Friday, June 16, 2006

The Coulterfied right

If there was still a shark for Ann Coulter to jump, one might have thought that she'd have jumped it with this now-infamous comment about the "Jersey Girls," four September 11 widows who have been highly critical of Bush:

These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing bush was part of the closure process.

These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.

That's from Coulter's new book, Godless: The Church of Modern Liberalism. You might say that this time, Ann Coulter has out-Coultered herself.

Of course, I realize that by being outraged, I am giving Coulter exactly the response she -- like any provocateur -- wants. I would gladly ignore her if she were just some obscure ranter with a blog; there are many of those on the left and the right. But this is a woman who is widely seen as a leading conservative pundit, whose books are best-sellers (and selections of the Conservative Book Club), and who is a regular speaker at Conservative Political Action Committee conferences.

Godless would seem to provide a perfect opportunity for the right to throw Coulter overboard. And in fact, some conservatives have been highly critical. (On some of those blogposts, the commenters are vigorously sticking up for Coulter.) On the other hand, see this, and this, and this, and a lot of the trackbacks here.

See, also, a lot of commentary on the airwaves. On Fox, Sean Hannity should be, by now, scheduled for emergency surgery to have his lips separated from Coulter's butt. Bill O'Reilly has been fairly harsh toward Coulter, at least as far as her personal attack on the 9/11 widows is concerned, but he qualifies his criticism by saying that unlike his nemesis Al Franken, "Coulter doesn't lie" (here's an article at that shows otherwise). And listen to some of his guests.

David Horowitz, June 8:

Well, Ann Coulter is a national treasure, and her point is right on the mark. You know, she's a satirist. And satirists are going to push the envelope. And if you look at it out of context, it can look like it went over the top. She's not going to get a fair shake for, you know, her sentiments.


Ann Coulter is out there pushing the envelope. And somebody has to really rail into these hypocritical -- you know, like Hillary Clinton, all of them, hypocrites who have conducted a three-year campaign to portray our president as a liar, a child murderer.

The day before that, also on O'Reilly, there was Sandy Rios, conservative activist and former president of Concerned Women for America:

SANDY RIOS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Bill, I think, I don't disagree with your basic premise. I mean it is certainly not my choice to attack people. However, we are living in strange times. And I think while everybody else is making nice, Ann's words are laser focused on truth. She says things that no one else dares say and it kind of made me think about, for instance, holocaust pictures. Do we have to see pictures of emaciated bodies to understand what happened? It is kind of offensive. But, you know what, yes, we do.

Sometimes I think Ann's words, yes, as harsh as they are, they are like a clarion wakeup call, like cold water, like stop it because women have lost their husbands in an accidental bombing, which is tragic, and we have great sympathy for them, does not give them license to then criticize the commander in chief, to work against -

O'REILLY: Whoa, they are American citizens. They can criticize the commander in chief all day long.

RIOS: And then to be criticized in return.

O'Reilly, to his credit, points out that criticism does not equal name-calling.

RIOS: I know that that's true. ... But I would say that Ann is a unique person. I don't believe Ann does this stuff for theatrics. I think she really believes what she is saying and she has certainly a gift of words and imagery.

O'REILLY: If you're going to stand by that Sandy, then Ann Coulter writes in her book that these people are enjoying their husband's deaths. Come on, you know that's not true. That's brutal to say something like that.

RIOS: It is brutal. But Bill, I would say this, I do think we're living in a time where a lot of people enjoy the death of their loved ones. I know that sounds terrible.

On the same day, O'Reilly also had a pro-and-con on Coulter with Juan Williams and Republican strategist Karen Hanretty. Here's Hanretty:

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, I picked up Ann Coulter's book today. I read chapter five, starting on page 99, which talks about the Jersey women, as they've become to be known, actually the Jersey girls.

And I think that if you read some of what Ann Coulter is saying and you put it into context, I don't think it's mean-spirited. I think a lot of it is sort of tongue in cheek. And Ann's own personal style probably wouldn't be my style or yours or Juan's, but it's certainly Ann's style.


