guest post by Taylor Marsh
When I saw the latest insanity in The New Republic, "A Defense of Ann Coulter" by Elspeth Reeve, I knew it was time to let fly my latest piece. Reeve’s article is a beauty. That is if you like pimping for the Republicans’ prime propagandist.
Yes, yes, Coulter has said some terrible things. But I don’t think it’s the terrible things that really bother liberals. Coulter makes us cringe not when she lies, but when she says things we wish weren’t true. …
If you’re really looking for the truth about Ann Coulter, I suggest you read on.
On the YAF site selling the Ann Coulter poster, this is the description: The Beauty of Conservatism, Ann Coulter – best-selling author, witty columnist, and compelling speaker – proves it is possible to be beautiful, intelligent, and conservative. It’s important to note a couple of things. First, they describe her columns as "witty." Secondly, that "beautiful" comes before either "intelligent" or "conservative." Witty and beautiful are her top commodities in the YAF "marketplace". But it’s the whole package conservatives are taking to the bank, no matter how wrong their right-wing diva can be.
"I think [Whitewater]‘s going to prevent the First Lady from running for Senate."— Ann Coulter on Rivera Live 3/12/99
YAF has been around for a long time, as many of you know. Their major issues include: combating "racial preferences," also known as affirmative action; feminism, communism and Marxism, and "diversity." "Quacks" bother them, fascism not so much.
"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that’s because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."— Ann Coulter on MSNBC, 2/8/97
For the longest time, Phyllis Schlafly, then Dr. Laura, were the poster girls for the conservative right. My brother debated Schlafly back in Missouri during the ERA days. She may make a good case, but she’s nothing to look at, though back then that was no crime. However, in the new age of TV glamour, cool and celebrity, the conservatives were being out distanced by a mile. So what’s a conservative party to do? Find some way to make conservatism cool. It was post Reagan, when Bush 41 just didn’t cut it, with the rise of Bill Clinton, who was as cool a political conglomerate as we’d ever seen. Something had to be done.
Ann Coulter was made in the 1990s, as was her right-wing blonde book-end Laura Ingraham, who recently clucked that journalists should get off of their hotel balconies and report the Iraq war; a war that is the deadliest conflict for journalists since WWII. As for Coulter, even though all of her animosity was directed towards President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary, she actually owes her fortunes to Bad boy Bill, and the advent of 24-hour cable, which needed talking heads to ramble on about all things Clinton. Ann was always ready to oblige.
Basically, Ms. Coulter isn’t so much about important issues as she is a political ambulance chaser. She goes to the scene of news to capture the hyperbole and then offers her special brand of huff ‘n puff for the president’s party, which assures her noise gets covered. She’s also willing to say things no one else would dare utter and gets away with it; all because she’s a girl. This picture captures the set up. Little black dress and knee high black boots, with her long blonde locks flowing; all pictured beside the children, yes, always the children. A more apt phrase would be: here comes Ann, hide the children.
Coulter had stated that her "only regret with [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building." – NewsMax
That the leading conservative ringmaster would promote terrorism on a free press institution, no matter how much she disagrees with their stance on issues, shows the desperation of conservatism and the plight of the Republican Party. There’s nothing witty about it. Since Newt Gingrich’s failed Contract on America, which was followed by his disgraced Speaker of the House era, conservatives have slowly and steadily been losing ground on credibility, policy and ethics. However, that hasn’t stopped Chris Matthews and his friend Sean Hannity, both practicing Catholics, from offering post indictment interviews of Tom Delay, the champion of "forced abortions" in the Northern Marianas. But there’s one person who hasn’t suffered any real legal troubles, pocketbook blues or consequences for her vituperativeness. Her name is Ann Coulter.
"High Crimes and Misdemeanors" was published in 1999 and became a New York Times bestseller. The vast right-wing conspiracy, helped along by Regnery Publishing, had been launched anew. The goal: make the first two-term Democratic president since F.D.R. a pariah, while condemning all things progressive to the trash heap. Rush Limbaugh hailed Coulter, as did others. But her first of five books was nothing compared to what came afterwards.
