”
–Dean Bartlett on Hugh Hewitt’s blog:
Idiotic. Disgusting. Stupid. Moronic.
I guess you could say that Ann loves to shock us, but at this point, whoâ€™s shocked? She obviously canâ€™t behave well enough to attend a respectable political gathering. Itâ€™s not a lack of intelligence. Itâ€™s an indifference to self-control and a preening sort of narcissism that compels her to need the spotlight, even if itâ€™s unflattering.
Where are the Log Cabinettes on this? I see no press release on that web site, sorry to say. The GOP has been filled with professionally closeted gays at the highest levels of the party and this is their problem to solve.
The Republicans simply canâ€™t take themselves off the hook on the matter â€” theyâ€™ve used their toy Coulter as their bigoted id, keeping their hands clean as she says what too many of them feel but dare not say.
—skippy: “those foul-mouthed liberals”
—Talk Left writes: “She must have a new book coming out she’s trying to promote. It seems to me she is at her most outrageous when trying to make money.” Jeralyn also points to some of the quotes from prominent conservative bloggers that we have above and adds: “And, check out the comments at Pajamas Media. How long before her base starts rolling their eyes at her name, thinking “publicity hound?” Keep it up, Ann.”
—Josh Marshall: “John Edwards starts raising “Coulter Cash,” a.k.a. campaign contributions, off of her “faggot” remark at yesterday’s CPAC conference.”
For me, Ann Coulter jumped the shark a long time ago. She has the capability to be witty and make sharp points, but sacrifices all that by her overuse of invective. I don’t like that sort of approach from liberals, why should it be more acceptable because she is a conservative?
….Geesh, how infantile can you get? It’s not funny. There is no essential wit there – just a demeaning homophobic insult. There are so many ways to ridicule John Edwards and she just displayed her own weakness at biting political commentary by not making a humorous play on any of the real reasons why conservatives dislike Edwards…..
Maybe that sort of juvenile invective goes over big on college campuses but not at a gathering of conservative thinkers and Republican presidential candidates. She has reduced a serious showcase of conservative opinion to the level of schoolyard name-calling. I wouldn’t tolerate such language from my students and I certainly don’t like it from political commentators
—Gay Orbit: “Ann Coulter is not indicative of how rational conservatives feel. She is a vile human being. Always has been. Always will be. Thanks to Bryan at Hot Air and Ed Morrissey at Captainâ€™s Quarters for immediately jumping on this and denouncing Coulter. Why sheâ€™s invited to conservative gatherings, Iâ€™ll never understand.”
–A MUST READ post at the All Spin Zone. Part of it:
With 43 ill-considered words, Coulter once again became the face of the Republican Party, and in the process, probably torpedoed the presidential aspirations of at least one GOP candidate (Mitt Romney). Guilt by association, etc. etc. Thatâ€™s how radioactive sheâ€™s become….
….Itâ€™s widely acknowledged that Ann Coulter lives for this kind of publicity. The fact that someone like me is breaking an unwritten personal rule and documenting her atrocities is testament to her drawing power. Controversey is her bread and butter and paycheck, and sells her books. As long as Republican organizers of events like CPAC continue to pay her engagement fee to shock liberals and conservatives alike, sheâ€™s gonna do her schtick. And Fox News is going to continue to use her as a voice of the GOP.
—Blue Collar Heresy: “This is all Iâ€™ll say about Coulter, and Iâ€™m glad to see sheâ€™s finally getting the fragging she deserves.”
—Red State’s Nathan Nelson says it’s time for conservatives to “shun” Coulter. Read the entire post but here are two key paragraphs:
How can we do anything else? How can we condemn John Edwards’ campaign for hiring someone who uses hateful and profane rhetoric and then look the other way when one of our own uses that same kind of rhetoric? Indeed, all of the Republican presidential candidates – and especially those in attendance at CPAC – should denounce Coulter. She should never again be invited to CPAC. She should, for that matter, never again be invited to another conservative or Republican event. She should be totally and utterly shunned by the conservative movement. We don’t need her; if anything, she has become a hindrance and an eyesore, a figure who liberals can point to and say: “Look. That’s why you don’t want to vote Republican.” She can’t possibly be drawing anyone into the conservative movement. If anything, she’s got to be decreasing our numbers….
…..But now all she does is come out on the national stage once every few months, say a few outrageous and indefensible things, and proceed to make the conservative movement look like the horrible ogre that liberals say that it is. Now all she does is say these awful things that increase her celebrity and her book sales but do nothing to further the interests of American conservatism. Yes, it is high time for the conservative movement to move on. Ann Coulter’s got to go. I hope every single one of the Republican presidential candidates disown her, I hope Vice President Cheney disowns her, I hope President Bush disowns her, I hope CPAC disowns her, and I hope every single conservative in America disowns her. The conservative movement will only be the better for it.
For someone like Ann Coulter, having Howard Dean and the rest of the left attacking her is pure gold and she knows that conservatives who would rip anyone else to shreds for saying what she said, will give her a free pass for stepping over the line because she’s brilliant, beautiful, funny, and courageous.
However, the flip side of Ann grabbing headlines for herself is that she deliberately put the presidential contenders and the other people attending CPAC in a bad light (Left wing talking point: “See, that’s what Republicans really say when they’re together!”) in order to draw attention to herself.
That makes her extremely selfish, especially since this is the second year in a row that she has said something particularly obnoxious and controversial at CPAC. What’s on tap for next year? Will she drop the N-bomb? Will she use the C-word to describe Hillary Clinton? Whatever her plans are, after being burned twice in a row, CPAC shouldn’t invite her back next year.
—The American Mind has a roundup and also writes:
Imagine William Buckley using the f-word. It wouldnâ€™t happen. Buckley has more decency and civility and a lot more talent. He would have tossed a barb a Edwards that would have been smart, witty, and funny. Ann Coulter is simply the lousy shock jock of the Right.
She has enough of a following that CPAC doesnâ€™t need her any more. She adds no value to the conservative movement. Let her have her Fox News apperances I hope sheâ€™s never invited back to CPAC. We wonâ€™t miss her.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.