While making media rounds in promotion of her latest book, Guilty, vicious political commentator Ann Coulter has spent most of her time whining about how she is being mistreated and/or attacked by the mainstream media. This seems strange coming from a woman who has spent the majority of her career handing out mean spirited attacks to those who don’t share her political views. On almost every interview she has done while advertising her new book, Coulter has been defensive and hostile. It seems obvious that she fuels her book sales and her place in the media by fanning the flames of controversy with insulting, outrageous, and degrading language. Although Ann Coulter can be most savage in her belligerent rants toward the left wing portion of America, she can hardly stand even the most fair and thoughtful questioning or criticism when it is aimed at her. What is most distressing about the Coulter situation is that reputable media outlets give a microphone to her unreasonable and hateful form of commentary, which does nothing to enhance helpful political conversation in America. Let us take a look at a few quotes by this “pundit”…
Quotes by Ann Coulter:
“We have 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.”
“Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America‘s self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant.”
“Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.”
“With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan’s premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society.”
“‘Stupid’ means one thing: “threatening to the interests of the Democratic Party.” The more Conservative the Republican, the more vicious and hysterical the attacks on his intelligence will be.”
“He’s (Mike Huckabee) a stupid Christian.”
“I don’t think he (Mike Huckabee) is very smart. That’s why they like him. He is there version of an Evangelical. Of course, they’d like him better if he still weighed 600 pounds. That would be perfect”
“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.”
“When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”
“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”(Ann Coulter in a New York Observer interview, 8/20/2002)
“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word “faggot’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”
“Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan”
From the CNBC program “The Big Idea”:
DEUTSCH: You said-your exact words were, “Jews need to be perfected.” Those are the words out of your mouth.
COULTER: No, I’m saying that’s what a Christian is.
DEUTSCH: But that’s what you said-don’t you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic-
DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You’re an educated woman. How do you not see that?
COULTER: That isn’t hateful at all.
DEUTSCH: But that’s even a scarier thought. OK-
COULTER: No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want you being offended by this. This is what Christians consider themselves, because our testament is the continuation of your testament. You know that. So we think Jews go to heaven. I mean [Jerry] Falwell himself said that, but you have to follow laws. Ours is “Christ died for our sins.” We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.
In this small sampling of statements from Mrs. Coulter, it is obvious that her rhetoric is over-the-top, unthoughtful, and even unreasonable. The one thing that can be said for it is that it is provocative- which translates into book sales and speaking engagements. Unfortunately, it does nothing to help America. It only causes polarization of important issues and breaks down communication that is necessary to solve the problems we face as a nation. In the end, Ann Coulter is the only one who benefits from her nasty comments (in that she promotes her own career as an outrageous talking head on cable news and a shock value writer). If she wants to promote the conservative cause, why not approach political commentary like Sean Hannity. While everyone may not agree with Sean, he cannot be accused of being mean spirited, disrespectful, or unreasonable. On Hannity and Colmes, Sean could disagree with a liberal on a given issue and then call him a “great American”. Hannity seems to understand that it is the ability to bring many different opinions to the table and discuss them in a dignified and civil manner that makes America such an incredible country. He understands that a person doesn’t have to represent the cookie-cutter image of any certain political ideology to want the best for the United States of America. America thrives because of its diversity, it always has.
Perhaps we should not put much stock in Ann Coulter’s scathing remarks. Perhaps she is just a woman who has found out how to play a part and sell her brand. Perhaps all the tough talk is just an act. If you watch the temper tantrums she has thrown on national television recently (like her appearances this month on “The View” and “The Today Show” or on “Hannity and Colmes” in August of ’06) you would believe that she is pretty “thin skinned” and can’t take half of what she dishes out. Perhaps in the end it doesn’t matter. The more controversy she can stir- the more money she will make and the more air time she will receive. In many ways, she is no different from entertainers like Madonna, Marilyn Manson, and Howard Stern. She knows that being shocking and even offensive will translate into profit and popularity. Unfortunately, she is being billed as a legitimate political commentator rather than an entertainer, satirist, or even a comedian.
Thankfully, her fellow Republican, Governor Mike Huckabee, recently made her explain the hate filled comments she had directed toward him by confronting her when she appeared on his Fox News talk show. More interviewers and statesmen from both parties should do the same and hold her accountable for her divisive and mean brand of commentary. It is not the well meaning public servants, journalists and citizens who are damaging America. It is not the right wing or the left wing in general. It is extreme people like Ann Coulter that are poisoning the political dialogue in America with the viciousness of their contributions to it. She and others like her should be considered for what they are: self promoting entertainers-not patriotic, political minds.