She did not come out of the gate with such ruthless aplomb. As published at the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in 1998, "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" reflected her background as a lawyer and was fairly scholarly, considering what came after it. But once her lethally blond franchise became part of public consciousness, or at least the lower stem of it that feeds off cable talk, she quickly learned that hyperbole is best sold by the ton.
David Carr calls Coulter’s particular gift "weaponizing words." Washington Monthly chronicled Ann’s early beginnings.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war. – Ann Coulter, September 13, 2001
President Bush’s crusade campaign had a partner.
And who can forget Coulter’s claim that Katie Couric was "the affable Eva Braun of morning TV."
Ms. Coulter rides it all the way to the bank.
Here’s a chronicle of some of her greatest quote hits.
To a disabled Vietnam vet: "People like you caused us to lose that war."—MSNBC
"We’re now at the point that it’s beyond whether or not this guy is a horny hick. I really think it’s a question of his mental stability. He really could be a lunatic. I think it is a rational question for Americans to ask whether their president is insane."—Equal Time
"I have to say I’m all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the ‘hood to be flogged publicly."—MSNBC 3/22/97
"I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don’t need any more." Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, "Well, before the New Deal…[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start."—Politically Incorrect 5/7/97
"Anorexics never have boyfriends. … That’s one way to know you don’t have anorexia, if you have a boyfriend."—Politically Incorrect 7/21/97
"If they have the one innocent person who has ever to be put to death this century out of over 7,000, you probably will get a good movie deal out of it."—MSNBC 7/27/97
"If those kids had been carrying guns they would have gunned down this one [child] gunman. … Don’t pray. Learn to use guns."—Politically Incorrect, 12/18/97
"It’s enough [to be impeached] for the president to be a pervert."—The Case Against Bill Clinton
"If you don’t hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country."—George, 7/99
"I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."—Hannity & Colmes, 8/17/99
The "backbone of the Democratic Party" is a "typical fat, implacable welfare recipient"—syndicated column 10/29/99
"The swing voters—I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don’t have set philosophical principles. You’re either a liberal or you’re a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster. "—Beyond the News, Fox News Channel, 6/4/00
"Let’s say I go out every night, I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I’m not married."—Rivera Live 6/7/00
"The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals."—Washington Post 8/1/00
"I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote."—Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01
"God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’"—Hannity & Colmes, 6/20/01
After High Crimes came her string of New York Times bestsellers: Treason, Slander, How to Talk to a Liberal (if you must), Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Every single book was a money maker, with Ann’s special talent for weaponizing words getting more and more violent as she published.
When she was pushing "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism," (almost 400,000 in sales), it was all about the misunderstood genius and patriotism of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. In "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)", she let readers in on the playbook: "You must outrage the enemy. If you don’t leave liberals in a sputtering impotent rage, you’re not doing it right." And her sales of 301,000 for what was basically a collection of columns seem to indicate that she has mastered the form.
"Godless," which is already doing gangbuster business according to the folks at Barnes & Noble, suggests that liberalism "is the doctrine that prompts otherwise seemingly sane people to propose teaching children how to masturbate, allowing gays to marry, releasing murderers from prison, and teaching children that they share a common ancestor with the earthworm."
What Coulter does is serve up red meat for the media. BradBlog chronicles Coulter regularly. Max Blumenthal reported that the church Ann claims doesn’t know her. Corporate media could care less about the inconvenient facts. Bring us Coulter’s cash.
Why is she successful? Because she reduces liberals and most progressives to silence, then takes the floor for her own and the fans that flock to her. Few on our side like to go toe to toe rhetorically with the likes of someone who spews this type of venom. One clue as to what she’s really doing came when she suggested putting "rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee," which was followed by her contention it was all a joke. Ah, yes, Ann is so witty. One wonders what would be said of a liberal spewing such hate. We all know the answer.
What is also ignored in all the laughing is that Ann Coulter is the Republican Party. The Grand Old Party of the Past will do anything to get the job done, kill off their critics or candidates they don’t like, as well as silence their enemies. Their tactics inspired The Patriot Project. Today’s GOP is Nixon’s enemies list on steroids.