And quite frankly, I think that this entire discussion evolving around Ann Coulter right now, in fact, proves the point that she is making in chapter five of her book, which is that liberals regularly trot out these heroes or, as she calls them, human shields that Republicans can't refute.

So if you want to talk about the war on terror, they'll drag out Cindy Sheehan and say, well, you can't -- as you well know -- you can't criticize Cindy Sheehan because her son died in the war. Or...

O'REILLY: Now, look, that's a legitimate point. But Karen, for you to sit there and say that writing in a book that the four women from New Jersey are enjoying their husband's deaths is not...

HANRETTY: These are not just any four women, Bill.

O'REILLY: That's not mean-spirited. That's kind of a stunning statement for you to make. I mean...

HANRETTY: Well, I think you need to put it into context.


And along the same lines, courtesy of Patterico (to whom my hat is off for his relentless Coulter-slams): what on earth is Mickey Kaus smoking? Check out the transcript of his discussion with Robert Wright, where he offers some truly bizarre Coulter defenses.

In a semi-defense of Coulter, Michelle Malkin writes:

Unfortunately, lost in all the hype and hyperbole on both sides is the central point about the absolute moral authority the MSM confers on victims they agree with--while victims whose politics they do not share can't get the time of day. Ann told Sean Hannity today she hopes her comments will demolish the "liberal infallibility" the MSM confers on its faves.
Others, too, have argued that debunking the notion of the unique "moral authority" of victims is a valid point. It's an issue I have addressed myself in a critique of Cindy Sheehan's politics. But two points need to be made. One: As John Tierney pointed out in a recent New York Times column, it's not as if the right hasn't exploited grieving victims too. Two: except perhaps in Maureen Dowd's column, the absolute moral authority of victims does not exist. As Malkin herself inquires:

In any case, when was the last time anyone paid attention to the Jersey Girls?
All Coulter can do is garner them more sympathy with her revolting attack.

Oh, but as Bernie Goldberg has asserted, she says it all "with a twinkle in her eye."

I do think that Coulter has her uses. She is, for one thing, a pretty good litmus test of human decency. As far as I'm concerned, Coulter defenders are beyond the pale.


Peter Hoh said...

For what it's worth, I had not heard of the "Jersey Girls" until this flap.

I'm cable-free. Perhaps that explains it.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to see Ann Coulter accusing the 9/11 widows of "enjoying their husbands' deaths," since Coulter herself surely enjoyed it. I truly think 9/11 was one of the happiest days of her life.

Nearly all of the victims were liberal New Yorkers, Clinton-voters, nonwhites, non-evangelicals.... all groups Coulter has publicly wished dead. She has since wished that Tim McVeigh would have bombed New York City instead of Oklahoma City.

Seriously. Why WOULDN'T she enjoy watching her dream of murdered liberals come true?

Anonymous said...

I, like Mr. Hoh had not heard of the Jersey girls either. Thanks to the fact that not only don't we have cable, we don't watch much t.v.

However, I suspect that Ms. Coulter's 'way' over the top statements are simply;
a) red meat for her 'true'followers and
b) intended more to get publicity than to make any type of meaningful statement.

There's no shortage of hate-filled seethers on either side of the political spectrum.

I really see no difference between her and the likes of Al Franken et al. All of whom probably think that there is no such thing as bad publicity and no doubt are crying all the way to the bank.

I will note one thing though and this is NOT in Coulter's defence, but she receives the open contempt of the media, while the likes of Franken, Ivans and the rest are treated with far less hostility and often open support.

That said, all such extreme writing, on all sides of the political spectrum adds nothing of value to the political debate and only coarsens and debases the discussion.

Why don't we just ignore them since it's attention that they're after?

Revenant said...

I truly think 9/11 was one of the happiest days of her life.

A close friend of hers, Barbara Olson, died on board the plane that hit the Pentagon. So I rather doubt Coulter enjoyed that day any more than the four 9/11 widows she criticized did.

