Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why Coulter Cannot Be Ignored

I wrote the other day about a truly delusional article written by Ann Coulter on why global warming is really about how Liberals want to kill many many poor people, and I mentioned in my title how I really wish I could just ignore her.

The other day Coulter actually called John Edwards a "faggot" (??) in a speech as a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and Glenn Greenwald wrote Friday about how this is not an aberration, and she is not a fringe member of the current face of "conservatism" these days, but the heart and core of it. This is why I don't want to ignore her but to work to discredit her. Those with power in "conservative" circles should be forced to state their opinion on her - either you're a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson or you're not.
She is the face of what the hard-core Republican Party has become, particularly during the Bush presidency. That is why she holds the position she holds in that movement. That's why Mitt Romney was giddy with glee when her name passed his lips. He knows that her endorsement is valuable precisely because she holds great sway within the party, and she holds great sway because the hard-core party faithful consider her a hero for expressing the thoughts which they themselves believe but which other, less courageous Republican figures are afraid to express.

This is not about a single comment or isolated remark. The more Ann Coulter says these things, the more popular she becomes in this movement. What this is about is that she reflects exactly what sort of political movement this is. She reflects its true impulses and core beliefs. If that were not the case, why would she continue to receive top billing at their most prestigious events, and why would she continue to be lavished with rock star-adoration by the party faithful?


  1. We disagree on this point. Every time someone challenges Coulter in the media, I think her soapbox gets a little taller. In my view it's best to ignore her completely, like you would with a crazy person on the subway. You can pity her, and ask yourself what went wrong in her life, but you can't discredit someone who's so completely hateful and irrational as Coulter. All you can hope to do is shout more loudly than her, and that's not helpful to people on either side of the political spectrum.

    Coulter's ideas, if you can call them that, gain traction because we hand her a megaphone every time she makes an inflammatory remark. Her critics are as much to blame for her celebrity as her supporters, in my view. Let it go. Change the channel.

    The whole debate reminds me of John Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire and his argument for civilized discourse and an end to media theatrics. Carlson Tucker's inane rhetoric finds its antithesis in Paul Begala's inane rhetoric, and together they form a perfectly balanced inane media pair.

    My feeling is that arguing with Coulter on her level results in extraordinary inanity, and that debunking her assertions in a reasonable manner is an exercise in futility.

  2. Ideally everyone would just ignore her. But given all the people who are not ignoring her, and who are writing about her (not to mention those who listen to her and say "Yeah! That's the ticket!"), my further ignoring her will not help much.

    So I'm occasionally putting her bigotry and "reason in ruins" (Sam Harris quote) up on display.

    In the case of the "faggot" comment, making it public has already lost her her syndication in some newspapers.

    I think that more dangerous than her fame is the possibility of a wider view that she is a "moderate."