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much." – Ann Coulter
Through the weaponized "grief-arazzis," in Godless, you can hear the ratatattat of Coulter’s rhetorical gun.
The New York Times article calls Coulter one of the "leading political writers of our time." On the web and right-wing radio, her fans adore her.
“Liberals have never liked her, and we’ve always gotten complaints [from them]. But the complaints that mattered the most were from the conservative readers,” who felt that their views were being misrepresented. Cedar Rapids Newspaper Drops Ann Coulter’s Column
The Shreveport (La.) Times is letting their readers decide. Stay tuned.
But Ann needn’t worry, because she’ll always have Human Events, who lists Coulter as their "legal affairs correspondent". In one of her latest columns for Human Events, Ann goes after John Kerry yet again. Unfortunately, she quotes the Detroit News, who truncated Kerry’s quote, then refused to clarify their reporting, even after I had contacted the reporter who admitted there were errors in her piece. So much for trusting the hometown newspaper.
Hugh Hewitt’s new Townhall will also stand by Ann.
However, the Augusta Chronicle just dropped her, but there’s a rub. She was replaced with Michelle Malkin, the woman who thinks internment camps are a good idea. A woman who posted the personal information of three Santa Cruz students on her blog; put New York Times employees at risk; then was hoisted on her own pitard for yet another conservative anti-troop campaign that went flat, because I actually witnessed what she was floating. But at least Ms. Malkin never called the 9/11 widows "grief-arazzis."
We did not choose to become widowed on September 11, 2001. The attack, which tore our families apart and destroyed our former lives, caused us to ask some serious questions regarding the systems that our country has in place to protect its citizens. Through our constant research, we came to learn how the protocols were supposed to have worked. Thus, we asked for an independent commission to investigate the loopholes which obviously existed and allowed us to be so utterly vulnerable to terrorists. Our only motivation ever was to make our Nation safer. Could we learn from this tragedy so that it would not be repeated?
We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter’s accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered.
Contrary to Ms. Coulter’s statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day.
It is in their honor and memory, that we will once again refocus the Nation’s attention to the real issues at hand: our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11.
We are continuously reminded that we are still a nation at risk. Therefore, the following is a partial list of areas still desperately in need of attention and public outcry. We should continuously be holding the feet of our elected officials to the fire to fix these shortcomings.
Recently, Tim Grieve of Salon.com reported that Yes! Weekly, a Greensboro, N.C. paper, has also "decided to dump Ann."
Four newspapers does not make a tipping point, especially when you’ve got Sean Hannity propping up (or is that pimping?) your views and books to his millions of listeners; even making her a lead attraction at his "Freedom Concert," which actually is for a very good cause, even if Sean doesn’t actually promote freedom. That said, I’ve had to edit this post several times before it went up because newspapers keep dropping Coulter’s column.
Crown Publishing denied it all, with Ann running from the cameras for the first time in her well publicized career.
Coulter’s latest book Godless brings new questions.
But the Coulter plagiarism charges keep coming and supposedly stretch back five years. TPM Muckraker’s Justin Rood went to town on Coulter’s alleged crimes: Coulter a Cribber? Company: No. Expert: Yuh-huh.; Coulter Syndicator Responds, with more here; but it’s Rood’s full list that’s an eye popper. Behold the list, indeed, with more here and here. However, even TPM Muckraker boss, Josh Marshall, finds some of the claims "strained," much to liberal disappointment. I link, you decide.
But drat! How can we get the conservative diva? Who can take her on?
Matt Lauer failed miserably. He wasn’t willing to get down in it with her. The important question to ask is why major networks continue to offer Ann a platform, while ignoring progressive women? Why is conservative hate speech such a draw?
Norah O’Donnell, sitting in for Chris Matthews on "Hardball," blessed the conservative diva with an interview that was straight from Queen for a Day, something you’d expect from Fox News. The right-wing loved it. Now name one liberal or progressive diva who would get this kind of treatment anywhere. Time’s up. She doesn’t exist. But whose fault is that?