PrZUMM said...

I think you're way off in your Globe Editorial lambasting Ann Coulter.

To suggest that the MSM accorded Paula Jones the same treatment as Cindy Sheehan is laughably absurd.

While it's true that John Walsh, for example, has used the tragedy of his son's death to help promote a cause, I didn't realize until reading your article that stopping child molesters was a CONSERVATIVE cause. Someone better tell Howard Dean...stat! lol!

The fact that people did challenge Cindy Sheehan and The Jersey Girls (albeit in a very limited way pre-Godless) is besides the point.

If it were up to the MSM, NO ONE would be allowed to.

David Letterman's recent interview with Bill O'Reilly captured this sentiment perfectly.

When O'Reilly criticized Sheehan's OBVIOUS lunatic left wing views, Letterman tried to shut him down with "Have you lost a child in the Iraq war?"

This the WHY the MSM recruits these victims in the first place.

They find Bush-haters 'with a personal tragedy' to serve as ciphers for their left wing ideology and if you dare question them they think they can bully and or shame you into silence.

The fact that Letterman is a comic is completely IRRELEVANT. He was totally serious in the O'Reilly interview and is brilliant
(if a little transparent) in representing the MSM mind set.

Even your point about Ted Rall doesn't meet the smell test.

For one thing, TIMING is very important. If you don't believe me, ask the studio behind the film United 93. There was TREMENDOUS debate behind the scenes as to whether the public was ready to re-visit this tragedy even nearly
FIVE years after the fact.

Ted Rall's cheap shots against ALL widows, irrespective of political stripe, was way too soon.

Ann repectfully waited the proper amount of time and only after the liberal (and discredited) politics of some of these Jersey Girls were NAKEDLY laid bare by their ridculous left wing Huffington Post blogs.

In her column published the day after 911, Ann Coulter mourned her own 911 widow/friend Barbra Olsen who by the way, some left wingers have cheap shotted since his tragedy.

So, those charges don't stick either.

Bottom line: Your entire diatribe against Ann is found to be wanting and dishonest.

The real question is why do so many people feel threatened and intimidated by this woman.

Is it cause she's so beautiful AND intelligent.

I think so...

PS Consider this -Conservatives used to care about Teddy Kennedy and other left wingers a lot when the only voices in the MSM were suck-up liberals and we didn't have a chance to talk back.

But now, as Ann Coulter herself has pointed out, thanks to the web and Fox News, we do get to talk back.

Therefore people like Kennedy, Robert Byrd and Tom Daschle (who were largely lionized by the MSM) have no been reduced to embarrassing self-parodies or simply drummed out of office. They are INCONSEQUENTIAL.

But liberals, who still have TONS of venues with which to spout their ideology, from CNN to ABC/CBS/NBC/NPR/PBS to almost ALL the major newspapers, don't just want to SILENCE Ann Coulter, they want to PERSONALLY DESTROY her.

Right now, they're gathering in...where ever it is that liberals gather these days...and trying to take her down the way they did Dr. Laura, Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich.

Trumped up silly charges of voter fraud, plagiarism and slander are being SERIOUSLY considered by liberal journalists as a way of shutting Ann down.

My question: If she is,as you suggest, so dangerous,to the REPUBLICAN cause...

....Why are so many liberals hell bent on destroying her?

Revenant said...

Given her continual lying, misrepresentation and sheer vileness of spirit, she gets far too little contempt. In some cases (e.g. Time) she is positively feted. And how long, O Lord, how long must the false equivalence of Franken (or Moore, or Ivins) with Coulter be flogged, like some long-decomposed horse.

Because Franken and Moore, like Coulter, are vile, contemptuous liars who make their livings entirely through the misrepresentation of their enemies.

You don't agree with them, fine. But they do not habitually make stuff up or flat out lie about their opponents, or wish for their deaths.

