Mar 3, 2007

On Ann Coulter, John Edwards, and Civility

I usually avoid writing about the verbal train wreck known as Ann Coulter out of a sense that I just give the conservative shock-pundit more attention by writing about her latest rhetorical upchuckings. I have to admit, though, that the most recent Coulter-spewings leave me puzzled.

In case you missed the incident, here is a transcription of the slur-laden comments of Coulter at the CPAC convention:
"I 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 ‘faggot' – so... Kind of at an impasse. Can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."
Coulter was apparently trying to play off recent controversies involving Michael Richards and Tim Hardaway, trying to make an oblique condemnation of one of her favorite targets: political correctness.

Unfortunately, Coulter just made herself look like an idiot again, and her decision to describe John Edwards as a "faggot" is bizarre. To my knowledge, there have never been questions about the sexual orientation of Edwards, a married man with children. Her attempt to create controversy by using this word only succeeded in alienating even some of her supporters, as quite a few attendees of the CPAC convention expressed audible disgust with the strange attack.

I am most saddened, however, at the erosion of civil discourse in American politics. We seemingly have become a nation of people whose ideas regarding the term "debate" are reduced to slurs, personal attacks, and 10-second soundbites, and Ann Coulter is just one example - on both sides of the political aisle - of the sort of nauseating shock-punditry that passes for political debate these days.


Mark W Adams said...

Mike, the innuendo that Edwards is not exactly the most masculine candidate goes back to the wingers calling him "Breck Girl" in the '04 primaries which is only increasing now. If that's not questioning his sexual orientation, what is it?

Interestingly they don't compare Edwards high school sports-star history to Bush's cheerleading, but that's another story.

I also have trouble with your equivalence argument. The best that GOP facilitator Adam Nagorney could do at the NYTimes was to compare the Coultergeist with Hillary Clinton. Ridiculous!

Please show me someone who spouts such venom on a regular basis as Coulter. She's despicable, period.

You can lament the low discourse of American politics all you want. Bring out the Michael Moore quotes if you need to, but after all is said and done, Coulter is in a league all her own.

Unlike, say, Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, Coulter is a national figure, embraced by the mainstream media, a regular FOX News contributor, and was paid -- PAID -- to appear along side Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Rudy Guilianni, and Dick Cheney at their event -- and this was a repeat performance.

There is NO ONE on her level. Marcotte's 5 day stint as John Edwards' blogger and Michael Moore, who has never been invited to address a candidate forum like that, let alone gets invited to spew his ideas regularly on TV, are the only one's even close.

Mark W Adams said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but Elizabeth Edwards, who is very active in the blogosphere, just posted a response to Coulter that you might be interested in.

Here's the link to DU since (interestingly enough) the John Edwards site has been up and down all day

-Sepp said...

Want venom? Listen to the Randi Rhodes show on air america! She is one miserable person to say the least.

microdot said...

A few hours ago at the CPAC Convention, Dan Borcher, a conservative author who is writing a book about Ann Coulter was interviewing another author about Ms. Coulters involvement in fabricating the Paula Jones affair during Clintons presidency.
Without warning he was attacked by for men claiming to be security, who attempted to take his nametag, consfiscate his notes and tape recorder and eject him. The Author was injured in the melee and the security guards were identified as 2 of Coulters body guards and as of yet unidentified thugs.
Sepp, if you love her so much, why don't you marry her!

Mark W Adams said...

Sepp, Rhodes isn't paid to address the DLC, or even YearlyKOS, which are the closest liberal analogies to CPAC. That, and Rhodes usually, not always, but usually has substance to back up her rants. Not so Coultergeist.

Microdot, I just read the first-hand account of that at KOS. The guys name was Dan Borchers, a self-described conservative Christian who's writing a book about her.

McCaskey said...

Coulter is horrendous, but no worse than Mark Levine and Michael (I changed my last name for stage purposes) Savage. Those three are in a deadheat for first place with Sean (That Great American) Hannity half a neck behind.

I've heard Randi Rhodes, Sepp, and she's no doubt stident, occasionally even caustic, from a lib point of view but the venom level is nowhere near those of the conservative ilk, IMO.

Mark W Adams said...

The point is, to both Sepp and Mike, there is no equivalent hate monger on the left that is given the rock star status of Coulter.

Glenn Greewald: "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?"

They want to be free to call anybody the most derisive and caustically hate-filled epithet they can come up with and suffer no consequences. They are about hate, and anything less than utter contempt and condemation is unacceptable. Trying to morally equate their actions with anyone on the left merely legitimizes such behavior -- and thus it will continue.

historymike said...

I had forgotten about "Breck Girl, " Mark. Thanks for reminding me.

historymike said...

I agree that Coulter is probably the most vile of the mainstream attack commentators, but there are certainly people on both sides of the aisle who engage in sleazy tactics.

Still, there seems to be something inherently mean-spirited about Coulter. She likes to use the word "satire" to describe her schtick, but last night's rant seemed to have no purpose beyond shock.

John Spalding said...

She fucking sucks, plain and simple. I just got done posting the exact same quote Mike!! Beat me to the punch, Oh well.

microdot said...

Savage was just dropped by his management agency. It seems they represent a few of the people he is sliming on a regular basis and they were threatened with a mass loss of big name, big money clients who objected to being in the same company as Savage, who is small time dirtbag.Coulter feeds off of controversy and creates it like Ozzie Osbourne biting the heads of off bats on stage. Sure it was just plain stupid pandering and disgusting, but it sure sold a lot of records!

microdot said...

Incidentally, I am continuing with my series of profiles of candidates in the French Presidential Race...I will try to write something on all 40 something of them in the next week or so.
Mike, I'm glad you liked my "Improve Your French" Post.
I have some more French humor including a piece from my favorite French Humor show, Groland....I am now officially Grolandais, I recieved my Passeport on Friday in the mail.

MP said...


Ann Coulter is a Nazi, to be sure. The lack of civility in American politics should be decried endlessly (especially when these negative attack ads inundate us around election time).

But seriously, that insult is the best that she can do? Gosh, John Edwards can just respond with a, "Your Mom!" comment and everything will be well in the high school cafeteria again.

-Sepp said...

Coulter and Rhodes BOTH make a fine living finger pointing and calling the other side names. I'm sure had any of us knew there was a future in that as a line of work, we all could have quit school in the 6th grade.
Funny side note, I think BOTH sides are being suckered. Listen to Hannity and then listen to Rhodes. Each says the EXACT carbon negative of what the other says...but wait...theres more...
Each has the same announcer during commercials and each has the EXACT same sponsors!
I'm guessing they each have the same studio and "high-5" each other in the hallway when they switch places at the mic. The only difference is Hannity has a commercial for buying gold and, Rhodes has a commercial for getting off drugs.

John Spalding said...

"Funny side note, I think BOTH sides are being suckered."

Amen to that sepp. These are National Personalities that in essence divide up our country. If you want progress you need bi-partisanship.

The national news media do a hack job of discussing issues, canidates, and politics in general.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Ann Coulter, instead of finding her audience growing seems to be driving many away, IMO.

Not to worry, soon enough she'll be referred to as, "Ann Who???"

That kind of venom and bile quickly tires fans/followers...