Then there was Donny Deutch’s rambunctious rumble with the conservative headliner, which was downright dirty. It was also the antidote for anyone sick of the milktoast media crowd.
But the bottom line for Ann is that she brings viewers to the screen, fans to events, political train wreck watchers to the cash register.
She brings book buyers to bookstores; people who read and pay.
Dollars adding up on the bottom line, time after time after time, as Ann accumulates more and more clout. She’s a one woman GOTV machine.
And in the conservative blogosphere, she is a star. From Newsbusters:
"allanf" says: Truly a case of beauty vs. brains. Let’s call this one "the parrot and the Lady".
American Infidel: "I wonder if Lauer is still crawled up in the fetal position after the a** whoopin he just got from Ann? We’ve finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism, and they don’t want to fight it. They would, except it would put them on the same side as the United States. – Ann Coulter
Sam: I love Ann Coulter. A little brash at times but always witty and thought provoking.
Chris Norman: Why, oh, why, can’t all conservatives handle interviews with the MSM along the lines of Ms. Coulter? Why do they always seem to fall into the liberal reporters’ traps, let them frame the issue, and go on the defensive? Perhaps all conservative/Republican politicians should be forced to go to a media boot camp run by Ms. Coulter.
Truth Missile: when Conservatives tell the truth the MSM (including Google) cries "hate-speech!", when Liberals tell the truth… I mean if they ever told the truth… well, if and when a Liberal ever tells the truth we’ll figure out what the MSM lapdogs call it.
Outside the Beltway had a cascade of complimentary Coulter commenters. Here are just three:
Patrick: I have a strong affection for Ms. Coulter, probably because she is a lot like myself. She speaks her mind and really doesn’t care who gets trampled in the process. I admire her for being able to do so with more wit and sophistication than myself. And she is a smoker from what I hear. My kind of woman!
Tri: I’m a conservative and I’m not against Ms. Coulter’s interview like many suggest we conservatives are. She hit the nail on the head. The left use these women as a mouthpiece because they think anyone that disagrees with them will look insensitive. To hell with their arguments.
Zelsdorf: The libs like to talk about speaking truth to power. That is what Ann does. The power of the media. To match wits with Ann, they need something of a larger caliber than Matt Lauer. James I am beggining to think you an apologist for the left. Why is that? There is nothing but truth in what she said about those particular 9/11 wives. Why is calling the President a liar acceptable speech, but telling the truth about those who oppose him is not.
While the cash register just keeps on ringing.
Ann Coulter attracts conservatives like flies, if you’ll forgive the analogy, and makes her patrons, corporate media sycophants and wingnut radio hosts happy. It’s the most beautiful big money smear machine in operation today.
However, contrary to what The New Republic prints, Coulter does not make liberals cringe because of her truth telling, because it’s not in evidence, as I’ve shown above. Some liberals want to ignore her; say she doesn’t matter. It’s a mistake. But until our side learns to fight as dirty as Ann Coulter conservatives, we’ll keep seeing W.’s diva on our screens, at the book stores and on the lecture circuit, firing up young conservatives and the Republican faithful. I just wish the likes of The New Republic wouldn’t parrot her propaganda.
But what’s going to happen now that some newspapers are pitching Ann Coulter to the curb? Michelle Malkin will make more money. Maybe Laura Ingraham will finally get her shot. She’s started substituting for Bill O’Reilly so can Ingraham mania be far behind?
It begs the question: why don’t Democratic divas get this kind of coverage? It would be nice to share in the wealth, not to mention the attention. We can weaponize words just as well as Ann, but make more sense doing it, which may be the problem. As for radio, we’ve got Randi Rhodes but few others. That’s why I’ve taken things into my own hands, doing talk radio from my blog every day. Beat ‘em in your own way, I say.
But let’s face it, we’re just not the train wreck the conservative divas deliver every day. That could change, or maybe it’s just not our style; or maybe it’s time we adapt.
Catfight anyone? Or would you prefer mud wrestling? Film at eleven, baby. Because remember, it’s about entertainment.
Sponsors, start your engines.