You're delusional. Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 have more misrepresentations-per-minute than Triumph of the Will, for Christ's sake. And Moore has quite openly wished for the deaths of Americans and the success of our terrorist enemies in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob,
If you want evidence of what a pathetic liar Al Franken is, just look up the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club.

It appears that Mr. Frnken claimed not to know anything about hundreds of thousands of dollars apparently lent to a radio network by a Bronx social-service organization which was in turn relayed to Air America. Which was then trying to reneg on paying the money back.

Yet curiously enough, his signature appeared on various documents making his pretence of ignorance, shall we say, a sham.

Say what you want about Coulter, and I'm no fan, at least she's not as low of a scumbag as Franken.

But enough of equivalence, a pox on all their houses.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Young,

Just one last statement on Coulter and I'll not comment on it again.

I Googled the Jersey Girls and read some of their statements. Based upon further knowledge, I'd like to state a few observations.

First. It seems that the Jersey Girls are shameless and rabid anti-Bush political shills. They're not much different than Cindy Sheehan. Perhaps that's why they get so much airtime?

Second. Ms. Coulter is not saying anything that hasn't been said about the Jersey Girls before, albeit more subtly. For example, Dorothy Raninowitz of the Wall Street Journal took them to task as far back as 2004. I didn't see anyone calling for Rabinowitz's scalp.

Third. There is has been a long standing tendency by left wing sympathetic media to use victims to promote agendas and messages as if their tragedy gave them additional and unimpeachable insight and any attack on them can easily be twisted to look like callous disgregard for their suffering. Perhaps Ms. Coulter is not so far off the mark.

Fourth. Certainly, it seems that the reaction to Coulter's statements is way out of proportion to her offence and indeed does appear to be attempts to personally attack and destroy her.

Fifth. I have not become a Coulter convert or fan and I do not plan on buying any of her books anymore than I plan on buying Franken's or Moore's screeds.

Lastly, in the rough and tumble of public political discourse, anyone who ventures into the ring and makes accusations should be prepared to be attacked in return. Including widows, mothers and anyone else. It's called freedom of speech. Even when we don't like it.

I'm done with it. This is a tempest in a teapot.

One last thing. A very good blog.

Anonymous said...

Out of everthing ann has spewed over the years, I did like that one.


Anonymous said...

Ms. Coulter is not saying anything that hasn't been said about the Jersey Girls before, albeit more subtly [example of Dorothy Rabinowitz]

Was it especially "subtle" of Rabinowitz to be able to criticize the widows' messages WITHOUT asserting that they had enjoyed their husbands' deaths and that their husbands were about to divorce them anyway? I don't think it was "subtle," I'd sooner call it civilized and sane. Coulter is neither, as her history of pro-murder hate commentary proves. That her bloodstained hooting got a different response than Rabinowitz' actual work of journalism should surprise no one.

There is has been a long standing tendency by left wing sympathetic media to use victims to promote agendas and messages

Your use of "left wing sympathetic" must be a typo--surely you meant "everybody," yes? Name an advocacy group from any perspective on any topic and they will surely do this very thing. The first thing war critics are hit with is that they aren't "supporting the troops." The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth based much of their self-mythology on the idea that John Kerry had hurt the veterans' feelings. And hey, why stop with partisanship? Look at John Walsh, grandstanding up there on "America's Most Wanted." How much money do you think he's made off that show? And hey, he's famous. In Coulter-babble, wouldn't he be enjoying his son's death too? What is the difference, other than that Ann happened to not be attacking him at that moment? Who must be FORCED to be silent forever after something bad happens to them? What form of speaking out is forbidden?

Perhaps Ms. Coulter is not so far off the mark.

And perhaps she is. What with her statements that Tim McVeigh should have bombed New York and that the only proper way to talk to a liberal is with a baseball bat, I don't understand how any conservative can defend even an iota of any of her "message."

Anonymous said...

Great Coulter videos at Free TV Online.

alot of different video sites into one, with streamnig videos, online tv, and video search.

Free TV

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